Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing


Heavy Bleeding in Cats & Dogs

Heavy Bleeding in Cats & Dogs

If your cat or dog is excessively bleeding, contact your nearest emergency vet hospital immediately while continuing to monitor their condition. Here, our vets in Elk Grove explain the difference between internal and external bleeding in cats and dogs as well as how to control the situation until you arrive at the emergency vet clinic.

What will happen to my dog or cat if they experience excessive blood loss?

Your cat or dog's bleeding can be either external or internal. External bleeding is easy to see and is often a result of skin breakage. Internal bleeding is more difficult to detect as it often requires the services of a skilled emergency vet to diagnose. As an owner, it is important to know how to control the bleeding until you reach the emergency vet clinic.

If your dog or cat loses a large amount of blood over a short period of time, they will enter a state of shock. The state of shock will result in your pet's increased heart rate and blood pressure. They may have pale, white gums and rapid breathing. If left untreated, organ systems could shut down and the animal could suffer permanent physical damage or death.

What can I do if my pet has external bleeding?

The main goal when your dog or cat is externally bleeding is to stop the bleeding while you contact the emergency vet. Here are the best steps to slow or stop bleeding in your pet:

Direct Pressure

Place a clean cloth or gauze directly over your dog or cat's wound with firm but gentle pressure. This will allow the blood to clot. If blood soaks through the compress, place a new one over the old one and keep pressure. If there are no compress materials available, a clean bare hand or finger will work.


If a severely bleeding wound is on the foot or leg, and there is no evidence of a broken bone, gently elevate the limb so that the wound is above the level of the heart while holding gentle but firm pressure.

Apply pressure on the Supplying Artery

If external bleeding continues after you have used direct pressure and elevation, you can use a finger to place pressure over the main artery to the wound. For example, if there is severe bleeding on a rear leg, apply pressure to the femoral artery, located on the inside of the thigh. If there is severe bleeding on a front leg, apply pressure to the brachial artery, located on the inside of the upper front leg.

What if my cat or dog has internal bleeding?

If you notice any of the following signs in your dog or cat, there is a chance they are internally bleeding. In which case you should contact your emergency vet in Elk Grove.

  • Gums appear pale to white
  • Legs, ears or tail are cool to the touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sudden weakness or collapsing
  • Belly is swollen and painful to touch

If you suspect your pet is excessively bleeding externally or internally, contact Elk Grove Emergency Vets and bring your cat or dog over right away.

New Patients Welcome at Bruceville Pet Hospital

We are happily accepting new patients at our conveniently located Elk Grove veterinary clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Reach out today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (916) 690-8914