The best emergency and after-hours vets in Canberra

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Tara Estate Pet Boarding

Looking for an emergency vet for your furry friend? Read our list to find the best in Canberra. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Pet lovers from Chapman to Chisholm attest to the soul nurturing nature of their pets. Canberrans, and indeed Australians, are quite simply – in love with their pets. In fact, some sources state that as many as 65% of households are home to a pet – or two!

Dogs lead the charge as the most popular pet, followed by cats, birds, and then fish. Interestingly, this places us amongst as one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. And our pet culture has followed suit.

From fur-baby salons to paw friendly cafes we are embracing all animals big and small. Yet, despite the prominence of our pet friendly culture, some things do remain a challenge. Sadly, for pet owners, our animal pals are generally unable to tell us when something is wrong.

As pet owners, we rely on physical symptoms and non-verbal cues to know if they require medical attention. These symptoms often alert us as to whether veterinary care is required, and the level of urgency.

If your pet is facing an urgent medical situation, one of Canberra’s leading emergency and after-hours vets can help. And as time is of the essence, we have shortlisted the region’s leading emergency and after-hours vets below.

What makes a great emergency and after-hours vet?

Great emergency and after-hours vets are cool, calm, and collected in the face of relentless pressure and medically threatening situations. The best emergency vets are laterally minded problem solvers, with a passion for pets above all else. For the best emergency pet care in Canberra look out for these attributes:

  • Experienced. In the case of emergency there is nothing more reassuring than knowing your beloved pet is in safe hands. While all practicing vets have completed a doctorate in veterinary science and are professionally accredited; what really counts is experience. A clear mind, steady hand, and calm demeanour under pressure are not a product of chance. They are earned through years of service dealing with all manner of patients, at different stages, and with varied aliments. You may wish to check on the credentials of assistants and nurses to give you an indication on the calibre of staff more broadly.
  • Round the clock service. All good emergency and after-hours services should be available around the clock across all days of the week. By their sheer nature, medical emergencies can occur at any time of day and on any day of the year. The best will open and ready to tend to your needs, be it midnight on a Tuesday or first thing on a public holiday.
  • Full-service operation. A good emergency and after-hours practice will be a full-service operation with all that you need under the one roof. X-rays, ultrasounds, pathology, a short stay, or aftercare; all medical and generalist patient care needs should be provided for.
  • Specialised departments. Some veterinary hospitals or clinics may have access to specialised vets for services such as ophthalmology or dermatology. Conversely, others may specialise in critical care, diagnostics, or cardiology. Consider the state of your pet’s overall health, their current need, and select a facility that can service these.
  • Quality aftercare. Should your beloved pet require an overnight stay or regular visits thereafter; consider the services available and match accordingly. This may be particularly significant for pets with more serious conditions, or those that require lengthy stays.

The best emergency and after-hours vets in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Northside Veterinary Care

Located in Braddon and open Monday to Saturday, Northside Veterinary Care are an excellent choice for northern residents and their pets.

Home to five full time and highly experienced veterinarians they are committed to providing expert and compassionate care for pets within the community.

Offering a range of general veterinary services including dental, they also offer emergency care. For emergencies during opening hours do call ahead to allow the team to prepare for your arrival.

Lee Caldwell shared this feedback on Google, “Had to take my pup for an emergency visit on Christmas Eve. All the staff were fantastic. Attentive, super friendly and took great care with my furry family member.”

Canberra Veterinary Hospital

As one of only 54 veterinary hospitals in Australia to be recognised as an Accredited Veterinary Hospital of Excellence, Canberra Veterinary Hospital sure has a stellar reputation. They pride themselves on providing the highest standards of diagnostic, surgical, and nursing facilities achievable.

Offering a range of emergency services from radiology, ultrasounds, endoscopy, and pathology, they have what is required should you need to admit your precious pet.

Canberra Veterinary Hospital also offers vaccinations, microchipping, dentistry, and desexing services to round out their offering.

As Jacqui Frost shared on Google, “Amazing pet care and customer service with affordable pricing.”

Animal Referral Hospital Canberra

Located in Fyshwick, the Animal Referral Hospital Canberra incorporates a specialist referral service and emergency service under one roof, open 24h ours a day all year round. This is supported by a range of complimentary services including diagnostic imaging, nursing, and intensive care.

Their compassionate and experienced team will work with your regular veterinarian to find the best treatment option for your pet, and to ensure the highest standards of animal care.

As part of the larger AHR Group, this team also have access to some leaders in surgery, oncology, internal medicine, ophthalmology, and critical care.

Andrew Mills shared this glowing review on Google, Fantastic emergency vet open 24/7 when you need them. With walk in service no matter what happens your pet is in good safe hands…..”

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Service

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Service are an emergency animal hospital located in Gungahlin. They specialise in emergency veterinary and critical services and offers care for pets in Northern Canberra and surrounds.

Staffed by a team of experienced veterinarians continuously operate in the field of emergency care, they are well paced to deliver exceptional patient care at a time you need it most.

Open 24 hours on weekends, public holidays, and every night of week look to Canberra Veterinary Emergency Service for your urgent pet needs.

Georgia Prideaux shared her experience with the team on Google, “Wonderful, attentive staff who keep you informed in a time of panic.

Capital Veterinary Hospital

Located in Phillip, Capital Veterinary Hospital is a family owned and operated business offering emergency medical services for existing clients every night from 7pm to 7am.

Offering an expansive range of high skill surgical procedures including fracture repairs, orthopaedics, and echocardiography, this highly experienced team are here to help.

Their philosophy is to care for all pets as if they were their own, striving to provide compassionate and personalised care for every pet they see. They understand that pet emergencies are a stressful time and aim to make the process easier for you – and your pet.

Doug Hampton had this to say about the hospital on Google, Very impressed with the professionalism and quality of care. Fantastic team. Highly recommend.”

There is a lot that comes with providing the best care for your pet. For non-urgent care see our articles on the best vets and the best pet desexing on offer in Canberra.

Moreover, our articles on the best dog trainers, the best dog groomers, the best pet shops and pet supplies may help.

If you are a looking for somewhere for your pet to stay look to our articles on the best dog walkers and pet sitters, the best dog boarding kennels and catteries, and the best doggy daycare may be helpful.

Finally, if you’re looking to adopt another furry friend, our article on the best places for rescue dogs in Canberra may be of interest.

Your experience with emergency and after-hours vets in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the emergency and after-hours vets listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I seek emergency vet pet care?
Some reasons for seeking emergency pet care may be more obvious such as physical trauma, evidence of poisoning, bites, or seizures; while other are more subtle such as weakness, changes to breathing, and persistent vomiting or diarrhoea. If your pet is displaying any signs that cause concern, seek professional veterinarian assistance urgently.
What is the difference between a vet hospital and a vet clinic?
Generally, vet hospitals are larger in size, open around the clock, and are full-service facilities for all pet health needs from examination, to diagnosis, treatment, and surgery. Moreover, they tend to provide accommodation and aftercare for their patients.
What types of vet hospitals are there?
In addition to general practice hospitals, specialist referral hospitals and smaller specialist practices are also options. As their name suggests, specialist referral hospitals are home to a wide variety of veterinary specialists which you may be referred to dependant on need. As for smaller specialist practices, these tend to specialise in a single field.
What does an emergency vet visit cost?
Good question! Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to quantify a standard emergency cost. This is due to the wide range of injuries and illnesses, required procedures, medications, and aftercare, which varies greatly from patient to patient.
Can I make a pet insurance claim at the time of treatment?
Insurance companies are yet to implement a system like HICAPS for human health insurance which facilitates immediate insurance claims. As such, most treatments must be paid to your veterinary health care provider; with insurance claims submitted thereafter. Always check on payment terms and insurance with your vet.

What's Your Opinion?


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20 Responses to The best emergency and after-hours vets in Canberra
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water_lily water_lily 1:32 pm 26 May 13
pink little birdie pink little birdie 1:46 pm 13 Aug 12

I agree with Malteser

Malteser Malteser 12:53 pm 13 Aug 12

Pitchka said :

pink little birdie said :

Pitchka said :

pink little birdie said :

Msl said :

pink little birdie

Are you saying that there is somewhere else in Canberra besides the Fyshwick vet that does after hours?

Yeah our vet is Geoff Boydell in Kambah. Last time we used the after hours service it was in the morning (sole operator starts late open late) but instant service (call – bring dog over). Our little kitty is getting old so she has lots of visits to the vet atm.

Sorry to hear that, on the upside, kitty will make a lovely satay chicken and cashew stirfry one day…

Kitty will be lovingly wrapped in her blanket, buried in the back yard and Roses planted above her.

Just hold that thought, depending on her breed, she can sell for a fair bit of coin… Exotic breeds like persions tend to get the best price, there meat is soft and tender. Tabby’s and your common everyday cat not so much…

Hit me up when she carks it, im happy to negotiate on price.

You’re a dick, shut up.

NoAddedMSG NoAddedMSG 12:39 pm 13 Aug 12

threepaws said :

EvanJames said :

It’s quite hard to make a dog vomit. The after-hours emergency places tend to be quite expensive, due to the nature of the care, what they do and how they do it.

Unfortunate that a stomach-full of food was diagnosed as a malady though. We go to a one-man-band vet, who does use the after-hours place, but is quite sensible about diagnosing things.

After an after hours incident with my dog and half a kilo of sultanas (potentially toxic to our canine friends), Google advised that the best way to make a dog vomit is Sodium Bicarbonate, which can be found in the laundry aisle under the name of Granulated Washing Soda. My vet confirmed this the next day when I took my dog in for a check up.

I quite simply don’t have time to write everything I would like to about the after hours vet in Fyshwick. Suffice to say it is well worth your while finding a good vet who offers some sort of after hours service. They are out there.

You mean sodium carbonate (washing soda), not sodium bicarbonate (which is baking soda.)

It may seem like a trivial differenence, but think about the difference between H2O and H2O2…….

JazzyJess JazzyJess 12:21 pm 13 Aug 12

The problem is that outside of normal business hours the Emergency Vet is your only choice. A few posters have obviously got ace vets that will make house calls but I certainly don’t. Last time I took miss kitty to the ER the receptionist advised it would be a $150 flat fee just to take her for a consult. Medicine, procedures etc would be on top of that. It ended up costing almost $1,000 for her to spend one night on a drip. I’m grateful the service exists but it seems to me that they do gouge quite a bit.

Pitchka Pitchka 11:40 am 13 Aug 12

pink little birdie said :

Pitchka said :

pink little birdie said :

Msl said :

pink little birdie

Are you saying that there is somewhere else in Canberra besides the Fyshwick vet that does after hours?

Yeah our vet is Geoff Boydell in Kambah. Last time we used the after hours service it was in the morning (sole operator starts late open late) but instant service (call – bring dog over). Our little kitty is getting old so she has lots of visits to the vet atm.

Sorry to hear that, on the upside, kitty will make a lovely satay chicken and cashew stirfry one day…

Kitty will be lovingly wrapped in her blanket, buried in the back yard and Roses planted above her.

Just hold that thought, depending on her breed, she can sell for a fair bit of coin… Exotic breeds like persions tend to get the best price, there meat is soft and tender. Tabby’s and your common everyday cat not so much…

Hit me up when she carks it, im happy to negotiate on price.

pink little birdie pink little birdie 11:30 am 13 Aug 12

Pitchka said :

pink little birdie said :

Msl said :

pink little birdie

Are you saying that there is somewhere else in Canberra besides the Fyshwick vet that does after hours?

Yeah our vet is Geoff Boydell in Kambah. Last time we used the after hours service it was in the morning (sole operator starts late open late) but instant service (call – bring dog over). Our little kitty is getting old so she has lots of visits to the vet atm.

Sorry to hear that, on the upside, kitty will make a lovely satay chicken and cashew stirfry one day…

Kitty will be lovingly wrapped in her blanket, buried in the back yard and Roses planted above her.

Pitchka Pitchka 11:22 am 13 Aug 12

pink little birdie said :

Msl said :

pink little birdie

Are you saying that there is somewhere else in Canberra besides the Fyshwick vet that does after hours?

Yeah our vet is Geoff Boydell in Kambah. Last time we used the after hours service it was in the morning (sole operator starts late open late) but instant service (call – bring dog over). Our little kitty is getting old so she has lots of visits to the vet atm.

Sorry to hear that, on the upside, kitty will make a lovely satay chicken and cashew stirfry one day…

pink little birdie pink little birdie 9:14 am 13 Aug 12

Msl said :

pink little birdie

Are you saying that there is somewhere else in Canberra besides the Fyshwick vet that does after hours?

Yeah our vet is Geoff Boydell in Kambah. Last time we used the after hours service it was in the morning (sole operator starts late open late) but instant service (call – bring dog over). Our little kitty is getting old so she has lots of visits to the vet atm.

EvanJames EvanJames 9:43 pm 12 Aug 12

Hmmm, I have been discussing this with a friend who works in the veterinary field. Apparently, the “spoons” they use in surgery for animals are in fact more like ladles… they’re very big. So, a smallish dog with 7 ladle-sized spoons of matter in its stomach, that’s kind-of odd. It’s a wonder the dog didn’t burst.

threepaws threepaws 10:00 pm 09 Aug 12

gazket said :

I think the puppy would of choked if it tried to eat a sock. Find a new VET.

Absolutely untrue. I know a young labrador who ate a pair of children’s denim shorts, and the shorts were almost entire when they were extracted in surgery. Saw the shorts with my own eyes.

schmeah schmeah 8:46 pm 09 Aug 12

My dog was terribly sick last year, had to spend 2 nights .. or maybe 3, at the Vet Emergency Centre and 2 full days at the local vet undergoing constant observation. No surgery, but the bill topped $3000 … worth every penny I think. That said, when our dog was there we dealt with two vets. One was a cool headed middle aged woman who did her best not to frighten us about the seriousness of our dog’s sickness, the other was hysterical and ranting about all the medication she would need, the x-rays, the IV and how much it would cost .. I left thinking my dog was going to die but not before I spent 10K on saving her.

That said, I still think the ED vet is a very busy and valuable service run by dedicated people.

Little puppies never know when to sop eating food .. beagles and labs are the worst.

gazket gazket 8:44 pm 09 Aug 12

I think the puppy would of choked if it tried to eat a sock. Find a new VET.

Golden-Alpine Golden-Alpine 8:27 pm 09 Aug 12

The problem is not all foreign matters clearly show up in an x-ray, it sounds like the Vet diagnosed something was there and based on your friends input that the puppy has a habit of eating sock erred on the side of caution. What if they didn’t do that and proposed that it could be just undigested food lets wait a couple of hours and the worst happened?

I suggest getting some pet insurance to make these events a little easier to manage.

Ko. Ko. 8:04 pm 09 Aug 12

Find a good vet who does afterhours call outs. Your pets will thank you. When you have a distressed dog freaking out the worst thing you can do is introduce a stranger.

I use Steve Connell at Kaleen. He’s been fantastic

threepaws threepaws 6:33 pm 09 Aug 12

EvanJames said :

It’s quite hard to make a dog vomit. The after-hours emergency places tend to be quite expensive, due to the nature of the care, what they do and how they do it.

Unfortunate that a stomach-full of food was diagnosed as a malady though. We go to a one-man-band vet, who does use the after-hours place, but is quite sensible about diagnosing things.

After an after hours incident with my dog and half a kilo of sultanas (potentially toxic to our canine friends), Google advised that the best way to make a dog vomit is Sodium Bicarbonate, which can be found in the laundry aisle under the name of Granulated Washing Soda. My vet confirmed this the next day when I took my dog in for a check up.

I quite simply don’t have time to write everything I would like to about the after hours vet in Fyshwick. Suffice to say it is well worth your while finding a good vet who offers some sort of after hours service. They are out there.

Msl Msl 4:52 pm 09 Aug 12

pink little birdie

Are you saying that there is somewhere else in Canberra besides the Fyshwick vet that does after hours?

pink little birdie pink little birdie 4:31 pm 09 Aug 12

Our vet just does the after hours thing with a phone call before you come. He’s quite good.

EvanJames EvanJames 3:25 pm 09 Aug 12

It’s quite hard to make a dog vomit. The after-hours emergency places tend to be quite expensive, due to the nature of the care, what they do and how they do it.

Unfortunate that a stomach-full of food was diagnosed as a malady though. We go to a one-man-band vet, who does use the after-hours place, but is quite sensible about diagnosing things.

Pitchka Pitchka 3:06 pm 09 Aug 12

Im no vet, but i would have just stuck my fingers down the dogs throat and made it throw up.. I would have done it for half the price…

Seriously thoe…. It amazes me that the vet could not distinguish the differemce between a sock and food mass.

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