None of us wants to think about the possibility of our sweet pets experiencing a medical emergency, but the reality is that most pets will go through one at some point. Understanding what constitutes a pet emergency, and how to respond appropriately, will give you a leg up on the situation.
4 Essential Things to Know About a Veterinary Emergency
Bringing emergency education and awareness to pet owners is a great start in keeping pets safe and healthy. Here are some of the important things you should know about preparing for a pet emergency.
- Learn pet first aid and CPR – We understand that getting your pet to their ER is the primary focus, but sometimes CPR and first aid are necessary when en route to the vet. Pet first aid kids can be purchased online or at pet supply stores, or you can make your own. Pet First Aid classes are offered through the American Red Cross, which has a great First Aid app for dogs and cats you can download for free.
- Know where to go for help – Have a list of pet emergency hospitals in your area, along with any in your travel destinations. This important contact information can help get your pet to the hospital faster than waiting and trying to find a place during the emergency. Do a few practice runs driving to the hospital to figure out the faster route that avoids several traffic lights and construction. Be sure to call the hospital ahead of time, so they can be prepared for your arrival.
- Know the signs of a pet emergency – Some signs are obvious, such as a leg fracture, but you’d be surprised how many early signs of medical problems go unnoticed. This is because most pets attempt to mask or hide their pain. Look for the following symptoms of a pet emergency:
- Animal bite or attack
- Injury or accident
- Fall from a height
- Frequent vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Open wounds
- Abdominal bloat
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Problems breathing
- Difficulties with birth
- Ingestion of toxic substance
- Eye injury
- Snake bite
- Extreme lethargy
This list is not the only red flags to look for, but do consider these prompts to get your pet the attention they need.
- Transport your pet safely – When pets are in distress, they can be fearful and anxious. Pain can cause behavioral changes, and a normally well-behaved pet can turn aggressive when they are in pain. Know how to gently handle your pet to get them in the carrier or to the vehicle. Use caution when handling, and cover your pet with some towels or soft blankets and use heavy gloves when picking them up.
What to Do in a Pet Emergency
During any emergency stress runs high, making it difficult to know which steps to take and when. Planning ahead for a pet emergency is a necessary to getting your pet the assistance they need as fast as possible.