Our pets are beloved members of our family, and we would be devastated if anything bad ever happened to them. We never plan on our pets having an emergency, but what do we do if it happens?
During a pet emergency, remember to stay calm, assess the situation, and call a veterinarian right away. From there, you can proceed to treating the problem and visiting the vet.
The first and arguably most important thing to do is try not to panic. Animals are very sensitive to many things around them and if you panic, they may panic too.
In an emergency, every second counts. If your pet is facing a potential emergency, and you panic instead of think through things logically, a lot of time can be wasted.
It can be hard not to panic, but one of the best things you can do truly is to take a deep breath and handle the situation as needed.
Assess the Problem
If possible, try to assess the problem to the best of your ability. Most pet owners are not professional veterinarians, so they will not be able to assess every problem, but some problems may be obvious and easy to detect and assess.
A broken or dislocated bone, for example, will be easy to see. Check for your pet not putting any weight on the area, or a limb in the wrong direction.
If you find it difficult to assess the problem, simply move on. There is no sense wasting time in this step when we can let the professionals handle it.
Call the Vet Ahead of Time
If your pet is facing an emergency, calling the veterinarian ahead of time is a must.
By calling ahead, you can ensure that the clinic you are calling is able to handle your emergency, and that they are prepared for the emergency. Furthermore, the clinic can get crucial information from you, such as what type of medication the pet is on. Also, the clinic will give you professional advice on how to treat your pet in the meantime while the pet is awaiting care.
When humans face a life-threatening emergency, the hospital is often notified ahead of time so they can prep the emergency room and surgical time. The concept is no different when dealing with our beloved pets!
Even by calling 10 or 20 minutes ahead of time, you are giving the veterinarian extra time to prepare for and treat your beloved pet. In an emergency, this time could save your pet’s life.
Treat the Problem
Although most pet parents are not board-certified veterinarians, we still want to treat our pet’s condition the best that we can. Be sure to listen to the advice from the clinic’s staff on how to proceed with your pet’s emergency!
For example, if your pet is bleeding, the clinic may advise that you cover the wound with a clean cloth and firmly give it pressure. A broken bone, on the other hand, may involve creating a temporary splint for the pet.
Remember to never give your pet over-the-counter medication without your vet’s approval first. Medication can make the pet’s condition worse.
At this time, your pet may be very overwhelmed and in pain, and they may bite or snap at you. If that is the case, hold off on treating your pet. The veterinarian and their staff will be able to assist once the pet is brought in to the vet.
Visit the Vet
It seems like a no-brainer, but getting to the vet quickly, safely, and prepared is crucial to treating your pet’s emergency.
If your pet is on any medication, bring it with to the emergency veterinarian. Even though you may have communicated the medication over the phone, bringing it with is important so the staff can see the dosage size and strength of the medicine itself.
If possible, bring your pet’s prior vet records. This may be important if the emergency vet you visit is a different practice or in a different network than your general practice veterinarian. Remember to not spend too much time searching for your pet’s records. If you can’t find them right away, then move on.
Carefully and Comfortably Get Your Pet in the Car
Quickly but carefully get your pet into the car to bring to the vet. If your pet has a carrier or crate, this may work best; however, if your pet is too large for this, a couple of blankets and pillowed positioned in the backseat will make for a comfortable ride.
If you can have a friend or family member assist you in this process, they can drive while you comfort your pet or vise-versa. Furthermore, an additional person could help get the pet into the car if they are too big or heavy for you to do it alone.
Even though this is an emergency and your stress levels are heightened, remember to drive carefully. A car accident could further hurt your pet, and will ultimately delay the process of getting your pet the care it needs.
Once at the vet, take a few deep breaths and answer any questions they have. The questions they are asking you are important for the health and safety of your pet, and panicking will only make things worse and delay the care process.
Remember, at this point in the process, your pet is in the best hands with an experienced professional veterinarian.
We never want any pet owners to have to deal with an emergency situation, but if they happen, it pays to be prepared.
Remember to stay calm, quickly assess the problem, and get on the phone with an emergency veterinarian. From there, they will give you further direction on how to proceed. Don’t forget to grab any veterinarian records and medication, and to drive to the veterinarian as safely as possible.