Emergencies and pets Part 1: Preparation and planning

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It happens to most pet owners: its outside of business hours and you have a problem with your pet.  Maybe it’s an emergency.  Maybe it isn’t, but you aren’t sure.  How do you know and what do you do to help your pet?

This first blog post is to help ahead of the situation.  Being prepared is a great way to reduce the stress of these situations and help direct your actions when they come up.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your emergency:

Call your veterinarian’s office and ask what they recommend for problems after hours.  Maybe they have a service. Maybe they recommend a certain emergency hospital. Whatever the case, this will be your literal and figurative lifeline.  This is who you will reach out to in an emergency. If your veterinarian doesn’t offer you an option you are comfortable with, find one that does. You may pay more or less or have to develop a relationship with a new veterinarian.  Any of those options is preferable to being in this situation with no options.

Try to set aside some money for emergencies. They are costly just like everything else in life.  Some times these bills can be hundreds of dollars. Sometimes they are thousands. If you don’t have the financial means to pay these fees, you should consider payment options such as Care Credit (www.carecredit.com) or iCare Financial (iCare Financial Corp). The use of these services and others are based on what the veterinarian accepts.  Check with the hospital you are using before you decide to apply or use a service.

If your pet ingests something that could be toxic, or you aren’t sure if it is toxic, then call animal poison control.  Time is of the essence. Call immediately. Many companies put a number on their product to help you in those instances. If you don’t have this option, the ASPCA has a pet poison control number. Their website can be found here.  Please be aware it requires a credit card.

Consider creating or purchasing a pet first aid kit.  We will review the basic requirements in another post.  Several online retailers have them for sale at affordable prices.

Finally, be careful.  A sick or injured pet will not react like a normal pet. Your pet might bite or scratch. Use caution while you help your pet.

In my next post, I will offer some home ER tips. Check back soon for those tips. Have a great day and we are here if you need us!