When humans have a medical or health emergency, most of us just call emergency services. But what about our pets? What should we do if our pets are in a medical emergency and require intervention? Here are some of the most important tips that pet parents should know when looking at the idea of making sure that they are always prepared in the event that their pet may have a health or medical emergency!

Stay calm

You probably scoffed at that, right? That makes sense. But think about it for a moment. There’s a reason that experts always tell people to stay calm during an emergency. When we panic, we’re unable to think clearly. There’s no way to use logic through a bad situation if we aren’t calm enough to access it.

Staying calm will help you fall back on the techniques that you learn (in the following sections) and how to assess the situation from as objective a view as possible. This helps you get to the bottom of the situation and necessary actions sooner rather than later.

Another important aspect of this is that dogs read our energies and our emotions. If we are frantic and stressed, our dogs will be, too. If we are calm and collected, and relaxed, they will follow suit. It’s important to always stay focused on what your dog needs in this situation as much as yourself.

Have a first aid kit on hand

When you bring home a dog, you’ll want to bring home a first aid kit for your dog, too. Just like you’d have a first aid kit for all of the humans in your household, you’ll want to have a first aid kit for all of the furry ones.

You can find some online or take a DIY approach. Whatever decision you make, you’ll need to ensure that you have it accessible, and also that you know how to use it so that you’ll be able to grab what you need when the moment arrives.

If you aren’t sure what to get or how to use the things in the first aid kit that you do have, consult your vet or another pet care specialist. They’ll be able to recommend brands and kit types and even walk you through how to use some of the supplies in it.

Recognize signs of distress

As far as the potential pet emergency itself, you’ll need to make sure that you recognize when there is one. Take the time to learn about the different signs of distress that dogs can show that indicate a problem. Dogs are notoriously subtle at displaying signs of pain or distress, so it’s our job as the humans in charge to understand just what we can do to spot those. Some signs include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Roaming/restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Trembling

Your vet can also give you some more specific indicators of a pet that is about to have a health emergency.

Learn the basics of pet CPR

If you are ever in a situation where your pet needs attention, like, immediately! then pet CPR is an essential skill. It’s a good idea for every pet parent to learn it, just as it would be a good idea for everyone to learn classic CPR for human life-saving.  

Your vet can suggest some classes in your local area. Sometimes these are at pet shops, and other times they are put on in community centers. It’s a great idea to have every household member understand how to do basic CPR, because something like a dog choking on a piece of food is possible. After all, the more people that know how to help, the easier it is for someone to intervene.

Have a trustworthy vet that offers emergency services

Not every vet is going to offer emergency services. A majority of vet clinics, especially in larger cities, do not offer after-hours emergency care. Make sure you ask your veterinarian which 24-hour emergency clinic they recommend, so you can familiarize yourself with the location. When shopping around for a vet, be sure to ask about what they have for emergency services and what they will cost. While cost may not be the main factor that you think about in the heat of the moment (more on that next), it’s a good idea to at least know what you’re looking at upfront.

Plan for the expense of emergency care!

As briefly mentioned, when a disaster strikes the last thing that you may be thinking about is money. You want to be able to focus on what your pet needs and how to help them recover from this emergency. Whatever the cost is, you know that you want to be able to afford life-saving care for your pet.

Since finances are often tight for most of us, and that can’t be overlooked, consider looking at something like pet insurance. Many pet insurance providers will offer emergency coverage that can help take the edge off. You can also look at putting some money aside into a separate savings stash for those emergencies that sometimes pop up when your normal cash is stretched as thin as it will go.

Sometimes charities and animal rescue shelters will have grants available for those who are in exceptional bad situations with their animal’s health and need emergency funding. If you are really stuck in a bad situation, consider reaching out to those for help and support. Your vet can also often make recommendations on where to turn for emergency funding.

Be prepared

Your pet is your furry family member that may often find their way into bad situations because they don’t know the hazards they may encounter. If you ever find yourself dealing with a pet health emergency, make sure that you know the basics so that you can care for them and provide them targeted, compassionate, and supportive care. This will help them — and you — get the best result when it comes to a bad situation.

So many people don’t want to think about a situation where they will have to even worry about emergencies with their pets since they take care of them. But emergencies can happen any time, no matter how careful you are. It’s always best to be prepared with a plan in place. If you never end up putting it into place, then you know that you’ve succeeded.

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