In the event your pet becomes sick or injured, your first action should always be getting in contact with a veterinarian. However, in some cases that is not possible, or stabilizing care is required on the part of the owner until you can reach the hospital. Thus, it is essential that all owners know how to handle common emergencies. For example, would you know what to do if your pet started to have a seizure, or had a large wound? Or, perhaps your pet was out in the sun too long, or isn’t putting any weight on their leg. In all of these cases, it is vital to seek professional care as soon as possible, but the owner can also play a crucial role in the animal’s wellbeing.
Initially, handling any emergency can seem stressful, especially if you don’t know how to approach it. To ensure you are prepared, there are various guides available that cover common emergency situations. For example, the American Red Cross has developed a pet first-aid app that provides quick guides for owners for common emergency situations. The app also has a veterinary hospital locator tool, guides on how to obtain vitals (and normal vital ranges for your pets), and even quizzes so you can learn and prepare for various situations in advance. It is also a good idea to have a written first-aid guide on hand in the event you aren’t able to access your phone or the internet.
To complement these guides, all owners should have a pet first-aid kit around their house. A more thorough list is available at https://www.avma.org/public/EmergencyCare/Pages/Supplies-Checklist.aspx, but some basic things to include would be copies of your pets medical records, bandage materials, and a thermometer. You could also include alcohol wipes, tweezers, and a small flashlight for treatment in a darker environment. If you don’t want to make your own, there are also numerous pre-made pet first aid kits available for purchase online.
Pet owners should also take into account their personal animal’s needs. For example, if your pet has a diagnosed medical condition be sure to discuss how to handle any events with your veterinarian in advance, and keep any needed devices or medications on hand.
Furthermore, owners can seek out hands-on training in these areas. For example, you can be trained in pet CPR and first aid through services like PetTech, (https://pettech.net/search/?type=pt_class&ds_location_changed=y&location=34275&category=pet-cpr-first-aid), or Pet Emergency Education (https://petemergencyeducation.com).
Finally, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, it is important to familiarize yourself with potentially dangerous situations and remove them if at all possible. Some common things would include potential toxins. One comprehensive list is available via the Pet Poison Helpline (https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/), and reading these lists, you may be surprised to see the sheer number of potentially harmful things you may have around the house. Furthermore, it is important to ensure pets are supervised when outdoors and always leashed or in a safe enclosed to avoid potential traumas like being hit by a car or attacked by another animal.
In summary, pet owners should be prepared with the knowledge and materials needed to handle common emergency events, and should have access to contacts for local hospitals and emergency lines on hand at all times. While an emergency is never a pleasant situation, being prepared for emergencies can make them less stressful and easier to handle on all fronts.