Preparing for the Unexpected- Tips and What to Do

By Kathryn Gaub, DMV, MPH
Animal Emergency and Critical Care

Unfortunately, emergencies involving your pets will occur. The following tips may help you to prepare for an emergency and possibly save the life of your pet!

  1. Be sure your pet is microchipped and is wearing proper identification. In the event your pet is hit by a car or suffers other injury, you will be notified sooner for authorization of emergency treatment.

  2. Be aware of the common household or food items that are toxic to pets. Many pet owners are aware of toxicities such as rat bait or antifreeze. However, less well-known toxins include plants such as lilies, many medications (even common anti-inflammatories), grapes/raisins, and artificial sweeteners such as xylitol. Keeping these items away from pets or seeking care early can make a huge difference in the outcome for your pet. If you are unsure if an ingested item is toxic, call your veterinarian’s office or Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.

  3. In the event of an evacuation or house fire, have a plan for where your pets can go. Is there somewhere you can go as a family? Or will you need to separate your pets?

  4. If a pet sitter is watching your pet while you are out of town, be sure they have the information for your primary care veterinarian and know where to take them in the event of an emergency. It also may be helpful to let them know a price point for care to authorize if you are unavailable when the emergency occurs.

  5. Dog bite wounds are a common pet emergency and often preventable by understanding canine body language and common triggers. Avoiding unfamiliar dogs and introducing new dogs slowly can help prevent bites. Some housemates may need to be fed, walked, or kept separate if they have a history of fighting.

  6. Keep the outside temperature in mind. If it is hot, make sure your pet has plenty of shade and water. And NEVER leave your dog in a car unattended in the summertime! This can rapidly lead to heat stroke, a medical emergency.

  7. These exams allow your veterinarian to discover health problems before they become an emergency and can save you a significant amount of money and stress.

Thank you for helping keep your pet healthy and safe!

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