How to Handle a Pet Emergency


Congratulations on your newest family member, a pet. As you continue with your excitement, have you thought of what you would do in case of a pet emergency? What do you need to know? Where would you go? Generally, how would you handle a pet emergency?

A pet emergency is something all pet owners dread for, but it’s inevitable in many ways. You can either prevent the crisis from occurring or be prompt to handle it if it happens. The bottom line is preparedness.

Below is a complete guide on how to prepare and what to do in case of a pet emergency. Read on.

Be Prepared

You should keep all the documents of your pet in a safe but open place. Keep them where anybody can reach in case of an emergency. Such documents include vaccination records, weight records and all medical records and supplements.

Also, keep your pet’s first aid kit, and medicines close. Sometimes, it’s just a minor emergency that needs a quick first aid to solve. Make sure all the drugs have clear labels and are tightly closed to avoid accidental spills.

Conversely, in case you have a pet sitter always give the owner’s number or any other emergency contact to call for assistance. Above all, have an emergency vet contact like Night Watch Elite Animal Emergency that will attend to your pet even in the wee hours of the night. Besides, most emergencies occur at odd hours when you least expect them.

Also, have an emergency transport standby at all times. It will also help if you have a payment plan for your pet ready. Most pet hospitals cannot start any treatment without payment hence risking the life of your pet. Moreover, always have a release form prepared for the pet sitter to carry in case of an emergency. In most cases, the vet cannot attend to your pet without authorization and identification of owning the pet.

Learn the Basics

Owning a pet means a whole new world of responsibility is on your shoulders. A pet needs care, attention and above all, love. Pay attention to your pet’s behaviors, feeding habits, personality, attitude and communication styles.

Be alert to notice even the tiniest change in your pet. Well, some things like a scratch, a limp or a wound are pretty obvious. But knowing about them helps in offering the care they need. Some pets are tough and can get away with hiding some unusual conditions; hence your alertness will help.

Some of the things you should keep your focus on are like;

Chewing and Grazing Behaviour

As a pet-sitter, be vigilant in observing the chewing habits of the particular pet. What they eat and play with should be of top-notch hygiene. Be thorough in checking their chewable toys and their food plates before serving them any meal. A dog’s bone can have fragments that can cause internal punctures, therefore supervise their meals as well.

Sometimes, the toys or plates can have foreign objects that when ingested, can cause severe problems. Conversely, there could be environmental hazards that a dog’s or cat’s curiosity could lead them to consume—for instance, plastics, wire cables, sewing needles and loose strings. Make sure the environment is clean from such pet risky items.

Lastly, only allow the pet to play, eat and use what the owner instructs. Sometimes, a pet can be hyper in having you as a stranger around and ends up eating things they shouldn’t. be vigilant in keeping a close eye at all times.

Environmental Toxins

It would help if you had common knowledge of different household and environmental toxins that could pose a danger to your pet. Did you know that some people’s foods are poisonous to some pets? Things like garlic, chives, onions, nuts, alcohol, chocolate, raisins and others could negatively affect your pet.

Conversely, some plants are also poisonous to pets. Sometimes, even a single leaf could lead to fatal emergencies. Therefore be on the look for what your pet chews or grazes on when outside playing.

Eating Behaviour

Watch how your pet feeds, either too quick or too slow. Eating too slow than usual could be a sign of some issues, probably some dental pain, throat or even stomach upset. Also, big dogs tend to eat excessively and too fast.

Eating too fast could cause discomforts, such as bloating. In a bloating scenario, the stomach swells due to trapped gases and can be fatal, especially when it starts to twist. Fatality can occur within a few hours after fast feeding.

Do not starve your pet and make sure they always eat to their full. However, if you have a fast eater, give them food in small portions gradually spread throughout the day. So if your pet overfeeds, you should look out for signs like hunched posture, attempting to vomit with no avail, ballooned abdomen and whining. These are indicators of an emergency and needs immediate medical attention.

Examine Signs

There are pet signs and symptoms for irregularities. Take a step further and examine the most important signs. For instance;

Temperature: if you are not sure about the average temperature for pets, you can ask your vet or search online. You can take temperature using a baby, ear or rectal thermometer. Either one you use, you need to apply some petroleum jelly on it as a lubricant. Since it may be hard to settle your pet to take the temperature, use a distraction like toys or treats.

Pulse: usually, the larger the dog, the slower the pulse rate and the smaller the dog, the faster the pulse rate. But with cats and other pets may be different, so always find the correct details before checking. You can check the pulse rate by either feeling the heart via the chest or feeling the femoral artery inside the hind leg. Be attentive and count the beats for about 15 seconds then divide the total by 4.

Hydration: pinch the skin on the shoulder blades of your pet. If the skin drops down to its usual condition almost immediately, it shows your pet is well hydrated. But, if the skin takes over a second to drop or retains the pinched shape, then your pet is poorly hydrated. You need to give it water immediately.

Respiration: just like the pulse rate, the breathing rates of animals differ. To check, you need to check how many times the chest breaths in and out. Count the number of breaths for about 15 seconds then divide by 4. Compare your result with the regular breathing rate. If it’s anything higher or lower than normal it needs medical attention or speaking to your vet.

Fluid membranes: cats and dogs take a second to refill their capillaries. You need to check by holding up the upper lip and press gently on the gum. Make sure the gum color changes from pink to white then release quickly. Do not release the lip back, but watch how fast it will take the gum to change from white to pink. If it takes longer than 2 seconds and the gum is any other color but pink, regard it as an emergency.

Establish the Urgency

There are two types of emergencies; non-emergent and emergency.

In non-emergency situations, the situations may not be life-threatening like a broken nail, wound, slight infection or constant sneezing. However, it would help if you did not assume the seriousness of the matter. Talk or visit your vet to rule out the issue and prevent it from escalating from bad to worse in a short time.

Equally, emergencies require immediate help from your vet. Such situations are trauma, ingesting foreign items, poisoning, unable to stand, difficulty in passing stool, swollen abdomen, vomiting, diarrhea, unable to eat or drink in 24 hours and extreme body weakness.

Take Action

As a pet-sitter, be sure to talk to the owner of the dog to help determine the type of urgency in the pet or better still, use the emergency vet contact to know to ask.

In case you are going to the vet, make sure they know to expect you so that they prepare for your pet. Emergency cases are always given the priority of attendance.

Do not panic. Take one step at a time not to forget carrying anything. Place your pet in a comfortable position as you pick the necessary documents and items. Put everything correctly in a carrier bag for the pet. Breathe in and out all through. Grab the house and car keys ready to leave.

Gently hold your pet not to cause even more damage. You can talk to it reassuring it that all will be fine. Most pets understand their handler’s emotions. So, if they read that you are in a panic mode, their condition may worsen as they may get restless and even scared. Please stay as calm as possible and drive fast but carefully to the pet ER.

Going through this article puts you a step ahead in learning how to handle an emergency for your pet. Pets rely on your care at all times. So by having the necessary skills assures of their safety at all times. Even though it is good to learn these basics, remember that prevention is better than cure.