Things to Remember in a Pet Emergency

dog with emergency

Pet emergencies have a way of making people feel particularly distraught. Our pets are like our children, and when they are in trouble our emotions may get the better of us. Most pet owners experience an unexpected situation at some point. If you should have a pet emergency, keep calm, and remember our words of advice. 

Top Five Tips in a Pet Emergency

Once you have identified that there is a true emergency, it is easy for things to spiral out of control. Don’t forget the acronym COSTP, though, and you will be in good shape.

Calm — Take a deep breath. You are of no use to your pet if you can’t stay collected enough to make decisions and act as their advocate. Call another person for assistance if you can’t stay calm.

Observe — When presenting your pet for any type of emergency, you will be asked a lot of questions. Take note of things like times, surroundings, and the sequence of events. Be sure to pay attention to your pet’s gum/tongue color, breathing rate, and level of responsiveness. If your pet has ingested something toxic, pay attention to what, how much, and when. Bring any packaging along as well as any medications your pet normally takes. This information can make a big difference. 

Safe — Keeping yourself safe in a pet emergency is of utmost importance. If you are injured, you cannot help your pet. Remember that scared or hurting animals may act out of character and even the nicest family dog may snap when in pain. Handle your pet carefully and don’t hesitate to use a muzzle from your emergency kit or fashion one from a strip of cloth (unless your pet is vomiting or having trouble breathing). Don’t put your face or body in a compromising position and give your pet some space.

Transport — Most often a pet emergency requires you to transport your pet to help. Take a minute to be sure that you know where you are going and call ahead so that we can be prepared for your arrival. Drive safely. If possible, secure your pet in a crate or carrier and keep their head at or above heart level. 

Plan — Being prepared is half the battle. Just as your human family probably has first aid supplies and a disaster preparedness plan, so should your furry family. Taking the time when your brain is calm and focused to learn basic pet first aid, put together a kit of basic supplies, and knowing where your local pet emergency resources are located can make all the difference when everything hits the fan. 

Know We are Here

Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital is here for you for your pet needs, big and small. If you think your pet is in trouble, we would rather be safe than sorry.

A pet emergency always includes pets who are:

  • Having breathing problems
  • Experiencing more than two episodes of vomiting or diarrhea in 24 hours
  • Having seizures or loss of consciousness
  • Bleeding
  • May have broken bones or have known trauma
  • Suspected of ingesting a toxin or other dangerous substance/object
  • In pain
  • Having eye problems
  • Showing personality changes
  • Straining to urinate
  • Dry heaving or retching unproductively
  • In active labor for over three hours without a puppy or kitten

When in doubt, your pet should be evaluated. No harm comes from having your pet seen, but the earlier intervention occurs in an emergency, the better the odds. And while some things are an obvious emergency (being hit by a car for instance), others are much less apparent. 

Our team is here for you and your pets, no matter the situation. We hope that with our pointers your next pet emergency, should it occur, will end with the best possible outcome. Together we make a powerful force for excellent pet care.