Do You Know What to Do in a Pet Emergency?
If a pet emergency occurs, the goal is to get to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible. An initial visual evaluation of the pet and area will be essential, so stay calm and be observant.
Look for abnormalities on the scene such as blood or vomit around the pet, access to poison or additional hazards in the area. Also, take notice of the pet’s condition – conscious or unconscious, disoriented, unable to walk, and other physical or behavioral abnormalities. All of this information will help you properly assess the situation before taking action, so staying calm and observing the environment first is vital. The information you gather will also be very helpful for the veterinarian and their staff once you arrive with the injured pet.
The most important thing to keep in mind is YOUR safety. If you are injured, you will not be able to help the pet. For example, if we see a dog get hit by a car, we may panic, not watch for traffic on the road then run into harm’s way as we try to get to the injured pup. Also, a pet in pain may lash out and bite, so handling an injured pet on the scene of an emergency may be very tricky. Once you assess the situation and ensure your own safety, then you can begin transport to the veterinary hospital. If possible, call the vet immediately to let them know you are on your way and what the situation is. This will give them time to set up the proper pet emergency equipment to treat injuries.
In addition to proper observation and safety skills, knowing our pets’ normal vital signs may help us administer basic first aid in a pet emergency. So, in our next blog, let’s find out what’s normal!
Here are some excellent resources on pet first aid by the American Red Cross:
Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 2: Dog First Aid
Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 3: Cat First Aid
Next Topic: The ABCs of CPR