We love our four-legged babies to the moon and back. As a responsible pet owner, you’ve probably already done your homework on all the ways to best care for your dog. But when an emergency strikes, it can be difficult to gather your bearings and know what to do. So, here is a helpful step-by-step list of things you should do when your dog needs immediate care.
Probably the most difficult thing to do in an emergency is to remain calm. It’s isn’t easy to see your precious dog become sick or injured. It’s important to keep a cool head, though. You want to stay focused so that you can give your dog the help that they need. Being calm around your dog will also help your dog relax too.
If you see that your dog is sick or injured, you must be careful how you first approach it. Your first instinct is likely to want to hold them, kiss them, and/or comfort them. Severe illness and pain can cause your dog to feel confused or even scared. This could result in them lashing out and possibly injuring you. Even the gentlest of dogs can become terrified, so approach your injured or sick dog very slowly and carefully.
Call your vet
You never know what kind of day your vet clinic might be having. It’s always important to call ahead and make sure that they have the room and time to take in your sick or injured dog.
If they do not, quickly lookup other emergency vet clinics near you. It is always best to call the vet clinic’s location before you head that way.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s sickness or injury, time could very well be of the essence. You want to make sure that the clinic can take your dog in before you drive all that way.
Assess the situation and provide first-aid
Even the most diligent or dog owners can find themselves in an emergency. It is always smart to keep a first-aid kit handy. This could literally save your dog’s life in the long run.
After calling your vet, your next step is to try and examine your dog as carefully as you can. If you find that your dog is scared and attempting to lash out, you can try to put a muzzle on its face to keep yourself protected while examining your dog.
If your dog is vomiting, however, do not put a muzzle on its face.
Once you can approach and examine your dog safely, assess the injury. It’s OK not to know exactly what you’re doing, but try to stabilize any injuries the best you can.
Bandage them or splinting them can help keep your dog more comfortable and possibly even save their life until they can be taken to the vet for a further examination.
Find immediate transportation
If your dog is sick or injured, they might not be able to wait until it’s convenient to be seen. You’ll need to find immediate transportation.
If you don’t have a vehicle on hand, call friends or family and see about getting an immediate ride to the clinic.
Even some Uber drivers are willing to pick up pets; you’ll have to inquire before accepting the ride.
Don’t wait. Depending on the severity of the injury, your dog might not have that kind of time. So, find a ride for them as quickly as you can.
Confine your dog
When taking your dog to the vet clinic, keep them confined in a small, comfortable area. You can use a pet carrier, a box or even hold them if your dog is calm enough and doesn’t mind being held.
This can help reduce the risk of additional injury.
Depending on what you put your dog in, be sure that they are getting plenty of air. Don’t cover them up so much that it makes it difficult to breathe.
By all means, wrap them up in some blankets if that helps calm them, but be sure that their nose isn’t covered and that they can breathe easily.
Keep medical records handy
Pro tip: Having your dog’s medical records handy can be very helpful in situations like these, especially if you need to go to an emergency clinic that’s unfamiliar with your dog.
The records will inform your dog’s doctor of all your dog’s medical needs and current conditions. It will ensure that your dog gets the best possible care!
Consider putting their medical records in a place where it is easily accessible, so you can grab them and go if necessary in an emergency.
Pay the vet bill
Paying for your dog’s health care can be a difficult thing to navigate. Thankfully, there a few different options. You can apply to get a loan on the same day. This can help with smaller expenses and allows you to access some extra money on that day!
You can also call your credit card companies and see if they will allow you a higher credit limit. You can even borrow cash from a trusted friend or family member.
Most vet clinics will work with you to create a payment plan that might also make the ordeal easier to cope with.
If you have pet health insurance, make sure you know what it covers because that also can help you pay for the care that your dog needs.