Nobody is ever ready for an emergency but having a plan in case of an emergency is important. Dr. Anna Coffin will discuss what to do in case of a pet emergency.
Stay calm: your pet will feed off your actions and behaviors and you need a clear head to think
Be prepared: have a pet first aid kit and book
Practice what you would do for different pet emergencies and pet evacuation drills
It’s important to make sure you have your veterinarian’s emergency phone number readily available. It’s also a good idea to have the name, phone number and address of a local 24 hour pet emergency clinic just in case you can’t get ahold of your veterinarian.
Before contacting your veterinarian:
Make sure your pet is in a safe location and away from harm: If your pet is injured, it may bite you due to pain, so having a muzzle or fashioning a muzzle from a leash or gauze roll may be necessary. If you need to move your pet, you can fashion a stretcher from bed sheets or a blanket. Make sure to support your pet’s neck and back in case of spinal injury.
Assess your pet’s injuries: Is your pet breathing? Is your pet’s heart beating? Look at the color of your pet’s gums. Is your pet conscious? Is your pet bleeding? Is your pet able to stand and walk? Is your pet limping? Note the location and severity of any wounds. These are questions that your veterinarian will need to know when you contact them.
Once you have taken these steps in a pet emergency, contact your veterinarian. First aid prior to transportation will help stabilize your pet and may save its life. Any basic first aid should be followed by a visit to your veterinarian.[Tweet “Any basic first aid should be followed by a visit to your veterinarian.”]
Here are some first aid tips you can perform during a pet emergency:
Choking: Place your fingers down your pet’s throat to see if you can dislodge the object. If you are unable to dislodge the object, you can perform a modified Heimlich maneuver by giving your pet a sharp rap to it’s chest. Holding your pet upside down can also help to dislodge the object.
CPR: If your pet is not breathing, place him on his right side and perform artificial respirations. This is done by extending the head and neck, holding his jaw closed and blow into his nostrils once every 3 seconds. If you don’t feel a heartbeat, start chest compressions giving 3 quick, firm compressions for every breath. Watch this short video on pet CPR
Bleeding: apply pressure to the wounds and try elevating if possible.
Poisoning: Contact your veterinarian, Pet Poison Hotline or ASPCA. If you are instructed to induce vomiting this can be accomplished by giving hydrogen peroxide. Use approximately one teaspoon for every five pounds of body weight up to a maximum of four tablespoons. If the animal does not vomit after 15 minutes, repeat.
Having a pet first aid kit and a plan can mean the difference between life and death for your pet. Be prepared for any type of pet emergency by following the steps in this post and practicing pet evacuation for natural disasters.