Wednesday, December 23, 2015

4 Tips to Prepare for a Pet Emergency - Guest Post by Lee Flynn

It happens to every pet owner eventually. No matter how diligent and careful a person may be, they will find themselves in an emergency situation with their pet. Since not all emergencies can be prevented, it is important to be as prepared as possible. Read on to learn four important tips to prepare for an emergency with your pet.

1. Keep an Updated List of Emergency Veterinarians

It is vital to have a list of local emergency veterinarians close at hand when in the midst of an emergency with your pet. Owners may feel overwhelmed with their pet's injury and will not want to spend the time Googling vet information. Making a list of emergency veterinarians is as easy as saving the information in the note section of your smartphone, or writing it down on a sheet of paper to keep in your pet first aid kit. Many owners find it helpful to include the address of the veterinarian as well as the phone number.

2. Have a Pet First Aid Kit

Nothing is worse than a pet getting injured and not having the basic tools and supplies to help them. A pet first aid kit is vital for all pet owners. Ready made kits are available for purchase at most pet supply stores. Owners can also put together their own kits to suit the type of pet they own. A basic pet first aid kit should include:

Self-cling Bandage - sticks to itself, not fur
Gauze - for wound dressing
Antibiotic Ointment - for small wounds or punctures
Fleece Fabric - useful for staunching the bleeding from larger wounds
Extra Leash - leashes are always valuable
Pet's Vaccination Record - a current vaccination record is good to have on hand when going to the emergency veterinarian
Spare Pet ID - spare identification for your pet is helpful to give the veterinarian if your pet has to stay overnight
Tweezers - to remove splinters, stingers, etc.
Rectal Thermometer - sometimes providing a current temperature to the vet is vital information
Petroleum Jelly - lubrication for the thermometer

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other items some owners may want to include. For example, fearful or anxious dogs may need a muzzle in their first aid kit to minimize biting while distressed.

3. Pet Proof the House

Many pet accidents happen in the home. From cuts on landscape edging to illness from getting into products that are not pet safe, there is much an owner can do to minimize risk. Owners should look through their home with a critical eye. What can Fluffy or Rover get into? Don't use raw metal landscape edging to shape the garden. Make sure houseplants are pet friendly, especially if there are cats in the home, as they all like to chew plant matter, Think about food storage issues if you have a dog. Make sure foods that are toxic to dog are kept secured out of reach. Never leave pesticide where pets can get to them.

4. Practice Emergency Drills

The best way to prepare for a pet emergency is to practice. Learn to use self cling bandages. Practice placing a pet in the car and driving to the nearest emergency veterinarian. If someone owns a nervous or timid animal, consider calling the veterinarian to see if the pet can come to the office on a tour, so it is not quite so unfamiliar. Practice will help both owners and their pets know what to do in the event of an emergency.

While pet emergencies can't always be avoided, the tips above will help owners prepare. With some planning and practice, the trauma of a pet emergency will be reduced for both pets and their owners.

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