You hear stories of it every day. Walking out to the car, the leash breaks and a dog excitedly jolts out in front of an oncoming vehicle. A woman moving a pot of boiling pasta from the stove to the sink trips when her cat gets under foot spilling the water and scalding her pet. Life can turn on a dime and pets are often the victims of unexpected circumstances.
What would you do? Have you put measures in place in case of such emergencies? If not, now’s the time to get set up. It could easily mean the difference between life and death for your pet.
Put Contact Numbers on Your Fridge
Have the number and business hours for your veterinarian clearly posted on your refrigerator. Many vets give away refrigerator magnets printed with everything you need to know. If yours doesn’t, create a list yourself and laminate it so the ink doesn’t fade with time.
If your vet clinic doesn’t provide round-the-clock care, they can recommend a 24-hour hospital. Keep its number and directions to its location close by. You may also want to drive out to the pet emergency hospital once during the daytime so you are familiar with how to get there.
Keep the essentials handy. Depending on the pet that could be a collar and/or leash, pet carrier, vaccination history, list of medical conditions/medications (diabetes, thyroid, etc.) and ID tag. These are all items that you may need especially if you’ll be seeing a doctor that isn’t familiar with your pet.
Know What’s Normal
Oftentimes it can be a judgment call as to whether or not you should take your pet in to be seen by a vet. By knowing what is normal for your dog or cat, you can better determine if s/he is in distress.
Know how to take your pet’s vital signs. By feeling where your pet’s left elbow touches his/her chest you can check an animal’s heart rate. Take the number of beats every six seconds and multiply it by ten. You should find out the typical heart rate for your pet before an emergency occurs so you have a baseline for comparison.
Also, tracking your cat’s/dog’s normal breath rate may be important. Dogs normally breathe 10-30 times per minute and can pant up to 200 times per minute. Cats breathe 24-42 times per minute. If cats are panting, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
Finally, take your pet’s basal temperature. Dogs should range from 99.5 to 102.5, and cats range from 100.5 to 102.5. If their temperature is high, it could be an indication that they should be seen.
Invest in Pet Insurance
Emergency pet care can be very expensive. It is a heartbreaking, yet common, experience for a pet owner to get his/her pet to an animal hospital in time for emergency care, but be unable to authorize the procedure after finding out the cost. There are many pet insurance plans available for under $10 a month that could possibly prevent you from ever being in this type of devastating situation.
Although it’s not a pleasant thing to think about, you should consider the possibilities of pet emergencies occurring. It is typical that all pets will have at least one crisis during their lives. Taking a little time to plan now could save your pet’s life down the road.