How to Prepare for an Emergency Vet Visit
When people notice that their dog is experiencing some sort of medical emergency, they often find their furry loved ones facing reactive and expensive treatments involving bandaging, casting, painkillers, antibiotics, and even surgery. If you ever find your dog in an emergency situation, don’t let panic or confusion about what to do stifle your reaction. By taking a few steps before hand, you can help ensure that you and your dog are prepared to handle any emergency at any time and in any place.
VET PAPERS FOR DOGS- DOCUMENTS YOU NEED
Generate an Emergency Clinic List of at least 2 nearby veterinary clinics that are open during business hours and 2 nearby urgent care clinics that are open 24 hours (for serious/after hours emergencies). This information should be readily available at all times. Don’t forget to share the list with whoever is taking care of your dog if you are not home. Also, make sure to update it prior to taking your dog on any trips - this information can be vital to reaching the clinic in time if anything happens to you dog while you are out of town.
Create a Health History Organizer for your dog that contains his or her medical history; this is especially useful information if you end up having to suddenly take your dog to a new unfamiliar veterinarian. The organizer should, at a minimum, include the following:
- General History (breed, age, weight, gender)
- Vaccination reports
- Nutrition Information (including regular food and treats)
- Existing conditions, past surgeries, allergies
- Medications and supplements
- Contact information of your regular veterinarian
- Pet insurance information, if applicable
WHAT TO BRING TO THE VET IN AN EMERGENCY
In addition having instant access to the appropriate documents, it's also important to make sure that you are armed with a plethora of pet-friendly items that will assist with stabilizing your pet during an emergency and transporting them to a clinic.
The best way to stay prepared is to have Safe Transport Items like: a clean blanket, a kennel that comfortably fits in your car (the best and safest method of transporting your furry friend, according to the Healthy Pet Magazine and the Humane Society), a portable water bottle with fresh water, a soft leash, and clean towels (vital if there is any kind of open wound to prevent bacteria-related infections).
Anyone who has a dog knows that they can be finicky about food and their stomachs are sensitive to new types of food. Moreover, some dogs even have severe food allergies and can only tolerate certain brands/types of foods.That's why, you should always keep a few Cans/Sealed bags of your Dog's Usual Food and bring it with you to the veterinarian's office as part of your emergency kit. It will come in handy if the veterinarian does not carry your dog's food and will make your dog more comfortable to resume eating if he or she has to undergo any kind of procedure.
If you have a senior dog or arthritic dog who is a big boy (or girl) make sure to keep a Pet Ramp ready in your garage that will make climbing in and out of the car easier. If they aren't able to walk during the emergency, then you should definitely get some help when putting them into the kennel and carefully placing it in the car...an injury can become worse when a fragile dog isn't handled with care.
You should also have a Pet First Aid Kit handy (ASPCA makes a great Kit that also benefits shelter dogs) that can be helpful when treating any acute symptoms.
HOW TO CARE FOR A DOG POST-SURGERY
Figuring out how to care for your dog after a orthepedic surgery can be stressful. That's why it's worthwhile to invest in a good quality Soft Cone because the ones provided by veterinarians post-surgery are usually not the most comfortable. Soft cones are also reusable (yay for environmentally friendly) and cost-effective because you will inevitably need a cone more than once, whether it be post-neutering/spaying or if your dog ever has stitches that he or she shouldn't lick. A quick search for "Dog Recovery Collars" on any major internet search engine should get you great options.
It's also going to be a much smoother recovery if you keep an Orthopedic Dog Bed on hand, which is very important, especially for senior dogs, arthritic dogs, and for dogs post surgery. This will give your dog a comfortable place to rest when he or she comes home from the vet's office and make getting up and down easier. Also, keep in mind that cleanliness is the key to preventing a bad situation (like stitches) from getting worse (like infected stitches). Therefore, make sure that your dog's bed is covered by a clean towel or sheet that you change daily.
PREVENTATIVE CARE FOR YOUR DOG
Finally, while a pet first aid kit and filing documents can come can come in handy during medical emergencies, many times a pet owner can also avoid health problems by just making sure that their pet is in the best possible shape to begin with. This is where preventative care comes in…like humans; pets also experience wear and tear on their bodies with time.
Pet owners should consult with their veterinarian to design a health regimen to ensure that their pet is getting adequate and well-rounded nutrition, is exercising enough, is regularly vaccinated and taking age-appropriate vitamins and supplements. By taking these preventative steps, your pet will be in the best overall better shape and thus less likely to develop health conditions.
As for unavoidable emergencies (like animal fights, accidental ingestion, or car accidents), your pet will be better able to withstand treatment if he or she is good overall condition. As far as preventive care options go, BONEO Canine, is a great all natural over the counter bone and joint supplement for dogs. Most traditional glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM supplements only address one aspect of canine skeletal health-the joints. BONEO Canine® is unique because it supports BOTH joints and bones. This multi-functional formula is powered by patented Neo-PORTIN® Complex, a blend of Ribonuclease-enriched Lactoferrin (R-ELF), Coenzyme-Q10 and β-Glucan. Clinical data has shown that the active ingredients in this glycoprotein-based technology help enhance bone turnover activity, promote joint comfort and increase absorption and target delivery of bone and joint nutrients.
In conclusion, a little preparedness in gathering information and creating a first aid kit can go a long way in ensuring that your dog gets the best possible care during a medical emergency. But, also importantly, consulting with your veterinarian about preventative care options for your pet can help ensure that your pet will be able to weather any storm.