In Case of an Emergency

February 28th, 2007 by Alexis

Just as we put smoke detectors in our house and practice a fire escape plan with our kids, we need to prepare our pets for a variety of emergencies. “Better safe than sorry” and “Plan for the worst, hope for the best” are clichés, yes, but they are still great rules by which to live when ensuring your pet’s well-being in case of an emergency.

Pet parent emergency
Someday there will be an unexpected event that prevents you from getting home. It may be a snow storm or car problems that strands you at work or a health issue that sends you to the hospital for an evening. Keep with you home, work and cell phone numbers for a couple of people you can turn to if you need someone to take care of your pets for an evening or a few days. Prepare your go-to people by first, asking them if they are willing to help if needed. Do a walkthrough; show your stand-ins where you hide your spare key and what your dog’s care routine is.

Natural disaster
Hopefully you never have to experience a tornado, earthquake, hurricane, mudslide or wildfire but you should still have an evacuation plan for your pets. Build a disaster kit for your dog that includes at least three days of food and water, first aid supplies, a long-lasting chew, a crate if possible and a clear picture of your dog with your contact information. Keep your information up to date on your dog’s identification tags and (if applicable) with the microchip company.

Dog medical emergency
Educate yourself in dog first aid. The Red Cross and many fire departments offer training classes on CPR for dogs. A first aid book is a great resource, however you need to read it before you have to respond to an incident. There may not be time to pull out a reference manual for direction.

Post near your phone and store in your cell phone, numbers for your vet, local emergency animal hospitals and ASPCA poison control ((888)426-4435 a $55 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card per case).

Know where the closest animal emergency hospitals are. I recommend you have all drivers in your house drive the route to the hospital. You may be in the back seat performing CPR and not able to give directions. Have someone call to tell the hospital you are on your way and what your dog’s condition is. It depends on the hospital, often there is a doctor on call, but not in the building. The heads-up call can make a big difference in the outcome of the situation.

Although, thinking about all the what-ifs is not a fun exercise, it is a necessary one. You owe your dog a plan for the worst.

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