You’re watching that special show on Netflix in the middle of the night, snuggling with your furry companion. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and the world around you is sound asleep. The dog is beginning to act abnormally and you begin to panic. Your pet is unresponsive and you’re left to make crucial decisions on the fly that may cost his or her life.
Sixty-eight percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. The midnight emergency game plan is the most overlooked step of pet ownership. Having a plan of action in an emergency could save you precious time and a lifetime of regret.
Prepare and Execute
Accidents happen and they can happen anywhere. They might fall down the stairs, something may fall and hit them, you may trip and fall on them when feeling your way to the bathroom around the dark home, or it may be rapid panting or loss of consciousness. Bad things happen to good people and they happen when we least expect it.
Understanding that accidents happen is the first step in the right direction. Too many pet owners spend time and money on toys, food, bedding , and training but never invest in simple necessities like a medical kit. Often, they will sell the idea that they would take their pet to the nearest pet hospital but never did the research on where they are in the first place. They find themselves doing research while their pet’s time is ticking. It’s imperative that you plan for the worst case scenario and keep a laminated plan ready to action.
Building The Plan:
Know Your Surroundings: Ask your veterinarian if they offer 24/7 service or what are some of the better options around your area in case of an emergency. You should have 2-3 options ready to go to in case there is an emergency inside of an emergency. Maybe the traffic is bad and it would be easier to go to a different facility. Write down the name, address, and phone numbers of each facility on your plan. The last thing you want is you researching on how to get to each place with bad signal. Don’t be afraid to call and ask for immediate assistance in an emergency.
Emergency Items: If your pet needs medication or has past medical issues, have all files and meds ready to take with you so the veterinarian can get an idea of how to work with your pet. Speed is everything and we don’t need to be guessing or trying to remember technical terms. It’s always good to bring that one item that gives them comfort like their favorite toy or blanket.
You Are The First Responder: Most emergencies require immediate veterinary care, but first aid methods may help you stabilize your pet for transportation. If your pet has bleeding wounds or is choking, seek professional advice on how to treat these issues so you can take the next step and get ready for transport. Like a soldier in the field, you should be able to get the basics before the real doctors look at the damage.
The Approach: Understand that you are NOT a doctor so approach your dog slowly and calmly. Fashion a makeshift stretcher and gently lift him onto it. Take care to support his neck and back in case he’s suffered any spinal injuries. DO NOT PANIC!
Transport: The last thing you need is to be that reckless driver that kills a pedestrian or a family inside of another car. Drive swiftly but not recklessly. Stay calm and call 911 if you need assistance or an escort.
Cost: Whatever type of provider you choose for your pet, be warned that emergency services might take a chunk out of your wallet. Research what the rates are around your area and never touch that emergency money. You don’t want to be the person that euthanizes their best friend due to finances. You can always make more money but you will never replace love. Look into pet insurance.
Always Be Ready
There was a time when Sasha, My German shepherd, nearly died of a heat stroke due to my negligence. We played fetch for nearly an hour in the scorching heat and she just kept on running. On the way home she collapsed and started panting aggressively. Regret rushed through my soul and I feared that my only love in the world was about to be no more. I didn’t know what to do and neither did my friend when his dog collapsed in the middle of the night. Luckily, they both survived but we both panicked and had no idea what to do. Luck was on our side but for some it won’t be. Expect the unexpected and stay prepared for any disaster.
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