If the first thing you think of when your pet is in trouble is calling 911, then this post is for you.
Any emergency situation is going to be stressful, but if you live in a city (and watch enough TV) then you kinda know what to do when things go wrong with non-fury friends and family. There are procedures. But if your pooch or tabby has an accident, it's completely up to you to play the role of Dr Cool-Calm-Collected, until you can get them to the vet. (So... no pressure.)
The unthinkable has happened and your pet's in trouble (more about "trouble" below). The first thing to know is that the adrenalin pumping through your body needs to be controlled. You don't want to "fight" or "flight", so take deep breaths - try to be aware of breathing rhythmically; this will also help your pet remain as calm and relaxed as possible. Best not to cry or shout out; this will only add to your furry beloved's stress levels.
No matter how much you want to hug and comfort Felix or Fido there's a chance they're so hurt and terrified you could be in danger of being bitten or scratched. Keep your face away from paws, claws and mouth. Assess the situation (using your calm breathing!) and try to be as gentle and methodical as possible. Once you've sussed out the situation, call your emergency vet number (the one that's on your speed-dial, right?) so they can be prepped for you when you arrive at the clinic.
Assess the Damage
The most common types of pet emergency are:
If you have a pet safety or first-aid kit (or for humans, for that matter), you already have coping tools at your fingertips to deal with an emergency. Everyone's "kit" will be a bit different (depending on how OCD you are
On The Move
If you're not dealing with open wounds you could use your pet carrier. The idea is to have as little wriggling in the car (minimize movement) as possible - so really, it's your call. Sometimes speed is more of a necessity than containment. Using a flat piece of board to carry your precious-but-in-pain pet to the car works well if you have something like that on-hand, otherwise stick to a blanket. Place your pet on its side, unless they have a chest or lung injury. Position the head down below the level of the heart so if there's vomiting (and this can happen even with an unconscious pet) it runs out of their mouth and not back down into the windpipe and the lungs. And drive with care - no point in creating more emergency with your not-so-super speed-skills.
On The Mend
Hopefully there's a happy ending to your pet's emergency. Now you both need lots of good care. Follow your vet's instructions for your soon-to-be-pampered pet and those of your nearest and dearest family members for soon-to-be-pampered you. And remember to take Felix or Fido for regular check-ups thereafter until the all-clear. And congrats for coping so well! (Or did you?)
Love... and other stuff too
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