Having your pet involved in an emergency situation is everyone’s worst nightmare. Whether your pet is involved in an accident or gets seriously ill unexpectedly, it’s terrifying not knowing what to do or if they’re going to be okay. Luckily, there are a few things you can do in an emergency to keep your pet as safe as possible and transport them until they can get veterinary care. The most important things to do are to stay calm and be prepared.
Common Emergency Situations:
- Finding a tick on your pet
- Penetrating wounds
- Poisoning – household toxins or snake bite
- Your pet is struggling to breathe – panting, pale gums or a blue tongue
- Severe vomiting or diarrhoea, particularly if there is blood
- Seizures or loss of consciousness
- Sudden swollen abdomen or inability to urinate or defecate
Avoiding Emergency Situations:
- Keep potential toxins out of reach from your pet –a locked cupboard in the house for medications or cleaning products or a shed your pet has no access to for gardening products can minimise the risk of poisoning
- Make sure your pet’s tick prevention regime is up to date
- Never leave your dog in a locked car – even during winter months, as dogs overheat easily and can get heatstroke or suffocate very quickly
- Avoid walking your dog by a busy road, or make sure you use a lead to prevent car accidents.
- Desexing your pet, particularly if they are male, can reduce aggression and the risk of cat or dog fights
What to do with an emergency:
- Keep yourself safe
Our first reaction when seeing our pet in pain is to comfort them, but when in pain or stressed, pets can display uncharacteristically aggressive behaviour out of fear. When examining your pet, do so slowly and stop if your pet becomes agitated. Make sure they do not feel cornered and keep your face and hands away from their mouth.
- Stabilise your pet
There are a few basic first aid procedures you can carry out to help your pet as they travel. The most important thing is to keep your pet calm and transport them to the vet as quickly as possible
|Heatstroke||Spray your pet with cool (not cold water) and place them near a fan
·Make sure your pet has access to water
|Injuries||Use a splint or bandage to stabilise any injuries, particularly before moving your pet to prevent any further trauma
To control bleeding apply pressure to the wound using a towel or bandage for at least 3 minutes
Leave the object in the case of a penetrating wound
|Seizures||Do not offer your pet food or water or put your hands near their mouth during a seizure.
Check that your pet is breathing and if there is any airway obstruction
Move any objects away from your pet that may injure them during a seizure
- Gather what you need
- Keep all your pet’s medication and medical records (such as vaccination certificates) in the same place, so in an emergency you can collect them easily and bring them with you to the vet. Particularly if you are going to an emergency vet, information about your pet’s medical history can be important in their treatment.
- If your pet has ingested a toxin (such mouse bait, garden pest control products, cleaning products or human medications), bring the container with you.
- Call the vet ahead of time and let them know when you may arrive, so they can prepare for the type of emergency involving your pet.
- Transport your pet to the vet
Wrapping your pet in a towel or blanket or placing them in a well-lined pet carrier can help them feel as safe as possible when you transport them. Ensure that their noses are uncovered so they are able to breath easily. Surf or boogie boards as well as blankets can make useful stretchers to help move large dogs. When moving your pet in an emergency, always get another person to help you such as a family member, friend or neighbour, Especially if you have a large dog. They can sit with your pet as you drive to the vet, so you can focus on the road.
Keeping a list of emergency numbers together is a good way to ensure that in an emergency situation you can get help as quickly as possible. Some important numbers are:
Ark Vet – 02 9416 1300
If the Ark is open, bring your pet in straight away. There is no need for an appointment – we will see your pet immediately