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Pet Emergencies: How to Be Prepared

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An emergency can happen at any time and it is important to be prepared! Knowing what to do in an emergency situation will help you to act fast and could potentially save your pet’s life!


Common emergency situations with pets include the ingestion of foreign materials or poisons, paw lacerations, dog fights, seizures, overheating and accidents with cars. Below are some tips on what steps can be taken in the case of each type of emergency. Please note that in any emergency it is important to contact your veterinarian or a pet hospital in order to receive personalized instruction. Therefore having emergency contact numbers on hand at all times is important and could save your pet’s life.


Paw Lacerations


If your pet’s paw has been cut it is important that you disinfect and flush the area (with saline or clean water) and apply firm pressure (for example, a tight bandage) until you can reach a veterinarian. Your pet’s wound should be looked at as soon as possible in case stitches are needed.


Ingestion of Foreign Objects or Poison


In this type of emergency situation it is important to contact a pet hospital immediately therefore, having emergency contact numbers on hand is very important in order to act quickly.


Dog Fights


It can be very dangerous to put yourself in the middle of a dog fight therefore never try to stop a dog fight by getting in between the animals! Rather, break up the fight by spraying or dousing the animals with water.




Do not try to restrain the animal or put your hands in their mouth. Instead, keep them safe by removing any nearby items that may cause harm during uncontrolled movement.




Overheating is a very common issue. Be sure that you always have enough water for your pet. In the case that he or she does overheat, have them lie in a pool of cold water or eat ice cubes to help bring down their internal temperature. In such cases it is also important to contact a veterinarian.


Car Accidents


If your pet is struck by a car it is important to have them checked out by a vet, even if there are no visible wounds. Often internal damage may have occurred therefore it is important that they are treated immediately!


First Aid Kit


A pet first aid kit is a great idea to have on hand in case of an emergency. Important items to include in the kit are gauze, bandaging tape, antibacterial ointment and wipes or saline (contact lens solution), gloves, tweezers and clean cloths.


As well, emergency numbers such as poison control hot lines and animal hospitals are also a good idea to include in the kit.


In many communities animal first aid and other emergency preparedness classes are offered. By educating yourself on how to react in an emergency situation you can greatly increase your pet’s chance of survival in a life-threatening situation.


Image by mdalmuld


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