Emergencies Happen

We will all be there one day in our journey as pet owners. Your dog gets into chocolate, they get bit, they eat something they shouldn't. The list can go on and on if we wanted to sit thinking up scenarios. 

I encountered my unexpected emergency last September when my dog jumped out of the car. Yup! She didn't fall, and she's done it a million times, but this time she landed funny. We thought it was a sprain, put her on bed rest and had her place next to my desk the next couple days. We were monitoring her, and she was bearing weight. While no one likes to see their dogs not feeling well, we were monitoring the situation.  It all took a turn one night when Nissu started breathing heavily, her foot swelled to the size of my fist, it was purple and she wouldn't eat or drink.

I didn't have an emergency plan. I had my vet's phone number but it was 2:00 AM. Let me tell you, 2:00 AM in a panic, is not when you want to do your research on emergency vets. So I've made a list so you don't have to wait until disaster strikes to have that realization. When we have a game plan, even emergencies can seem a little less scary.

Please note that this should not be construed as medical advice. The purpose of this article is to start a conversation between you and your dog's Veterinarian to establish protocol for a medical emergency.

Dog Being Carried with Cone on

Be Pet Prepared

We should all have a pet first aid kit on hand with things you might need in a medical emergency for your pet. This is for minor injuries or to take care of things and hold you over until you can get to your regular vet or emergency vet. If you haven't already done so check out our Pet First Aid Kit Blog to learn more about how you can be better pet prepared.

If There's Something Weird and It Don't Look Good, Who You Gonna Call?

dog emergency
The Basics

Having a list of your Veterinarian's phone number is important to include in your Pet First Aid kit. I'd also keep it saved in your phone or on your fridge for quick access. If you have a pet sitter be sure to leave the number for them. You don't want to delay your dog's safety by logistics of where to take them.

For general questions, or gradual changes in your dogs constitution call your Vet's main line. 

The Emergency

Again, I'm just a dog owner who was in a scary situation and wasn't prepared. I'd encourage you to  speak with your primary veterinarian to determine what might constitute as an emergency, and what protocol they'd want you to follow. But in general, if your dog has trauma, bleeding, vomiting blood, vomiting for long periods, or has prolonged diarrhea, don't wait. If you notice heavy breathing with lethargy, pale gums, or has a sudden change in constitution, I'd encourage you to not put it off till morning, call the after hours line or emergency vet. They can tell you if its something worth waiting on or if you need to bring them in. 

Many vets have an emergency phone number for after hours emergencies. Be sure to have this saved in your phone and written down as well. If you veterinarian does not have an after hours department, they may have a emergency veterinarian they recommend in your area. Ask them who they use and do your research. If they take your pet insurance, their hours, and overall their reviews. You don't want to skimp on your pet's quality of care due to lack of planning. 

Personally, my vet recommended Blue Pearl Emergency Veterinarians and Michigan State University Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care. Regardless of where you take your dog, 

  • 1
    Do Your Research Before Hand
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    Have the Numbers on Hand & Easily Accessible for You & Any Pet Sitters or Dog Walkers
  • 3
    Call Ahead of Getting There

Hope for the Best, Plan for the worst. Be Prepared

With April Being National Pet First Aid Awareness month, it was a chance for us to share our story. Learn from my lack of planning, Nissu had broken her paw and it had become necrotic. Things happen. By getting her to the vet, it helped get her on the road to recovery that much sooner. Be sure you have a game plan. Doing some thinking now, will help you in the long run. Imagine the burden you could take off your shoulders if you knew where you'd take your pup, before disaster strikes. You can't predict what will happen but you can control how you'll handle it. 

Holly and Nissu at their return vet visit. Happy and recovering from a broken paw

Please note that this should not be construed as medical advice. The purpose of this article is to start a conversation between you and your dog's Veterinarian to establish protocol for a medical emergency.

Holly is K9 Heights Marketing and Administrative Coordinator, USA Archery 2017 National Women's coach of the year, and was a competitive archer who trained for the 2012 Olympics. When her health no longer allowed her to compete she was introduced to K9 Heights because she needed a service dog. Since being paired with Nissu, Holly and Nissu have grown as a team. While working with K9 Heights as a client, Holly learned so much, and quickly realized K9 Heights training philosophy aligned with much of her own coaching philosophy. After seeing the impact that having a well trained dog had on a persons life first hand, it led Holly to want to be more involved with our program and help other people create those meaningful relationships with their dog too.

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