Do you know what to do if your pet is having an emergency?
Recently, my husband and I had the misfortune of learning all about pet emergencies when our oldest cat, Dot started to have some problems. You can read more about her story over on my blog, but let me just say, having a sick pet is one of the worst feelings. Since they can’t let you know exactly what’s wrong you feel helpless. They’re clearly miserable but you have no idea what to do.
I thought I would share some of the wisdom I learned from this whole experience in hopes that it can help you or perhaps it can help prepare you in case you ever have to deal with a pet emergency.
Know & Trust Your Vet
I have to give a major shoutout to our vet clinic, Pets First in Chicago. Everyone there was phenomenal from the receptionists to the vet techs to the vet who saw Dot. I’ve always loved our vet, but in this situation especially they were amazing. When I had to pick up appetite stimulants because Dot still wouldn’t eat, the receptionist there talked with me for about 15 minutes and gave me some tips and advice on how to help Dot eat. That same receptionist saw I had scheduled Dot the next day when she STILL wouldn’t eat and told me to not even bother coming in and go straight to the animal ER.
I urge you to find a vet that you feel comfortable with and will treat you and your pet with the respect and care you deserve. A good vet will listen to you, do their best to make your pet feel at ease in their office, answer all your questions, and will put the needs of your pet first. This is crucial when there is an emergency. Your vet will be the first person you go to and will ultimately help you decide what steps to take next.
Know Where Your Animal ER Is Located
Last year, our cat, Olaf, decided he was going to start peeing blood, so we learned really fast where the closest animal ER was. Up until that point, animal emergency rooms really weren’t on my radar. I knew they probably existed, I just didn’t know where they were. Find out where the closest ER is in your neighborhood BEFORE you have a pet emergency. When you’re dealing with a sick or hurt pet, you might not have a lot of time to figure out where to go. You can also talk with your vet and find out if they have any partnerships with local ERs. Our vet and our emergency room work closely together so it’s really easy for information about our pet to be passed back and forth. That makes it easier to keep everyone on the same page.
Ask A Ton Of Questions
This may seem like an obvious tip, but so often we don’t really use it. Chances are, you’re going to get a lot of information in a short amount of time and it can feel overwhelming. You might just sit there and nod your head without asking any questions and then five hours later be pacing the floor worrying about everything. At least that’s what I did. After the initial diagnosis, my husband and I just felt awful and walked home without talking much to the doctor. We spent the entire night worrying and wondering what was going on. Finally, we made a list of all our questions and brought that the next time we met with the doctor and felt SO much better. If you’re like me and don’t think quickly and need some time to formulate questions, write everything down. You can also call and talk over the phone if that is easier for you. No matter what you do, don’t be afraid to ask any and every question you have. Even if it seems silly or trite, it feels better to talk it out than keep it bottled up.
Have A Pet Savings Account or Pet Insurance
Oh, my friends, this is an important one. Medical expenses for pets are JUST as expensive as human medical expenses but many of us don’t prepare for them. Luckily, my husband is a saver and we have a savings account just for our pets and thankfully we didn’t have to dip too much into our other accounts to cover this last trip. We have since gotten pet insurance for our other two healthy cats (it doesn’t make much sense for Dot at this point because she now has a pre-existing condition that won’t be covered) and I’m surprised at how cheap it is. For $50 a month, we get a $10,000 limit with a deductible of $500 and then it covers about 80% after that deductible is met. You can customize your plan through the ASPCA and make one that works for your pet. Pet insurance might not cover every medical expense, but it will help cut down the cost immensely. You should still save a little money each month for pet emergency so you don’t have to worry about finances while you’re also worrying about your pet’s health.
Be There For Your Pet
As much as you’re worrying and scared and nervous for your pet, your pet is probably 10 times more stressed. They don’t understand what’s going on, all they know is they don’t feel well and now they’re in a strange new environment with people constantly poking and prodding them. The ER where Dot stayed was great about letting us come and visit her and spend some time trying to comfort her each day. It also did our hearts good to get little kitty nudges and hear her purrs. If at all possible, do your best to comfort your pet. Speak kind words, scratch their ears, bring them their favorite toy, let them know that you’re there. While it might not be proven scientifically, I think that comforting your pet and just being there helps them heal too.
There are probably a thousand more words I can write about the roller coaster of emotions you might experience if your pet suddenly gets ill or has an accident. While it’s not the best situation, you can do a few things to prepare yourself now. The most important thing to keep in mind is to do what YOU feel is best for your pet because you know them best. Certainly, listen to your vet and other doctors because their advice is important but you have the final say. I hope this has helped and I honestly hope you never have to experience anything traumatic with your pet. But in case you do, these tips should help you get through.