Pets seem to have a nose for trouble, and whether they sniff out problems or are involved in an accident, being prepared for any kind of emergency can make a huge difference for your pet. Follow our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers Nederland team’s advice for prepping for potential pet problems.

#1: Assemble a pet emergency kit

Southeast Texas experiences its fair share of natural disasters, so you should be prepared for every possibility to ensure the safety of your entire family, four-legged members included. Whether a tornado tears through town or a hurricane washes ashore, a fire sets your home ablaze, or your furry pal simply runs afoul of prickly vegetation outdoors, being prepared can save your pet’s life.

Put together an emergency kit that contains your pet’s essentials, including:

  • A week’s supply of food and water
  • Collapsible bowls
  • Can opener, if needed
  • A week’s supply of medications
  • A blanket
  • A spare leash and collar with ID tags
  • Litter and disposable litter boxes
  • A carrier or crate
  • A current color photo of your pet
  • Your pet’s medical and vaccination history
  • A pet first aid kit

These items—except the carrier or crate—should be packed inside a waterproof tote that you can easily grab and go. Regularly swap out perishables to ensure you always have a fresh supply, and keep your first aid kit stocked. Check that you have:

  • Bandage materials
  • Tweezers
  • Blunt-tipped scissors
  • Sterile eye solution
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Plastic syringe
  • Thermometer
  • Ice pack
  • Disposable gloves
  • Soft muzzle

#2: Learn pet first aid for common emergencies

If an injury or accident befalls your pet, you will need to administer first aid to stabilize their condition until you reach the nearest veterinary hospital. Situations that often require first aid include:

  • Toxin exposure
  • Bleeding wounds
  • Heatstroke
  • Seizures
  • Choking
  • Not breathing
  • No heartbeat

Brush up on your pet first aid skills by reading the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) tips for pet owners.

#3: Create a list of emergency contacts

Should an emergency occur, do you know where you can turn for help? You don’t want to be looking for emergency phone numbers and addresses in an emergency situation, so compile a list of contacts that you always keep on hand. Include contact information for:

#4: Pet-proof your home

Many household disasters can be avoided by pet-proofing your home. Your furry pal might have a nose for trouble and sniff out the following:

  • Toxic foods
  • Food or wrappers in unsecured trash cans
  • Medications
  • Small items, bones, and other choking hazards
  • Electrical cords
  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Rodenticides and pesticides
  • Toxic plants
  • Lit candles or wax warmers

Prevent accidents by ensuring your pet has no access to potential hazards by securely storing chemicals and toxins, covering cords, and keeping other pet dangers out of your home.

#5: Schedule regular preventive care for your pet

Keeping your pet in good health through regular care is key to preventing severe health issues. While you can’t prevent every emergency, proper veterinary and at-home care can mitigate your pet’s risk for developing conditions that may land them in the ER.

Regular wellness care can help your pet avoid the following serious health concerns that may require emergency treatment:

  • Infectious diseases — Vaccinating your pet against infectious diseases, such as parvovirus, canine distemper, feline panleukopenia, or calicivirus, can save their life, as these diseases can cause severe, potentially fatal, illness in unvaccinated pets.
  • Periodontal problems — The majority of pets—up to 90%—develop dental disease in a few short years and, left untreated, oral bacteria can leach below the gumline and damage the teeth’s supporting structures. Diseased teeth can cause sudden tooth loss, a tooth-root abscess, or an oronasal fistula, which all require prompt treatment to prevent further issues.
  • Heart failure — Pets often do not show obvious heart disease signs until their condition is advanced, but through regular physical exams, we can pick up a heart murmur and diagnose and treat a heart condition.
  • Pyometra — A pyometra is a uterine infection that typically occurs a month or two after an intact female pet has completed a heat cycle. Spaying your female pet at an appropriate age can eliminate her risk for developing this life-threatening infection.
  • Cesarean section — Pregnancies, whether or not they are planned, can result in difficult, unproductive labor that requires an emergency C-section for the mother and threatens the life of the mother or babies.
  • Eye injuries — Pets can develop a multitude of eye issues when certain health  conditions are not managed. For example, hypertension can cause retinal detachment, while diabetes can cause cataract formation that can lead to glaucoma.
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea — Many health conditions are associated with vomiting and diarrhea, but they can be diagnosed and successfully managed through early detection screening tests.

Although being prepared for a potential pet emergency is a part of being a responsible pet owner, preventing accidents and illnesses completely is impossible. When your pet requires emergency veterinary treatment, contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers Nederland team for after-hours care. If you are unsure if your pet needs immediate care, call our phone triage team to discuss your concerns.