By Karin Krisher
There’s nothing worse than your pet getting sick over the holidays, when your vet’s office is likely to be closed. When it comes down to it, do you know what to do during a holiday pet emergency? It’s important to have a plan.
There are three main pieces to your perfect holiday pet emergency plan.
1) Be prepared.
2) Be vigilant.
3) Be decisive.
Being prepared is a simple step. First, set up a plan to avoid emergencies.
Examples? Decide not to feed your pet human food just because it’s the holiday. (This doesn’t apply to pets that always get human food or raw diets. It’s more meant to quell the endless table droppings.) Tell your guests this rule. Keep holiday plants and decorations away from prying paws and jaws. Set up a space for your pet that is quiet and removed from guests to avoid added stress.
Maintain routines and schedules. One of your pets’ worst nightmares is likely the confusion and stress that comes with an interrupted exercise or feeding schedule. Don’t neglect these important facets of health.
Holiday pet emergencies can’t always be avoided. Be sure to have all of your pet’s up-to-date medical records and information available in files for easy access. Your pet should also always have I.D. to make the visit simple. Have your vet’s regular office number and any out-of-office numbers—as well as your local emergency vet’s number—on-hand. Have some supplements on-hand. These aren’t meant for alternative solutions during an emergency, but they will support general, day-to-day health so that avoiding emergencies is more likely!
Being vigilant is crucial in order to appropriately deal with holiday pet emergencies, and to avoiding them in the first place. If you notice anything unusual in your pet’s behavior leading up to the holiday, make sure you call your vet to discuss. Hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid the emergency altogether.
If your animal is acting normal until the holidays, it doesn’t mean something can’t go wrong. It’s easy to get caught up in your own stress and the holiday buzz around you. But pay attention to your pet. Even small changes in appetite can indicate something greater. Devote time to checking in with your animal throughout the holiday season.
Decisiveness can save your pet’s life. Seriously. If you notice something unusual, make the decision to call your vet, who can then help you decide if your pet needs emergency care. It’s a good idea to make a fast, informed decisions because an emergency vet trip now can save you money and your pets’ discomfort later.
For example, if you think your cat is experiencing urogenital issues, a trip to the emergency vet –even the dreaded holiday kind—can prevent the type of blockage that can lead to more serious illness. Don’t waver between calling and not calling.
You do not need to be a hypochondriac for your pets because they can’t do it for themselves. That, like the holidays, can add unnecessary stress to both of your lives. Check out the ASPCA’s FAQ on emergencies and when to be concerned.
Vigilance doesn’t have to mean paranoia. Decisiveness doesn’t have to mean poor judgment.
During the holidays, take each moment in stride. Stay calm and help it go smoothly by planning for unfortunate circumstances.
Have you ever had a holiday pet emergency? What did you do? Share your story with us on Facebook!