Your pet could wander into a neighbor’s garden and eat a toxic plant. They could step on a bee’s nest and get covered in stings. They could get in a scrap with another animal and come back home with some serious injuries. All of these are emergencies where you’ll need to grab your pet, rush them to the nearest veterinary clinic and get them the treatment they need.
Knowing where the vet clinic is located isn’t the only thing you can do to prepare for a pet emergency. You should take the following steps:
Learn First Aid
You can take a first aid course for cats and dogs online through the American Red Cross. This course can prepare you for emergency situations that your pet might go through. And if you’re worried that you’ll forget the information from the online course, you can download the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app on your smartphone.
Build a First Aid Kit
An animal first aid kit will contain a lot of the items in a regular first aid kit, like adhesive tape, gauze pads, disposable gloves, cotton balls, cotton swabs, scissors, tweezers and alcohol wipes.
These are some other items you will want to add to the kit:
- 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. This can induce vomiting if necessary (for example, your dog has ingested chocolate). Call a veterinary clinic or animal poison control before you take this step.
- Oral Syringe. This will help with administering hydrogen peroxide. You can also use an eye dropper for this.
- Tick Removal Tool.
- Flea and Tick Comb.
- Expired Credit Card (or a similar plastic card). This can help remove insect stingers.
- Elizabethan Collar. This can stop your pet from scratching or licking a wound.
- Styptic Powder. This is an antiseptic clotting agent that can help you slow down bleeding from wounds.
- Bottled Water. This can be useful for several emergency situations, like when your pet is dehydrated and in desperate need of a drink, or when they have an injury that needs to be rinsed.
- Flashlight and Magnifying Glass. These will help you spot problems through their fur.
- Clean Towel. This will be like a security blanket for your pet if they go into shock.
Have a first aid kit in your home and one in the trunk of your car so that you’re ready to treat your pet when you’re on the go.
Get Pet Insurance
An emergency visit to the veterinary clinic will likely cost a lot more than your pet’s routine check-up. You’ll want to prepare yourself for the vet bills that follow your emergency visit. One way to do that is to sign up for pet insurance.
You can choose a pet insurance plan that only offers coverage for accidents, or you can opt for a plan that offers coverage for accidents and illness. Either option should help you handle emergencies.
Pet insurance is not that different from your own health insurance. It will come with deductibles and copays. It may also have restrictions like waiting periods and annual maximums. So, pet insurance can help you cover some of your emergency costs, but not all of them.
Set Up an Emergency Fund
You’ll want to set up a substantial emergency fund so that you can handle the out-of-pocket costs that your pet insurance can’t help with. An emergency fund is a collection of personal savings that you can rely on when something goes wrong.
You can use it to pay a vet bill when your pet falls mysteriously ill. You can also use it for other urgent expenses, like home repairs, car repairs and dental treatments.
What if you don’t have enough in your emergency fund? Then, you can look into applying for an online personal line of credit as a solution. With an approved personal line of credit, you could request a withdrawal that helps you pay for an emergency (like a vet bill) in a short amount of time.
After using that withdrawal, you can focus on a repayment plan and replenish the credit in your account. You could use that credit again to recover from another crisis when you don’t have enough savings available.
After you follow these steps, you’ll be ready for any emergency trip to the vet. Your pet will be in good hands.