An emergency can occur at anytime with our pets. Unfortunately, it often occurs at the most inconvenient time and can lead to an unexpected financial burden. While some emergencies are completely unavoidable, there are a fair amount of emergencies that are avoidable. Here are a few tips that can help minimize the risk that your pet will visit an emergency clinic.
Tip #1 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Keep Pets indoors
I know this can be difficult for some pet owners who love to see their pets have their freedom. But pets who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors are more likely to experience some event which will require a veterinary visit. Pets that spend time outdoors are at an increased risk for bite wounds, being hit by cars, and being in contact with something toxic. Outdoor cats are notorious for bite wound abscesses that often require expensive surgery. Also contact with other animals increases the likelihood they may encounter infectious diseases.
Tip # 2 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Pet proof your home.
This is something most people don’t think about when trying to acquire a new pet. Pet intoxication with human medications, insecticides, rat poisoning, is a common occurrence at emergency clinics. So it is important that prior to bringing a pet in a home you secure human medications out of reach of your pet, Secure trash cans to prevent garbage ingestion. Avoid baits that pets can get into when treating common pests. Look for safer alternatives instead.
Tip # 3 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Neuter or spay your pets
If you don’t plan to use your pets for breeding or they are not working animals, it is recommended that you have them spayed or neutered. This is more of an issue with females but both can have issues that may require medical attention. A common issue that is seen at emergency clinics is pyometra which is an infection of the uterus. This often occurs unexpectedly and often requires surgery to correct which can be costly. Though the occurrence of emergent issues is less in males, they are not out of the woods. Intact males are the most common pet seen for hit by car injuries. This is because they are often exhibit roaming behaviors.
Tip #4 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Train your pets
This tip is mostly for dogs, But teaching your pets basic commands may be helpful in keeping them under control. This is important when they are interacting with other pets and can keep them from running off leash.
Tip #5 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Have regular veterinary visits
Pets that are commonly seen for emergencies are ones that rarely go to their veterinarian for regular checkups. These pets may have early changes that can be detected during a routine veterinary visit that progresses to where it needs emergency intervention. Examples includes heart disease, diabetes, and specific skin masses. It is recommended that your pet sees a veterinarian at least once yearly and twice yearly for pets over 7 years of age.
Tip #6 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Don’t self medicate
I can understand how pet owners want to save money on veterinary care but the worse thing an owner can do is to self medicate their pets. A common reason for emergency visits is poisoning from an owner attempting to treat their pet for an ailment. Common offenders includes giving a pain killer or trying to correct a fever. Often owners will reach for over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or Tylenol thinking if it is okay in humans it must be okay in pets. Unfortunately that is not the case. These medications can cause serious organ failure and changes in the blood that require intensive care at an emergency clinic.
Tip #7 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Keep up to date on vaccines
This is mostly an issue with younger pets. Often people will acquire a young pet and fail to complete their vaccination series. With dogs we often see parvovirus which can be very expensive to treat. With kittens it is a disease called panleukopenia that affects them.
Tip #8 to Avoid an Emergency Clinic: Avoid feeding people food.
This is another culprit for a cause to visit an emergency clinic. Even though your pets may look cute when they look at you with those eyes and beg for food, it is best to resist. Some people are unaware of what foods to give their pets and are caught off guard when they get ill . Common offenders include, grapes, chocolate, and foods with a lot of onions. Even other routine foods can cause an issue. Pancreatitis is another issue that is commonly treated at emergency clinics. This can be caused by fatty foods that unsuspecting owners think is a great treat for their pets.
While all emergencies are not avoidable, you as a pet owner have some control over this. Based on the most common emergencies that are seen, following the above tips should help you greatly reduce a need for a trip to an emergency clinic.