You worry any time your pet appears sick or injured, and may ask yourself, “Does this require emergency care? Can I care for my pet at home until a regular appointment is available?” When your four-legged friend is feeling under the weather, making that call can be difficult. Fortunately, veterinary professionals at emergency hospitals or our Fremont Animal Hospital can help guide you through on-the-phone triage. Plus, you can help prevent your pet from needing emergency care, because many urgent-care situations can be avoided or minimized through proactive care. Follow these five tips to help reduce your pet’s chances of needing emergency treatment.
#1: Keep your pet leashed outdoors
If your pooch is the sort to follow their nose, they may not always come when called. Keep your furry pal safe with a properly fitted harness or collar, and a securely attached leash. Choose the appropriate leash for your situation, whether you’re walking through heavy traffic or a wide open field. A short, four-foot leash is ideal for keeping your pet at your side and out of the way of traffic, while a long lead lets them explore safely. Keeping your pet leashed will eliminate or reduce their risk of being struck by a car, fighting with another pet or wild animal, or eating toxic items.
#2: Spay or neuter your pet
Intact pets are often driven by hormonal urges—especially male pets who scent a female in heat. Male dogs can sniff out an in-heat female from miles away, and may escape from fenced-in yards, slip out from loose collars, or bolt through open doors to find a mate. While looking, male pets can get into fights or dart into traffic, which can be fatal.
Additionally, intact pets can develop reproductive problems that require immediate care. Most affect female pets—for example, a pyometra, a life-threatening uterine infection, can require emergency surgery, or a pregnant pet who is struggling to deliver puppies or kittens may need an emergency Cesarean section. Without urgent care, these pets can die, but spaying or neutering your pet can prevent these issues.
#3: Schedule an appointment when your pet is behaving abnormally
You know your pet best, and they likely are hurt or ill when you see them behaving abnormally. Do not ignore unusual behaviors such as:
- Decreased appetite or thirst
- Reluctance to play or interact
- Inability to jump on furniture or use stairs
- Head shaking
- Loose stool
These signs can be vague, but they indicate that something is not quite right with your pet’s health. Rather than waiting for the problem to resolve on its own—and potentially get worse—schedule a veterinary appointment as soon as possible. Many health issues can seem mild, such as ear infections, allergies, or eye problems, but then worsen seemingly overnight.
#4: Prevent access to hazardous items
Pets regularly get into trouble by sniffing out and ingesting hazardous or toxic items, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal obstruction, neurological issues, or organ damage. Hazardous items can lurk in any room of your home, and outdoors. Keep an eye out for potential dangerous items and ensure your pet cannot access:
- Toxic foods (e.g., chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, alcohol)
- Toxic plants (e.g., lilies, amaryllis, tulips, chrysanthemum, azalea, sago palm)
- Insects (e.g., bees, wasps, hornets, fire ants)
- Animal feces
- Stagnant water
Your pet also may encounter infectious pathogens when outdoors, so keep them on a leash and away from unknown pets and animals to reduce their risk of contracting viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
#5: Schedule regular preventive care for your pet
Nothing goes further toward preventing illness in your pet than regular preventive care. Your pet’s annual or biannual wellness visit involves a multitude of preventive care actions, including administering vaccinations to ward off infectious diseases, prescribing parasite prevention to protect against heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites, and recommending health improvements. We may also give advice on diets, behavior issues, and environmental enrichment. Your pet’s wellness visit is designed to boost their immunity and overall health to help them live a longer, happier, and healthier life.
Help prevent your pet from experiencing an emergency situation by staying on top of their preventive care. Contact our Fremont Animal Hospital team to schedule an appointment for their wellness examination.
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