One of the most disastrous things that can occur during a pet emergency situation is a loss of precious time.  This can occur when a pet owner fails to recognize the emergency situation as soon as it has occurred, or spends time researching what should be done instead of taking action.  Following are five tips for handling a pet emergency so as to eliminate wasted time:

1. Know exactly where the closest emergency veterinary clinic is and how to reach them at any time of day or night.  When your pet is in distress, you need to know with absolute certainty who to call and where to take them.  This will not only help to relieve some of the emotional burden you are faced with, it will allow immediate and potentially life-saving action to occur.

2. Never assume that the situation may improve if you wait it out. If your pet has any sort of non-optimal symptomatology–even if it’s that he’s just not acting like his normal self, it’s best to take him to the vet.  It’s true that you may discover that they are suffering a mild medical issue that will dissipate on its own over time, but sometimes they may have major medical problems you can’t even detect.

3. Always contact a veterinarian immediately if your pet has bloating issues. A pet that is suffering from bloating issues often has a distended abdomen and breathing issues.  They may pace and have obvious difficulty getting comfortable, and they may also retch or vomit repeatedly.  A bloated stomach cannot only press against internal organs and make it difficult for the pet to breathe, it can sometimes even result in a twisted stomach, a dangerous condition known as GDV.

4. Don’t take it upon yourself to medicate your pet.  Unless your pet has been treated by a veterinarian for the exact condition they are currently suffering from, and is currently prescribed a medication for that condition, you should never administer medications to them–even ones they have previously been prescribed.

5. Ask your veterinarian every question you have. Once your pet has been seen by a veterinarian, it’s important to understand what home care is necessary.  Take notes as necessary, and ask every question you have to ensure you can provide your pet with the best possible care.