VCA Animal Hospitals

Preparing for emergencies as a pet owner

Published: Sep 27, 2012

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Emergencies often come with little or no warning, and the supplies you'll need to get through an unexpected event can vary greatly. There are ways, however, that you can prepare as much as possible, and if you are a pet owner, then you'll need to take extra steps to ensure you'll be able to take care of your cat or dog in the event of an unexpected emergency. Here are some tips:

Know how to get medical help
If the emergency you are experiencing involves an unexpected medical issue, it's essential that all members of the family know who to call to get help. Post the phone numbers for your local vet clinics prominently in the home, and make sure everyone has the information programmed into his or her cell phone, if possible.

You can also prepare by planning out a route to the vet hospital in advance. Formulate a strategy for different hypothetical situations. For instance, if the area where you live is prone to coastal flooding, consider mapping out a route that avoids low ground.

Making your home a safe space for pets
Many dog or cat emergencies can happen within the home, which is why you must make sure your space is as safe for your pet as possible. In case of a fire, it's wise to have stickers on the outside of the doors leading into your home that include the name and a brief physical description of your pet. This will make it easier for firefighters to find and rescue your pet should a fire break out.

Even if your home is safe for pets on a day-to-day basis, keep in mind that certain disasters, like blizzards or blackouts, can leave you stranded at home. Always have extra pet food and water on hand for such emergencies, and keep extra medications your pet may need, such as dog diabetes insulin, in an easy to reach place. Cats will also need extra kitty litter, so stock up well in advance.

What to pack in your pet's first aid kit 
Just as you would keep a first aid kit at home for yourself and your family, you must also keep one for the pets in your home. These should contain bandages for dog wound treatment, an extra brush, tweezers, an extra leash, rubbing alcohol, clippers for grooming and vet-approved topical antibiotic ointments. If you're unsure what types of products are best to stock a first aid kit, speak with your vet and see if he or she has suggestions. You may find they are able to provide you with a first aid kit, or at least some of the materials you'll need to get started. Keep the first aid kit near a pet carrier or crate so you will be able to grab it if you need to quickly evacuate your pet in case of an emergency. 

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General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.

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