Preparing for Pet Emergencies
Posted July 24, 2009
Our pets are more than just animals; they are members of our
families. We rely on our pets for companionship just as they rely
on us for love and care. When a pet dies or gets injured we are
often left in a state of panic and chaos.
"No one wants to think about the possibility of something awful
happening to their pet," states Lucy Wendt, a registered veterinary
technician at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, "but planning ahead and being
prepared can help a person function in a state of shock or
Having a plan of action in case your pet is somehow injured can
not only help you get through the situation, it could potentially
save your animal's life. Wendt recommends keeping multiple copies
of your pet's background information, vaccination records, medical
history, as well as the phone numbers of your veterinarian and
nearby animal hospital in a convenient and accessible place. If the
animal hospital closest to you is not open, make sure you have the
number and location of the nearest 24-hour facility. This way, in
the event of an emergency, you can get to the documents and have
the information you will need at your fingertips. This will save
precious time that could help to save your pet's life.
Having copies of the documents can also come in handy when you
are leaving your pet in the care of someone else.
"When you are leaving your pet, think of it as leaving your
child," adds Wendt "What would you do if you had to leave them and
give their care to someone else?"
Make sure you leave the caretaker with a set of the above
referenced documents as well as a few additional important papers.
Include a written affidavit that gives them permission to obtain
medical treatment in case of an emergency, phone numbers of where
you will be and how to get in touch with you, and the information
of a place where your pet could be boarded if needed.
If you are traveling and decide to take your pet with you, Wendt
suggests get the information for the closest emergency animal
clinic to your destination. Twenty minutes is the farthest travel
time you should allow for veterinary clinics and animal
Also, take a copy of your 'in case of emergency documents' as
well a few additional important papers. If you are flying, make
sure you have the animal's health certificate. If you are driving
out of state have a certified copy of your pet's rabies vaccination
We can prepare for emergencies, but we cannot control their
outcome. If your pet dies or suffers irreversible injuries and must
be put to sleep, knowing your options ahead of time can help ease
"If you have a place to bury your pet, do so," recommends Wendt.
If you do not have the land, physical ability, or emotional
strength needed to bury your pet, or you would prefer to have the
animal cremated, your veterinary clinic should have the contact
information of a pet burial and cremation facility that can assist
"A person can plan all they want but no one is ever ready when
their pet faces an emergency situation or dies. Not only is it
stressful, it is devastating," explains Wendt. Though nothing can
prepare us for these situations, having a plan of action can help
you function during traumatic events. Talk with your veterinarian
about your emergency plans. Maintaining a good relationship with
your veterinarian, through the good times and the bad, is extremely
important for both you and your pet.
About Pet Talk
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for
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Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
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