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Handling a pet emergency

It’s a terrible feeling:  You’re out walking your best friend on a gorgeous day and all of a sudden you notice that he’s limping, yelping or vomiting. He was fine a few seconds ago--what happened? What do you do?

1. Don’t panic. This can be easier said than done, but it’s important to stay calm so that the dog doesn’t pick up on your feelings and get agitated (which could make the problem worse). Take a deep breath and move to step 2.

2. Find an out-of-the-way spot where you can assess the situation without worrying about other people or dogs nosing into the situation. If your dog is in any pain, strangers could elicit aggressive behavior from your dog; even the most mild-mannered pup can react poorly if he’s in distress.

3. Do a careful nose-to-tail check as best you can. Where is the dog putting his weight? Do you see or feel swelling? What does the vomit look like?  Is your dog yelping constantly or when something particular happens?

4. There’s an app for that. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. The app features videos, interactive quizzes, and simple step-by-step advice for both dogs and cats. Available for Android and iOS.

5. Pull out your cell phone and call someone with a car to come get you and take you and your pup to the vet. If you’re close to home, try to get your dog home and call the vet to get advice on what to do.

Our hope is that you will never need this information, but it’s a good reminder to always be aware of our furry friends.

We always recommend you speak with your vet if you are concerned about your dog’s health.

Jaime Migdal is the founder and CEO of Fetchfind, a talent recruitment and services organization dedicated to the pet industry.

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