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Emergency Vet Tips: Transporting Your Pet During an Emergency

As an emergency vet, Dr. Fazeli, and the rest of the team here at Brightcare Veterinary Group Animal Emergency Room would like to share some tips on how pet owners can transport their beloved pets during an emergency.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any centralized animal ambulance services like 911 Emergency services for humans. When there is an emergency, pet owners have to go the extra mile to take their pets somewhere for emergency veterinarian treatment.

We know how challenging it is to deal with pets during emergencies, and we also wrote an article on the basics every pet owner should know before a pet emergency. The animals are under a lot of distress, and if the pet owners are scared, their pets sense it makes them even more anxious. We hope that the info you read here will let you keep your cool if an emergency does occur.

When you have to take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinarian of your choice, being prepared might just let you do so without endangering your life or making your pet more anxious.

An Emergency Vet Would Warn You About This

First of all, be very careful when approaching your dog. Your dog might be in pain or very scared following an accident; even if they deeply love you, their instinct might lead them to consider everyone around them as hostile.

Approach them carefully and with a soothing tone, but don’t stand close to their mouths while attempting to move them to avoid any unwanted reactions from your dog. Try to identify the area where they are most hurt and be mindful not to push on the spot and accidentally hurt them more.

A loving pet owner’s first instinct might be to hold their pet or hug them, but this might unintentionally hurt your pet. Instead, you could sit next to them, avoid making them uncomfortable, and otherwise avoid handling them too much.

Restraining the Dog

A well-stocked first-aid kit should include a muzzle. Even docile dogs might bite if they are under extreme duress. Attempting to move an injured dog might cause them pain, so as a precaution to keep you and your dog’s caregivers safe, you should try gently muzzling your dog. If you have to fashion a homemade version of a muzzle, try using a thick towel or blanket.

You should never muzzle a dog if they are:

  • Unconscious
  • Vomiting
  • Having difficulty breathing or choking
  • Dealing with a mouth injury.

Your emergency vet would also recommend using an Elizabethan collar if muzzling your dog proves difficult.

Lifting Your Dog

Try calling your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian hospital for recommendations on what to use to move your dog. Regardless of the emergency’s nature, you should always avoid twisting your dog’s neck or back.

Smaller dogs could fit into a carrier or box for safe transport, but you might have more trouble moving larger dogs. If at all possible, get another person to help you move your dog. The easiest and fastest way to move your dog is to use a firm, flat object. You could use a stretcher of some kind, an iron board, or even a wide wooden board.

Securely fasten your dog using towels, loose straps, or, if you got someone else to help you, have someone else gently hold them down using a towel or blanket over the dog’s body. Please remember to keep your pet’s head above their body at all times during transportation to an emergency center.

Trying a Blanket Carry

If there are no large, firm, and flat items nearby to transport your dog, you could try a blanket. Place one over the floor next to your injured dog. With the help of another person, lift them onto the blanket. Wrap the edges of the blanket around your dog to immobilize them.

Try to lift your pet using equal force from all sides to avoid twisting your dog’s body and place your dog in the transportation means you will use to get them to the animal emergency hospital. Don’t try to hold the animal in your arms. This method will hurt, and your dog will likely cry out, so an emergency vet would warn you that this is a last resort type of recommendation.

Forgetting to Call Ahead

Your priority should be to stabilize your pet, but you should keep in mind calling ahead to the emergency veterinary hospital. Letting us, or any other emergency caregiving team about the state of your dog’s emergency will help us plan to meet you on your arrival with the necessary equipment within the hospital.

An Emergency Vet’s Top Phone Numbers

Keep some of these phone numbers handy. They may be a life-saver for your dog if you find yourselves in the middle of an emergency.

National Animal Poison Control Center: 1 888 426 4435.

The National Animal Poison Control Center is a 24-hour emergency hotline. There might be a charge for consultations. Keep that in mind if you decide to make a call.

Emergency Disaster Information Line: 1 800 227 4645.

The American Humane Association provides support and relief information during natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, fire, and more. This number is not an official hotline, but you might be able to get live help during a natural disaster or emergency. If you need more information about their operations in California, visit this website.

Pet Travel Hotline: 1 800 545 USDA (8732).

If you are traveling to another state or internationally with your dog, you could call this number to ensure you have all angles covered. This is a phone number for the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. However, keep in mind that this phone number is attended only Mon-Fri 8:30 am – 5:00 pm EST.

A Veterinarian Emergency Hospital (Brightcare ER): 949-716-9270.

We work through the night to care for your pet; you can also find us open 24 hours on every day of the week. The entire team of highly qualified and professional veterinarian caregivers here at Brightcare 24-hour animal hospital will do their best to help your dog through their emergency. Give us a call to let us know you are coming. Always ask what is the best 24/7 animal hospital near me? If the answer is Brightcare, you can be sure we will do our best to help.

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COVID-19 Alert

BrightCare Veterinary Group takes the safety of our staff and clients very seriously. We continue to monitor the changes related to COVID-19.

BrightCare has enacted specific protocols as recommended by the CDC in order to stay open as an essential business for our community.

• Only essential staff are allowed in the building as our lobby is closed to clients.
• Our facility has enacted curbside check in and check out. Please call 949-716-9270 upon arrival. Inform the staff of the make, model, and color of your vehicle.
• Wait in your vehicle as a staff member will be out to come get your pet. Continue to stay in your vehicle until you are instructed further.
• All persons entering our facility are required to wear a face covering.
• Maintain social distancing guidelines of 6 feet when able.
• If you are sick, we request that another individual bring your pet for you. Our staff members can communicate with you via phone and email.

Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.