Things You Need To Prepare in Case of a Canine Emergency

Thank you all very much for your kind inquiries after Shiva’s health. She is alive and well – mostly. I don’t have the energy to share the full story with you yet but I sincerely appreciate your warm concern. It has meant the universe to me to know that other people get it. Co-workers try to understand but unless you have a pet who is your reason for getting up before the sun every day, you’ll never truly understand the trauma.

Quite frankly, all I can think is that Shiva has brilliant timing. In all the years we’ve had her she chooses now, during NaBloPoMo, when I am trying to regain my writing mojo, to get herself into a pathetic situation. Dang animals, they’ve always got to take centre stage, eh?

I might have had four hours of sleep in the last two days, so, if I babble, this is my excuse.


Shiva: pre-cone

Having never been to an emergency vet before and having never had a dog on two weeks of kennel rest, I am stumbling blindly on unfamiliar ground. This ground is especially tumultuous in that it is paved by a tornado with no sense of self-preservation.

In times like these, I just have to be grateful for lessons learned that are now – finally – paying off.

– Never, ever, underestimate the value of a wicked “stay” cue.

– Kennel training. If you haven’t started it now, get on it. It may not seem necessary, but the crate can be what ensures your dog heals with minimal stress.

– Find your dog’s currency, STAT. You never know when you’ll need a well-placed bribe.

– You might want to keep the address and phone number of your closest 24-hour veterinary clinic on your refrigerator. Googling in a panic is not a good time. Especially when the clinic doesn’t have an address on the main page of its website. What’s up with that, yo?

– Seriously, I can’t over-emphasize the value of a “stay”.

– Find your people. In a brutal moment, when my PH had to leave my side, I was so grateful for my friends who “got it”, who didn’t need me to explain, who just understood that I needed to feel like everything was going to be okay.

– Be prepared to bawl your eyes out in front of the emergency vet. It’s okay. No one is judging you. And if they are, that says more about them than it does about you.

– In stressful moments like these, it can be so easy to forget simple things, like your own name and phone number, let alone the name and number of your veterinarian in a different province on the other side of the country. You might want to have this kind of information on hand in your wallet, just in case.

– “Stay” works. Just make sure your dog has learned “stay”. You won’t regret it.

– Coffee. Always have lots of coffee on hand. You never know when you’ll have to stay up all night with a dog coming down from anaesthesia. It’s not a good time.

Did I miss anything? Have you ever had to make a trip to emergency with your puppy? I’d love to read about your experiences.

18 thoughts on “Things You Need To Prepare in Case of a Canine Emergency

  1. Sit-stays and down-stays – check.
    Currency? Hamburger buns. Check.
    Frantically Googling in a city where you don’t have a vet? Check.
    Crying infront of late night 24 hour clinic staff? Check.

    The rollercoaster that Moses put us on when he bloated has not been forgotten many years later.

    Whatever it was, as Shiva heals, I hope you guys do too! Emergency vet care is not a fun situation.

    I might add pet insurance to your list. I know not all advocate it, but I am one who does, and has used it.


  2. My dad has been to lots of ER clinics. The last time was when after too much stress, too long work hours, not enough sleep my mom asked my dad if he could recall whether Owen and I always had black gums. My dad was a still a little goofy from too little sleep and said that he couldn’t recall. But a quick diagnostic consult on Google and suddenly he’s yelling something about those new stuffies that he got were probably made in China and that we were probably suffering from poison dye colouring on the stuffies. Well things really got crazy, with my mom and dad running around and suddenly all of us were in the truck heading for the ER with a bunch of decapitated and armless stuffies. Well after my dad got there he stressed out the staff and then the vet carefully exams my gums and my brother Owen’s and asks a bunch of questions and then the vet says, nope – that our gums are naturally like that and that our peeps need more sleep and less time on stupid jobs. Oh yes, we’ve missed you Kristine. The offer of dinner and drinks still stands whenever you get out this way.


  3. the emergency vet is always such a sad place! we had to take Bender one weekend after he suffered a puncture wound from a submerged stick… strangely seeing others freak out made me more calm…. also crate training, yes! unfortunately both of my dogs have quite active aversions to the crate… I tried to crate Barbie whilst she was recovering from surgery on her hock but she stressed and pooped everywhere!


  4. I think you were recommending the STAY command;) Trouble with a lot of dogs is they do it fine, until that precise moment when it’s vital they do.

    Sending you and Shiva hugs.


  5. Those are all very useful information *takes notes*. Better to be too prepared than not prepared. Hopefully Shiva is doing ok and is healing quickly and well.



  6. Sounds horrible. Luckily I have not yet had to rush my dog to an emergency vet. There stays are ok, but sometimes can be a bit shakey, however I have always been lucky, I don’t know whether they sense something different in me/the way I say the command but the few times I have had to tell them to stay and it has really mattered they have both not moved a muscle until instructed to do so!!

    And crying in front of the emergency vet – sounds very sensible to me!


  7. I’ve spent a fair amount of time at the emergency vet, myself.

    So true what you say about kennel training. I know people who “can’t stand to see a dog in a cage;” but even if you don’t use it all the time it is *such* an important tool to have for times like these.

    Wishing Shiva a speedy recovery.


  8. In 20 years, I have yet to head to a vet for a traumatic injury (knock wood). But your post is a good reminder.

    When I was trying to decide if it was important for me to keep active on Honey’s crate training, I read someone else’s reminder to do crate training in case of an emergency. When she had her squeakyectomy, I was very thankful she found a crate a safe place.

    Hope Shiva is doing ok wearing her stereo speaker. Look forward to seeing the healthy and happy pictures when she comes out the other side. 🙂


  9. The crate thing… yes!! We’re working on that with these guys now as part of our hurricane preparedness. As far as emergency vet stories, here’s where every shelter puts my name on the do-not-adopt list. Before we knew the extent of Emmett’s counter-climbing abilities, he got a full bottle of Advil out of my purse. Stomach pumped at the EV for that one. Then he ate a holly wreath, including the metal twine that held the pieces together. Then Cooper got attacked by fire ants, of which he’s deathly allergic, and had to get IV antihistamines. At a dog training event, Lucas snuck through the one hole in the paddock next door and got kicked by a pissed off horse. Oh, and most recently, Newt picked up a sewing needle, and as we tried to grab it from her… it disappeared. So we rushed her to the EV for x-rays (no needle, but it still hasn’t been found??). I could go on, but this is making my palms sweat… Here’s hoping Shiva is on the road to recovery!


  10. Uggg! SO GLAD TO HEAR EVERYONE IS OK! I too have had one of those middle of the night ER visits, sadly, TWO of them. One with Oly where Adam was with me which was a little easier, and then one with Stella all by myself. No matter how you do it, it sucks.

    Hang in there guys and glad to hear you’re all ok!


  11. So sorry to hear about Shiva and hope she heals quickly. I am trying to remember if I’ve ever been to ER with any of the animals and I don’t think so. I hope you are able to heal soon as well.

    24 Paws crossed for you and Shiva. 🙂


  12. A trip to the ER is never fun – for pets or people. I have totally been there though, bawling in front of the staff. The absolute worst was the time the hubs was traveling for work and was unreachable as he was on a looong flight to England. Ugh. The worst.

    I guess we should have done/should do the kennel training…

    Hope Shiva is doing well!


  13. Good list Kristine – especially the kennel training. My Leah HATES the crate, but sometimes they HAVE to use it, so before her ACL surgery I took the time to get her re-used to one. But I would have been screwed if it had been an emergency.

    Toby and Medi have been using the crate all along, and I plan to get any future dogs that enter our household used to the idea from day one. Even if your dog isn’t on kennel rest, you never know if you might have to evacuate your home – and what do you do with your four-leggers if they can’t handle being crated?


  14. Trips to the emergency vet are never fun but sometimes needed and we’ve had our fair share between Boomer and Dottie with torn nails, breathing problems, etc. What I’ve found helps is to try to be as calm as I can (even though it’s hard) so the pups don’t pick up on it and then try to keep them calm. If they need to be rested I try to make sure they have a lot of attention so they don’t get bored… and destructive.

    I hope everything is OK!


  15. Yep made the trip when Thunder bloated. I kept telling hubby to drive faster but he kept telling me that no good could come from wrecking the car along the way. 🙂 I was actually pretty proud of myself. Once they told us what was wrong, I did not bawl. I would have thought I would have. Or maybe the price of the surgery put me in shock and I couldn’t. 🙂

    The crate rest is tough. Thunder was on 6 weeks rest. The first 4 were to only be walked on lead. He was pretty sick at first but once he started to feel better…oy.

    I would add to your list cone training. When we had Storm spayed she absolutely refused to wear it and howled and howled. She never needed a cone before. 🙂


Comments are closed.