In the midst of an emergency, people often struggle to figure out where to go and whom to call. Googling and calling around…this be challenging and time consuming when emotions are high, and those extra minutes and seconds can mean the difference between life and death. It is much easier to have an emergency plan in place ahead of time, so that you can be organized and efficient.

There are 3 parts of an emergency plan:

  1. Emergency Contacts & Instructions
  2. Caretakers Plan
  3. Emergency Financial Plan

2.1 Make an Emergency Plan

Having an emergency plan is extremely important. When something serious happens, trying to figure out where to go, whom to call, trying to find the phone numbers, etc. You’ll be surprised how difficult it can be. It’s much easier if you have thought of all of this ahead of time and have a plan in place so that you can be organized and efficient.

Googling and calling around trying to find out where to go. All of that is going to take precious time and sometimes those minutes and seconds mean the difference between life and death.

3 parts of an emergency plan:

1. Emergency contacts & instructions

Important phone numbers. Here are all of the important phone numbers that I would recommend that you have on speed dial.

  • Closest 24h emergency hospitals
  • Animal Poison Control 1(888)426-4435
  • Your family vet
  • Animal control
  • Wildlife in distress

A lot of people get bit by other dogs that are at large. These are often repeat occurrences in a neighbourhood and they do need to be reported to prevent future occurrences.

Instructions. Keep a list of your pet’s:

  • Medications
  • Medical history
  • Allergies

If you’re traveling somewhere have an emergency plan for wherever you’re going a lot of places that you travel to destinations don’t have 24-hour emergency support.

2. Caretaker agreement
  • Emergency plan and financial agreement
  • Owner informed of activities pet will be participating in
  • Health problems and activity restrictions

A very large percentage of emergency patients are brought in not by their owners but by the people who are taking care of them. I have seen so many situations where there was no plan in place or financial agreement and the pet sitter didn’t know what to do. If you are a pet sitter or a dog walker, have a written agreement with clients in case they can’t be reached. I’ve seen a lot of situations where pet owners tried to blame the pet sitter for problems.

There are inherent risks associated with any activities. Broken bones, sprains, eye injuries, etc. These can happen even under the best care. Just like kids going to school, if you’re a dog walker or a pet sitter, screen your clients and ask them if there are any medical problems that limit the pets activities to clearly outline what kinds of activities the pet can participate in.

3. Emergency financial plan
  • Find out the cost of emergency vet care in your area (ask about: broken bones, surgery, major trauma)
  • Medical insurance for pets is highly recommended

Understanding what the cost of emergency care is in your area and making sure that you are prepared for that cost. I highly recommend having good medical insurance for your pet. I see owners making life or death decisions based on cost and I don’t want any of you to have to go through that.

I wish for all of you is to have that peace of mind knowing that if something serious happens, you know where to go and when you get there you can say, “do whatever you need to do, he’s got good medical insurance.”

Section 2.1 Homework

This section is going to have some homework assignments. We want you to make your own emergency plan:

  • Make an emergency plan
  • Make a caretaker agreement
  • Find out the cost of emergency vet care in your area (ask about: broken bones, surgery, major trauma)


What is the cost of a broken leg requiring surgery in your area?
What is the cost of a major emergency like hbc (hit by car) or septic shock requiring several days of hospitalization and surgery?
Related content:

Here are the 3 best pieces of advice from the emergency vet that could save your pet’s life:


If you wait too long, it could be too late. This is especially true for concerns such as laboured breathing, pale gums and weakness. You know your pet best, so if you are worried or concerned, “when in doubt, check it out!”


Learn as much as possible about dangers that face your pet, such as household poisons, seemingly harmless objects (such as toys, clothing, garbage and rocks), other animals, and vehicles. Pets are like toddlers and they need a responsible adult/babysitter to protect them from danger. Puppies and kittens need to start their vaccines at 8 WEEKS (and they need boosters too!) to protect them from deadly diseases.


Have a plan in place, know your nearest emergency clinic, have the ASPCA phone number on speed dial. Know basic first aid training and CPR. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, BE FINANCIALLY PREPARED. The cost of medical treatment in an emergency, and the owners’ ability to pay for it, is probably the most important factor that determines whether a pet will receive the medical care it needs. The best way to protect yourself is to have good medical insurance for your pet. Do your research.

**REMEMBER**: WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, with the best interest of the patient as everyone’s first priority. Let your vet do what he/she does best, and don’t try to grab the steering wheel and obstruct your vet from doing his/her job. We are all in the same car, we are all headed to the same place, but only one of us has the driver’s license (meaning, only the vet has the medical training and background to “drive the car”).

Please remember to spay/ neuter your pet, and to donate to your local animal shelter- they really need your help!


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