A Vet's 5 Tips for Coping With a Pet Emergency

Keep moving. Light physical activity can also help manage your anxiety. Do some stretches — stretching increases blood flow to muscles and helps them to relax. It also sends blood to the brain, which can help improve mood and reduce stress. If your pet is in surgery or otherwise being cared for and there’s nothing else you can do, take a walk. The exercise and fresh air will help to soothe your fears. Taking a walk also increases your brain's production of endorphins — feel-good hormones — which can help to reduce signs of anxiety.

Give yourself permission to cry. Don’t hold in your tears. It’s perfectly normal to cry when you’re anxious or frightened. Those tears are your body’s pressure relief valve. Shedding them may also release stress hormones from the body.

One last thought: It won’t help if you’re experiencing a pet emergency right now, but in the future, take a pet first-aid class. If you do have an emergency with your pet, you’ll feel more confident about responding to it and then getting him the professional help he needs. Repeat the class annually to reinforce what you know and learn new information.

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