Holiday Pet Emergencies: How to Handle a Trip to the ER

4. Be prepared. Take your knitting, a good book or a crossword puzzle. And, of course, take along a supply of your pet’s food and any medications she takes regularly, in case she needs to be admitted to the hospital. Fighting holiday traffic as you shuttle things back and forth makes things tougher than they need to be.

5. Leave the kids at home if you can. Always do your best toensure that you have appropriate childcare before embarking on a veterinary health care experience of indeterminate duration and outcome — especially during the holidays. Sometimes you have no choice, but leaving the kids at home will allow you to make decisions about your pet's care with fewer distractions.

6. Ask about wait time. I know it sounds uncomfortable, but asking if the waiting room is packed to the rafters isn’t unreasonable at this time of year. Finding out if there’s another nearby ER facility might be helpful, too. And this is where having asked about your vet’s second and third next-favorite ERs could come in handy.

7. Speak up about finances. Veterinarians are hardwired to help animals, yet it's a common reality that people can’t always pay for their animals’ care. The holiday season can sometimes make that problem worse. To aid with such anxiety, lots of ERs offer solutions in the form of vet care-dedicated credit cards and other payment options.

8. Think ahead.
Know for sure you won’t be able to comfortably afford an emergency vet bill? Take the time to enroll your pets in a pet health insurance policy before they become ill or injured. You can apply online, so why wait?

9. Maintain an attitude of gratitude. I know it’s easier said than done, but just the fact of sitting in an animal ER can have a way of putting things in perspective. After all, most humans across the globe don’t have access to the level of care your pets will enjoyeven if you do have to wait a bit for it.

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