Expert Guide: Handling Pet Emergencies with Confidence

Comprehensive Guide to Pet Emergency Preparedness: Learn How to Handle Pet Emergencies with Confidence - Pet Sitters Columbus, Ohio

Did you know that over 70% of pet owners will experience a pet emergency at some point in their furry friend’s life?

From sudden illnesses to unexpected injuries, emergencies can strike when we least expect them. With the right knowledge and preparation, however, you can be ready to spring into action and save the day for your beloved pet.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unravel the mysteries of pet emergencies, equipping you with the skills and confidence to handle any situation that comes your way.

General Emergency Protocol

Step 1: Calmly Assess the Situation

In the face of a pet emergency, maintaining composure is essential. Take a moment to collect yourself and carefully assess your pet’s condition. Look for any visible injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or signs of trauma, and observe for distress signals like labored breathing or unusual behavior. Your calm demeanor and assessment will not only help you make informed decisions but also provide much-needed reassurance to your pet during this stressful time.

Step 2: Provide Basic First Aid/Seek Vet Care

During a pet emergency, administering immediate first aid can make a significant difference in your pet’s outcome. You should have a pet first-aid kit handy (see list of essential items below). If possible, apply pressure to stop bleeding, stabilize broken limbs, or address any immediate threats to your pet’s safety. Handle your pet with care and reassure them throughout the process. If unsure of what to do and/or the emergency is severe, seek guidance from your veterinarian or an emergency clinic ASAP. Prepare your pet for transport to the clinic if necessary, ensuring their comfort and security during the journey. Stay vigilant for any changes in your pet’s condition.

Step 3: Communicate with All Relevant Parties

Effective communication is vital in ensuring your pet receives the help it needs during an emergency. If you’ve contacted the veterinarian, clearly describe the situation, follow their instructions, and prepare to transport your pet to the clinic promptly. If you’re a pet sitter in Columbus providing care for someone else’s pet, reach out to the pet parent to keep them informed. Additionally, if you’re part of a pet sitting team, inform your colleagues about the situation. Throughout the process, stay vigilant (as outlined in the above step), monitoring the pet’s symptoms closely to provide clear and frequent updates on the pet’s condition. Clear and timely communication ensures that everyone involved is informed and can offer the necessary support during this critical time.

Step 4: Reflect

Once the situation has settled, take a moment to reflect on the incident, pinpointing the lessons learned and evaluating your approach. Consider seeking further education or training to enhance your skills and preparedness for future emergencies, which will better equip you to handle a wide range of pet emergencies effectively.

For convenience, check out the information below to familiarize yourself with how to respond to common pet emergencies. Below that, you can also explore the additional resources provided, giving you direct access to formal pet first-aid courses. With proactive measures and ongoing attention to your pet’s well-being, you can maximize the chances of a positive outcome in any emergency situation.

Pet Emergency Protocol for Pet Sitters in Columbus, Ohio
Download this sheet for future reference!

Common Injuries and How to Respond

Pets, like humans, can be prone to injuries from various sources. Knowing how to recognize and respond to common pet injuries can make a significant difference in your furry friend’s recovery. Here are some prevalent pet injuries and candid steps to take in each situation:

Cuts and Abrasions

  • Recognition: Cuts and abrasions are visible wounds on your pet’s skin, often accompanied by bleeding.
  • Response: Clean the wound gently with lukewarm water and apply pressure using a clean cloth or bandage to stop bleeding. If the cut is deep or extensive, seek veterinary attention promptly to assess the need for stitches or further treatment.

Fractures and Broken Bones

  • Recognition: Fractures or broken bones may cause limping, swelling, or visible deformities in the affected area.
  • Response: Immobilize the injured limb by using a splint or a makeshift bandage to prevent further damage. Avoid moving your pet unnecessarily and seek immediate veterinary care for proper diagnosis and treatment.


  • Recognition: Heatstroke occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
  • Response: Move your pet to a cool, shaded area and offer them water to drink. Use cool water or damp towels to lower their body temperature gradually. Seek veterinary assistance promptly as heatstroke can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Ingestion of Toxic Substances

  • Recognition: Signs of poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or lethargy after ingesting toxic substances.
  • Response: If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline immediately for guidance. Provide information about the substance ingested and follow their instructions carefully.


  • Recognition: Burns can result from exposure to heat, chemicals, or electrical sources and may appear as red, blistered skin or charred areas.
  • Response: Flush the burned area with cool water and cover it with a clean, damp cloth. Avoid applying ointments or creams and seek veterinary care to assess the extent of the injury and provide appropriate treatment.

Eye Injuries

  • Recognition: Symptoms of eye injuries include redness, swelling, discharge, or squinting.
  • Response: Rinse your pet’s eye gently with saline solution or clean water to remove any foreign objects. Avoid touching or rubbing the eye and seek veterinary attention promptly to prevent further damage.

Lacerations from Animal Attacks

  • Recognition: Lacerations from animal attacks may result in puncture wounds, torn skin, or deep cuts.
  • Response: Clean the wound thoroughly with antiseptic solution and apply pressure to control bleeding. Seek veterinary care to assess the risk of infection and determine the need for stitches or antibiotics.

Your Best Investment: Pet First Aid


To advance your knowledge of pet first aid and safety, enroll in courses offered by reputable organizations, utilize online resources, and invest in pet first-aid guidebooks authored by professionals. Here are some of the most popular first-aid courses currently:

You can also attend local workshops or seminars, and even stay updated on the latest advancements in pet first aid through newsletters, forums, and continuing education programs.

By actively engaging in learning opportunities and staying informed, you’ll be better equipped to protect those furry companions and provide them with the care they need in emergencies.


You may also consider having a pet first-aid kit handy at all times. You can either purchase one or make your own! A well-stocked first-aid kit can be a lifesaver in emergencies. Here’s what we recommend should be in it:

  1. Gauze pads and rolls
  2. Adhesive tape
  3. Antiseptic wipes or solution
  4. Tweezers
  5. Scissors
  6. Styptic powder or pencil (to stop bleeding from minor cuts)
  7. Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting, but only under the guidance of a veterinarian)
  8. Digital thermometer
  9. Instant cold pack
  10. Emergency contact information for your veterinarian and local animal emergency clinic

Store your pet first-aid kit in a designated, easily accessible location in your home. This is beneficial for not only you, but also your Columbus pet sitter should they ever have to use it on services with your pets. It provides peace of mind and allows for prompt intervention, potentially preventing a minor issue from escalating into a more serious situation. Always remember to periodically check and replenish the contents of your kit to ensure its effectiveness in times of need.

Handle Pet Emergencies with Ease

In conclusion, being prepared for pet emergencies is crucial for every pet owner and sitter. Arm yourself with Internet knowledge, create a pet first-aid kit, and enroll in courses to ensure you can confidently handle any situation that arises, providing the best care for your furry friends.

Take action today to safeguard your pet’s well-being and peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.



Hello! Thanks for visiting our blog. I'm the proud owner of Columbus's own Hands N Paws, started in 2018 to bring joy to pet parents. See you in the next post!

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The terms of this agreement are as follows: “Client” refers to you, “Company” refers to us (Hands N Paws), “Team Member” refers to the person from our team providing services for  your pets, and “Team Members” refers to the Hands N Paws team as a whole.


It is important to inform Hands N Paws of any specific emergency instructions or medical conditions related to Client’s pets. This will help ensure the safety and well-being of pets during emergencies.

In case any of Client’s pets need emergency veterinary treatment, Team Member will contact the designated vet on file and/or a local emergency vet. Team Member will also communicate with Client and/or emergency contacts regarding the situation.

Client gives permission to Team Member to transport the pet(s) to a veterinary clinic and/or make treatment decisions (except for euthanasia), especially if it’s a life-threatening emergency and/or Client cannot be immediately reached. Client is responsible for any veterinary fees incurred. 

Client releases Hands N Paws from any liability for any damage or harm to pets or property that occurs beyond the reasonable control of Team Member during the provision of emergency veterinary care. 


To comply with local laws and ordinances, it is required that all pets have the appropriate vaccinations and licenses before Company begins services. For further information on these requirements, please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website at Client should also check with his/her veterinarian to determine which vaccinations/shots the pet requires. 

For safety reasons, we encourage all dogs and cats to wear an ID tag or collar that includes name and contact number while Team Member is working with them.


To ensure access to Client’s home during scheduled services, Hands N Paws requires that Client purchases a lockbox and places a spare house key(s) inside of it for Team Member to use. Client can purchase the lockbox on Hands N Paws’ website by clicking Buy Your Lockbox. Once it arrives, the lockbox should be programmed with a unique four-digit code. The lockbox should then be placed on the main door handle or in another secure location, and the lockbox code and location information must be entered in the Client’s account on Precise Petcare.

Alternatively, Client may elect to provide a code for entry via a garage door or electronic keypad and if so, must enter all necessary codes in Precise Petcare. Client is strongly encouraged to purchase a lockbox, however, to ensure that Team Member can access pets at all times during scheduled services, especially in situations where the power goes out or batteries die and Team Member need alternative access to the home.


All Team Members have access to Clients phone number, but are instructed to only use them when necessary or for urgent purposes during services with pets. Hands N Paws prioritizes the privacy and confidentiality of phone numbers as personal information.

All correspondence between Client and Team Member should be centered around Client’s pets and the services provided. If Client has inquiries regarding scheduling, cancellations, app-related matters, or any company-related concerns, these are to be directed to the Company via the office number: (614) 636-6644. The Company’s client support team is available during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. The Company will make contact with Client outside of office hours should there be any urgent need for communication.


In order to provide the best possible service to pets, it is crucial that Client provides Team Member with detailed and up-to-date information regarding their pets. This information should be accurate, complete, and accessible through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Team Members can only work on the basis of the information that is available to them through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Likewise, Client acknowledges that the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information they provide directly impacts the quality of the services delivered. Client, therefore, takes full responsibility for any consequences that arise from inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated account information.


Arrival times for services occur within a two-hour period. Team Members are unable to guarantee exact arrival times due to various factors that may affect scheduling and travel times. To accommodate these considerations, we use time blocks rather than specific times. Client will see this in the dropdown menu when Client selects Arrival Time in the request service form within their Client account.

While Team Members understands that Client may have preferences regarding arrival times, it is essential to acknowledge that Team Members cannot guarantee meeting those specific requests. Flexibility is needed in order for Team Members to accommodate for needs of other Clients on schedule.


For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions on service offerings, please visit our website at


The following service surcharges may apply under certain conditions:

Last Minute Service: A fee of $15 per service will be charged for bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Holiday Service: A fee of $20 per service will be applied for services provided on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.

Additional Pets: Base pricing for services includes up to 2 pets. For each additional pet beyond the initial two, an additional fee of $7 per pet will be added.

*Additional fees may apply, as discussed/negotiated between Company and Client. 


Hands N Paws strives to accommodate as many service requests as possible. However, the approval of service requests is subject to the availability of Team Members. Upon submitting a service request, Client will receive a confirmation or declination email/notification indicating whether Hands N Paws can fulfill the requested work. Sometimes, this may take up to 48 hours or more.

If a service request is declined, we encourage Client to explore alternative options or contact our dedicated client support team for further assistance. Company is here to help and find the best solution for all pet care needs.


To ensure a personalized experience for new Clients, Hands N Paws requires a virtual or in-person Meet N Greet before getting started with pet services. These meetings allow us to connect with and onboard Clients and discuss their pet care needs.

All virtual Meet N Greets are free of charge. All in-person Meet N Greets come at a $50 cost. Meet N Greets are no more than 30 minutes in length.

New Clients can book their Meet N Greet on our website at Existing Clients can book their Meet N Greet in their designated client account in Precise Petcare.


Payment Method: All services with Hands N Paws are to be paid for using a credit or debit card. All major cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover are acceptable. Client can securely add and store card information within their Client account. Adding and keeping a valid credit card on file is a requirement for requesting any services with Hands N Paws.

Ongoing Services: For services scheduled as ongoing, Client will be automatically charged every Friday for the previous 7 days’ worth of completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

Non-Ongoing Services: For services not scheduled as ongoing, a 50% down-payment will be charged on the day the services are accepted and confirmed. An invoice will be sent immediately. Client has until the date of the last confirmed service to manually pay the remaining balance on the invoice. If manual payment is not made, the remaining total will be automatically charged to the card on file on the date of the last service day on that invoice.

Declined Payments: In the event of a declined auto-charge, Client will be promptly notified. After the first declined charge, Client has a 24-hour grace period to rectify the issue. In the case of a second declined attempt, a late fee of 10% of the invoice total (minimum $10) will be added. Client must be attentive to emails regarding overdue notices.

Payment Terms: Hands N Paws will be paid the agreed-upon amount as discussed, with no exceptions, unless our Cancellation Policy (outlined below) applies and the Client receives a refund in the form of an Account Credit(s). In emergency circumstances, a refund may be issued as transferable credit(s) back to the Client’s card.

Additional Fees: Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or determine the need to, purchase items for the pet(s) while under the care of Hands N Paws. These items may include pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet, or emergency expenses for the general care of the pet(s). Hands N Paws and/or Team Member will consult with Client before making any purchases, and will retain and share any receipts as proof of purchase.


When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should Client be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to his/her account and applied to the very next invoice with us.


Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. If it is determined that home conditions are unsanitary and/or unsafe at any point in the working relationship, Company will make it known to Client. Action will be taken accordingly thereafter.

Additionally, Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of Team Members or pets. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pets, Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. All attempts will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home during the duration of services booked. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by any third-parties entering Client’s home at that time.


This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon service confirmation, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations.