WASHINGTON — Pets are loyal companions and beloved family members. Learn how to keep them safe this summer with these tips from a veterinarian.

“The Pet Show’s” Dr. Katy Nelson said the first thing to do to keep pets safe is to be prepared. To do this, create a pet emergency kit to take care of minor issues, such as broken toenails, scratches, scrapes.

Nelson said the kit should include emetics to induce vomiting if your pet has ingested a toxin and something that can take care of a minor, upset stomach. Check out the American Medical Association to see what to include.

And with all those visits to the veterinarian, make sure to keep your pet’s medical record handy. This is especially critical in case of an emergency or when traveling.

“Many people show up at an emergency hospital with a folder full of receipts,” Nelson told WTOP. “This does not help the emergency veterinarian and is not a copy of the record.”

You can ask the vet to email your pet’s record.

You can even take a basic, pet CPR class — something that can be a minor investment in time and money but could save the life of your pet, said Nelson.

How do you know when you should go to the doctor? Here are some events Nelson said are emergencies:

  • Prolonged vomiting, unproductive vomiting, or vomiting/diarrhea with blood
  • Difficulty breathing or prolonged coughing
  • Known or suspected trauma
  • Significant signs of pain, obvious limping or signs of paralysis
  • Difficulty urinating, lack of urine production
  • Not eating or drinking for more than 24 hours
  • Seizure, weakness, collapse, tremors, disorientation
  • Swelling of any area of the body — face, joints, abdomen, etc.
  • Possible ingestion of foreign objects or toxin exposure

Lastly, Nelson said never leave your pet in the car this summer. “If your pet can’t come with you, leave them at home where they’re safe and protected,” she said.

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