American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Column: Vet-approved tips for keeping your pet out of the ER

Picture this: It's late in the evening when you realize that something is very wrong with your dog.

Your normal veterinary clinic is closed, but you're not sure if the problem can wait until tomorrow. You rush your pet to the closest emergency room and hope for the best.

Visiting the veterinary emergency room is a pet parent's worst nightmare, but every day across America, pets become ill, suffer injuries, ingest poison or worse — requiring immediate veterinary care.

Even the most diligent pet parents can't protect their furry family members all the time, but there are a few things you can do to help ensure you never find yourself in this scenario.