Pets have a habit of finding mischief, often in the middle of the night or during a weekend or holiday. To avoid running to your local veterinary emergency hospital for every pet mishap, we are here to teach you about the most common pet emergencies, and their prevention. Following are issues requiring urgent care that our Homestead Animal Hospital team sees most frequently in pets.
How to prevent injuries in pets
Pets’ injuries can range from a minor cut or laceration to severe blunt force trauma, such as being struck by a car. We know you can figure out what caused the blood drops, but identifying the extent of traumatic internal injuries is impossible without diagnostic equipment. An injured pet should always be evaluated by our veterinarian to assess injury severity, and to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.
Prevent injuries in your pet by following these tips:
- Leash up — Use a leash to keep your pet close by your side on walks. Avoid retractable leashes, as the locking mechanism can break, and your pet could dart into traffic or run after another dog.
- Avoid unsettling situations — Pets who are anxious or scared may react in a fearfully aggressive manner, triggering a fight. Monitor your pet closely for signs of stress at places such as dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants, and crowded events, and remove them from the situation if they become uncomfortable.
- Spay or neuter your pet — Sterilized pets do not have the hormonal drive to find a mate, which reduces their urge to roam and fight.
- Brush up on obedience — If your pet happens to bolt through an open door or slip out of their collar, ensure they obey when they are called. Whether they come running back at the sound of a crinkling treat bag, or to their name, all that matters is that they are safe.
- Confine as needed — Keep your pet confined to a small room or their crate—and out of trouble—when they are home alone. Pets who have separation anxiety can harm themselves as they chew, dig, or scratch at doors, walls, and flooring to find their owner.
How to prevent vomiting and diarrhea in pets
Pets frequently require urgent care for vomiting and diarrhea. Some pets develop gastrointestinal (GI) issues when they eat an off-limits item like a sock, or because their owners fed them an inappropriate “treat,” such as steak fat. If your pet cannot hold down water, or their diarrhea becomes bloody, they must be seen immediately.
Help prevent vomiting and diarrhea in your pet by:
- Sticking to a strict diet — Although you may want to spoil your pet with table food, scraps can seriously upset their stomach. Foods high in fat can lead to pancreatitis, while bones can cause a GI obstruction. Stick to your pet’s normal diet to help prevent stomach issues.
- Removing inedible objects — If your pet is a known sock connoisseur, hide items that might prove too tempting. Puppies and kittens are particularly prone to eating inedible objects that require surgical removal, so ensure all potential “chew toys” are put away.
How to prevent toxin ingestion in pets
Toxin ingestion can cause a variety of illness signs, ranging from GI issues to neurological problems. You would likely be surprised at the many toxins lurking around your house, including foods, cleaning products, lawn and garden items, and home improvement and craft supplies. Prevent your pet from accessing toxins by keeping these items out of reach, using child safety locks on cabinets that your pet can open, locking cabinets that store cleaning products and other chemicals, ensuring your pet cannot easily remove the trash can lid, and tidying up your kitchen after cooking. You may need to keep your pet out of your kitchen when you’re prepping meals, because they may immediately snatch up dropped foods, like onions, garlic, grapes, and xylitol-containing products, that are toxic to pets.
How to prevent heatstroke in pets
Your pet can quickly overheat and develop heatstroke when temperatures and humidity levels are high. Excessive panting, heavy drooling, lethargy, and stumbling are some of the first heatstroke signs, and you should always monitor your pet closely outdoors.
Prevent heatstroke in your pet by:
- Running errands alone — Your car can rapidly turn into an oven, despite being parked in the shade with the windows cracked. Leave your pet in your air-conditioned home when you run errands.
- Avoiding the hottest part of the day — Stick to exercising during the coolest times of day (i.e., early mornings and evenings), and avoid the typically higher mid-afternoon temperatures and humidity.
- Knowing when to come inside — Some pets don’t know when to call it quits, especially when they’re in the middle of a particularly fun game of fetch. Watch your pet for overheating signs, and bring them indoors if they won’t slow down on their own.
If your pet is displaying unusual behavior or does not seem to be feeling well, don’t wait. Contact our Homestead Animal Hospital team to determine if your furry pal is suffering from the heat and requires urgent care.
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