There’s nothing scarier than watching your dog jump down from catching a frisbee and hurting his leg, or getting home from work to find your cat with a bloody paw. Like your kids, you often find your pets getting into trouble and hurting themselves in one way or another. Sometimes accidents happen or play gets too rough, but by knowing more about which injuries are most common amongst your pets you should feel comfortable recognizing when something is serious. This way, next time your dog has a hurt paw, you’ll be better able to identify what type of injury it is and what kind of treatment is appropriate. Stay informed and get to know these 7 most common pet injuries.
1. Eye trauma
This type of injury can range from mild corneal scratches and abrasions, to worse corneal ulcers, and most severe perforations and globe rupture. Cats more often obtain scratches, while dogs are more prone to tears. If you see your pet blinking or tearing excessively, or they won’t allow you to get close to their eye, you should take them to a veterinarian to get their eye checked. Preventing eye injuries in pets can be difficult, especially in dogs because they lead with their eyes. Cats on the other hand, know to lean back and keep their face out of the way.
2. Foreign body ingestion
It’s no secret that your dog will try to eat anything — rocks, grass, chicken bones, shoes, underwear, even sand. You name it and it’s probably been ingested by a dog and removed by a veterinarian. It’s possible that if your dog eats something that it’ll pass and come out the other end, but many things will not. It’s important to make sure your dog’s toys are large enough that they cannot be swallowed. If your pet is vomiting repeatedly or doesn’t want to eat for a day, you should take them to be evaluated by the vet.
Not all foreign things eaten by your pet can be removed; ingesting foreign objects like grass, candy, human medication, household chemicals, or even common foods like onions, grapes, and chewing gum, may result in poisoning or even death. This is why it’s extremely important to keep these items in a safe place away from your pet. If you believe your pet has eaten something poisonous, call the poison control hotline. Don’t take measures such as forcing your pet to vomit unless instructed to do so.
4. A Broken Nail
This isn’t as trivial in pets as it is in people. A broken or torn nail can occur if your pet’s nails become too long. This type of injury can be accompanied by excessive bleeding. Often times if your pet rips a nail, the veterinarian will need to trim the nail beyond the crack and this requires sedation. If you are cutting your pet’s nails and cut too far back causing bleeding, use styptic powder, baking soda, or even flour to help the blood clot. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after five minutes, you should take your pet to the vet.
Dehydration and heat stroke are common in pets that are elderly, overweight, as well as short-faced breeds. Be mindful of exercising your pet in hot weather. If your dog starts panting a lot, get him or her to a cool place quickly. Never leave your pets inside a car, especially on hot days. According to the ASPCA, on an 85°F day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102°F with the windows opened a few inches. Other signs of dehydration in your dog are sunken eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, depression, and dry mouth. Your pets should always have access to shade and water when exercising.
6. Animal bites
Bites from other animals top the list of the most common pet injuries. They are most commonly from fights between cats and dogs, or other animals like a raccoon or a fox. Bites can also come from snakes or insects. Skin lacerations, bleeding wounds, bites, or bruises are typically good indicators that a bite has occurred. Cuts and wounds need to be covered with something clean and dry. If there is bleeding, pressure should be applied firmly, but gently. A wound also may require stitches, bandaging, and/or antibiotics if there is an infection. It may be harder to spot wounds or bites in smaller cats and dogs, but there may be broken bones, crushed ribs, or organ damage. It’s also important to note that a hurt animal may be more aggressive. Take precautions when transporting them to the vet.
7. Cruciate Ligament Tears
The cruciate ligament provides stability to the knee. If your dog is holding his leg up or putting weight on just his toes, it’s best to get his leg checked out immediately. This type of injury is usually painful and a dog will normally not wait around for it to heal, like they do with other injuries. He or she will require treatment as soon as possible. Dogs with this injury should avoid rapid changes of movement, such as jumping up and down from heights. Joint injures like a ligament tear can also result in arthritis down the line.
If your dog experiences any of these injuries and you are unsure of what to do, take him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Monitoring your pet’s every day health will help injury prevention and treatment. One way to encourage healthy joints, relieve pain from arthritis, and inflammation from any type of injury, is to add a daily joint supplement to your pet’s diet. We hope you never have to experience a pet with an injury, but if you do, we hope you feel more prepared about how to understand and handle one of these common pet injuries.
Find out more about Flexpet’s all natural joint supplements here.