Some pets are more prone to finding trouble and ending up in a scary situation that requires urgent veterinary care. However, while certain pets have a nose for mischief, you can prevent many emergency situations from befalling your furry pal. Read on to discover how to prevent seven common pet emergencies.
#1: Heatstroke in pets
North Carolina gets steamy in the summertime, and when temperature and humidity levels climb, pets are at risk for heatstroke. Relatively mild conditions can be dangerous for pets, especially if they are left in a parked car or in a spot with no ventilation, shade, or water.
To avoid heatstroke in your pet, follow these tips:
- Always have fresh water available.
- Keep walks short and in the shade.
- Exercise your pet early in the morning, before temperature and humidity levels climb.
- Know the heatstroke signs, which include heavy panting, excessive drooling, stumbling, and disorientation.
#2: Fighting among pets
Although you can’t always prevent pets from fighting, you can take steps to minimize tension and avoid putting your pet in a bad situation. By learning to read your pet’s body language, you can intervene before things escalate to a fight. A dog with a stiff body posture, erect tail, and hard stare may be on the verge of attack, as may be a cat with a rapidly flicking tail and flattened ears.
To prevent your pet from fighting, follow these tips:
- Keep your cat indoors, to prevent fighting over territory and resources.
- Spay or neuter your pet.
- Always walk your dog on a leash.
- Avoid crowded dog parks or other areas with large numbers of unleashed dogs.
- Monitor your pets at home for uncomfortable situations, such as resource guarding, and separate them as needed.
#3: Poisoning in pets
Pet toxins can be found everywhere, in and around your home. From your garden to your kitchen, multiple hazards lurk that can poison your pet. A list of the most common pet toxins is compiled by the ASPCA each year, so ensure your furry pal keeps their paws off these items, especially chocolate, medications, lilies, and rodenticides.
The best way to prevent your pet from being poisoned is to survey your home from your pet’s viewpoint. See if medication is left on countertops where your cat can knock over the bottle and eat the contents. Ensure your trash can is secure, and your dog cannot eat discarded grapes, bread dough, fruit pits, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, and xylitol. If your pet is notorious for eating inedible objects, lock up cleaning chemicals, TV remotes, purses, and home improvement and craft supplies. Looking around your home to see what is accessible to your pet can lead you toward dangerous areas that need to be blocked.
#4: Foreign material ingestion by pets
While certain items can cause pet toxicity when ingested, others can cause a gastrointestinal blockage, which is equally an emergency, and often requires surgery to remove the offending object. If you have small children, try to keep their toys behind closed doors, to prevent your pet from chewing off pieces. Also, stick to safe chew toys for your four-legged friend. Many chew toys, such as plush animals and bones, can be dangerous, if your dog destroys them and ingests pieces. By minimizing the opportunity for your pet to chew on inappropriate items, you also reduce the possibility of an obstruction.
#5: Reproductive problems in pets
A female pet struggling to give birth to a stuck puppy or kitten is a life-threatening emergency for both the mother and the baby. In addition, intact female pets can develop uterine infections that can be deadly without timely treatment. Plus, intact pets are prone to wander off and look for a mate, which can result in being struck by a car, or getting into a fight with another pet. Spaying or neutering your pet at the appropriate age will prevent reproductive-related problems.
#6: Fractures in pets
Most pet fractures are the result of being hit by a vehicle, jumping from excessive heights, or experiencing other trauma. To protect your pet from a broken bone:
- Keep your windows closed and screens secure, to prevent your pet from falling.
- Walk your dog on a leash, or keep them in a fenced-in yard.
- Confine your pet while driving in a specifically designed pet car seat, or with a seat belt harness.
- Do not let your small-breed pet jump from your arms or tall furniture.
#7: Bloat in pets
Bloat and gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening condition caused by bloating and rotation of the stomach. While you cannot always prevent this condition, you can minimize the possibility by:
- Feeding your pet several small meals each day, instead of one large meal
- Preventing your pet from overeating or drinking large amounts at once
- Refraining from exercise after meals
- Having your dog’s stomach surgically tacked during their spay or neuter surgery
If your pet experiences an emergency situation at any time, day or night, contact our Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care team for help.