You take your pet for regular wellness checks, feed them a top-quality diet, and ensure they get adequate exercise every day. You are an excellent pet owner. Still, your pet could experience an emergency. Dealing with an emergency situation is upsetting and scary. To keep your four-legged friend safe and sound, read our Woodinville Veterinary Hospital and Mobile Services team’s tips to prevent your pet from experiencing six common emergencies.
#1: Protect your pet from gastrointestinal upset
Gastrointestinal (GI) issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, are a common reason owners seek veterinary care for their pet. Follow these tips to help prevent your pet from developing GI upset:
- Keep garbage in sealed containers — Many pets like to investigate the garbage to find forbidden treats. Veterinary professionals commonly refer to this condition as garbage gut. Keep your trash in sealed containers to prevent your pet from dumpster diving.
- Don’t feed table scraps — Any sudden changes in your pet’s diet can lead to GI upset, and high-fat foods can trigger a serious condition—pancreatitis. To prevent GI upset, feed your pet a diet formulated especially for them.
- Transition your pet’s food gradually — To prevent GI upset when changing your pet’s diet, gradually transition the new food over a 7- to 10-day period.
- Keep your home clutter-free — Some pets have a tendency to ingest foreign objects, such as socks, string, and other random items. Nonfood-item ingestion can lead to a foreign body obstruction that could cause your pet to experience a life-threatening situation. Keep your home clutter-free to ensure your pet doesn’t have access to an object they may swallow.
#2: Protect your pet from a vehicular accident
When pets are involved in vehicular accidents, the results can be devastating. Follow these tips to protect your pet from getting hit by a car:
- Keep your cat indoors — Cats who only stay indoors live much longer than cats allowed outdoors, likely because they can’t run into traffic.
- Keep your dog on a leash — During outings, keep your dog on a leash to ensure they stay by your side. Your dog may be extremely well behaved, but if a squirrel or another dog distracts them, they may not heed your warning to stay.
- Teach your dog curb etiquette — To prevent your dog from walking into traffic, teach them to stop and wait for your command at curbs.
#3: Protect your pet from toxicity
Several common human foods and household items are toxic to pets. Follow these precautions to keep your pet from ingesting a toxic substance:
- Keep your kitchen counters clean — Counter-surfing pets can easily ingest a toxic substance. Keep your kitchen counters clean, and don’t store food products on your countertop.
- Read labels — Before giving your pet a new food or treat, read the label to ensure the product doesn’t contain a potentially harmful ingredient.
- Stow your guests’ belongings — Many pets love to investigate guests’ coat pockets and purses, but your four-legged friend can ingest a toxin if your guest is carrying medication or sugar-free gum or mints that contain xylitol.
- Safeguard medications — Ensure your pet can’t access your medications, and take your medication away from your pet so they can’t quickly gobble down a dropped pill.
- Choose pet-safe plants — When bringing plants into your home, ensure the plant is not toxic to your pet.
#4: Protect your pet from fractures
Ensuring your pet avoids a traffic accident is one way to prevent them from experiencing fractures. To prevent your pet from experiencing fractures under other circumstances, follow these tips:
- Restrain your pet appropriately — Properly restrain your pet during vehicle travel. Place your cat or small dog in a pet carrier on the vehicle floor, preferably behind the passenger seat. Confine a larger dog with a well-fitted seat belt harness.
- Secure your windows — To prevent your pet from falling out a home window ensure your windows and screens are closed and secured.
- Prevent jumping — Don’t let your pet jump from a high spot. This is especially important for dogs, such as dachshunds, to help prevent intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
#5: Protect your pet from heatstroke
Pets can’t sweat, and they must rely on less efficient means, such as panting, to cool themselves, making them prone to heatstroke. This condition is a serious veterinary emergency that can have potentially life-threatening consequences. To protect your pet from heatstroke, follow these tips:
- Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle — Temperatures inside a parked vehicle can reach dangerous levels quickly, and parking in the shade or leaving a window cracked open doesn’t prevent the temperatures from rising. Never leave your unattended pet in a vehicle.
- Avoid strenuous exercise — On hot, humid days, avoid strenuous activity, and walk your pet during the day’s cooler times.
- Take water — When on outings, take bottled water and a portable water bowl, so you can offer your pet a drink, and prevent them from experiencing dehydration, which can lead to heatstroke.
- Know the signs — Heatstroke signs include heavy panting, excessive drooling, bright red mucous membranes, incoordination, and diarrhea.
#6: Protect your pet from fights with other animals
Pet fights can lead to serious injuries such as puncture wounds and infected bites. Keeping your cat indoors and your dog on a leash can help prevent these occurrences. To help your pet avoid an altercation with another animal, follow these tips:
- Spay or neuter your pet — Spayed or neutered pets are less likely to roam and less likely to fight over territory.
- Read your pet’s body language — Learn to read your pet’s body language so you can separate them from a situation if they demonstrate they are feeling aggressive or threatened.
You can’t prevent every pet emergency, but by following these tips, you can help protect your pet from the most common adverse situations. If your pet experiences an emergency, contact our Woodinville Veterinary Hospital and Mobile Services team, so we can ensure your four-legged friend receives the care they need.
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