Numerous pets experience veterinary emergencies every year, and while not every incident can be prevented, you can take steps to decrease your pet’s risk. Our Island Animal Hospital team wants to help by offering information on avoiding some common pet emergencies.
Preventing gastrointestinal upset in pets
Vomiting and diarrhea are common—often frustrating—problems for pets and their owners, but you can help decrease your pet’s risk of gastrointestinal (GI) upset in the following ways:
Keep your garbage in sealed containers — Dumpster diving is a common reason why pets experience GI upset. Keep your garbage in sealed containers to ensure your pet doesn’t ingest something they shouldn’t.
Keep your pet’s vaccines up to date — Keeping your pet’s vaccines up to date can protect them from several dangerous diseases that can cause GI issues.
Schedule regular wellness examinations — Conditions such as liver or kidney disease can result in vomiting or diarrhea, and detecting these issues in the early stages can help prevent complications. Schedule regular wellness examinations, so our veterinary team can ensure your pet remains as healthy as possible.
Provide year-round parasite control — Intestinal parasites can cause GI upset, but year-round parasite control can ensure your pet remains parasite free.
Don’t feed your pet people food — Table scraps are unhealthy for pets. Rich foods can cause GI problems and may lead to pancreatitis, a life-threatening condition.
Preventing toxin ingestion in pets
Pets explore their world mouth-first, and investigating pets may ingest a toxic substance. Steps to prevent your pet from ingesting a toxin include:
Secure your medications — Ensure your prescription and over-the-counter medications are in a secure location that your pet can’t access. In addition, take your medication in another room with the door closed to ensure your pet doesn’t steal a pill that you drop.
Read the label — Several common human foods, such as xylitol, chocolate, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts, are toxic to pets. Read the label on any food you give your pet to ensure the ingredients are pet-friendly.
Keep your counters free — Don’t store food on your counter to prevent counter surfing, which may lead to toxin ingestion.
Plant only pet-safe plants — Numerous plants, including azaleas, dieffenbachias, lilies, and tulips, are toxic to pets. Ensure you keep only pet-safe plants in and around your home.
Preventing heatstroke in pets
Your pet’s main method of cooling themselves is through panting, making them especially susceptible to heatstroke, which can lead to life-threatening complications. Steps to prevent your pet from dangerously overheating include:
Never leave your pet in the car — Temperatures can skyrocket inside a parked vehicle, and leaving the window cracked or parking in the shade does not mitigate the risk. Regardless of the weather, never leave your pet inside an unattended car.
Keep your pet hydrated — Dehydration puts pets at higher risk for heatstroke. Ensure your pet always has access to fresh, clean water, and take a water bowl and water on outings so your pet can drink.
Take breaks — On outings, take frequent breaks in the shade to allow your pet to cool down.
Minimize exercise when it’s hot — On hot, humid days, minimize your pet’s exercise, and walk them in the early morning and evening to avoid the hottest times of the day.
Preventing physical injury in pets
No one wants their pet to experience a broken bone or laceration. Steps to prevent physical injury to your pet include:
Keep your dog leashed — On outings, keep your dog leashed at all times to protect them from being hit by a car.
Keep your cat inside — Cats who live solely indoors are safe from busy streets and injury from predators.
Restrain your pet — When traveling by vehicle, restrain your pet to help decrease their injury risk should you be involved in an accident. Keep small pets in a carrier placed on the car floor, and secure larger pets with a well-fitted harness.
Monitor your pet — When meeting new pets, monitor your pet closely to ensure they don’t fight with their new friend.
Preventing foreign object ingestion in pets
Pets commonly chew on inappropriate objects that they find interesting, and this habit can lead to foreign body ingestion that may require surgical removal. Steps to prevent your pet from ingesting a foreign body include:
Provide pet-safe toys — Provide your pet with appropriate toys that have no small pieces that may come loose and be ingested.
Secure your garbage — Pets like to dumpster dive, and plastic wrap, bones, corn cobs, and other objects in the trash may cause a GI obstruction.
Tidy clutter — If your pet is prone to chewing on any object, ensure your home is clutter free to prevent temptation.
Following these suggestions should help reduce your risk of visiting an emergency veterinary hospital. If you would like to schedule a wellness examination for your pet, or your pet needs urgent care, contact Island Animal Hospital.