Pets are curious beings, always exploring the world around them, which can lead to some entertaining situations, and—unfortunately—some dangerous ones, too. We cannot foresee every pet emergency, but we can take precautions to lower our pet’s risk of an unexpected veterinary hospital visit. Our Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital team shares five ways to prevent common pet emergencies.
#1: Prevent your pet from overheating
Pets cool themselves by panting, which evaporates moisture from the lungs’ moist lining and from the tongue. However, on days with high heat and humidity, this cooling process becomes more difficult, increasing your pet’s overheating risk. An overheated pet may pant heavily, drool excessively, breathe rapidly, appear weak or lethargic, have red gums, and collapse. Heatstroke in pets can be deadly, so keep them cool by following these heat-busting tips:
- Keep your pet hydrated
- Limit outside time on extremely hot, humid days
- Exercise your pet during the day’s cooler times
- Provide your pet with shade
- Never leave your pet in a parked car
#2: Prevent your pet from ingesting toxins
Our pets often like to explore their world with their mouths, which can be dangerous if they ingest a toxic substance. By being aware of potential pet toxins, you can help prevent your pet from ingesting these deadly substances:
- Toxic plants — Many indoor and outdoor plants contain harmful toxins that make pets sick and can cause life-threatening organ damage. Dangerous plants include lilies, azalea, cyclamen, daffodil, dieffenbachia, oleander, sago palm, hyacinth, tulips, and chrysanthemums. Keep toxic plants out of your pet’s reach, or choose a pet-friendly plant. Consult this poisonous plant list to determine if a plant is unsafe for your pet.
- Medications — Keep medications securely stored and out of your pet’s reach to avoid a potentially deadly situation. In addition, never give your pet human medication unless your veterinarian approves. Common pet-toxic medications include antidepressants, ADHD medications, heart medications, pain relievers, and cold medicines.
- Food — Avoid sharing human foods with your pet, as many can be toxic, including chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, and avocados.
#3: Prevent your pet from getting lost
Losing a pet is every pet owner’s worst nightmare. To prevent your pet from wandering away, ensure your yard’s fence is secure and tall enough to prevent your pet from jumping over. In addition, always leash your pet in public places.
Proper identification will help you and your pet reunite if you become separated. An easy, permanent pet identification solution is to have your veterinarian microchip your pet. In addition, your pet should wear visible identification—a collar and tags that have your current contact information.
#4: Prevent your pet from being hit by a car
If your pet is hit by a car, they can suffer internal injuries, bleeding, and broken bones, and you both will experience severe emotional trauma. Keep in mind that many of your pet’s traumatic injuries may be permanent. Always monitor your pet by supervising them in your yard, safely restraining them while on walks, and spaying or neutering them to help reduce their desire to roam.
#5: Prevent snakes and insects from biting your pet
Snake and insect bites are more than a nuisance—they can cause your pet real problems. Protect your pet from the following insects:
- Fleas — These incredible jumpers can easily leap on an unsuspecting pet and multiply rapidly. Fleas can cause the following pet health conditions:
- Anemia — Fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood, causing your pet significant blood loss.
- Flea allergy dermatitis — Flea saliva can cause an allergic reaction.
- Tapeworms — Some fleas contain tapeworm larvae, which can be transmitted to your pet if ingested.
- Ticks — Often pinhead size before they bite, ticks can remain undetected until they swell with their host’s blood. Similar to fleas, ticks can multiply quickly, and a female tick can lay hundreds to thousands of eggs at once. Ticks can cause your pet many health conditions, including:
- Tick paralysis
- Skin irritation
- Skin infection
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
To minimize your pet’s flea and tick bite risk, ensure they are on a regular parasite prevention regimen.
- Snakes — To help your pet avoid a snake bite, keep them on a leash in areas that snakes inhabit. If a snake bites your pet, immediately contact your veterinarian, and take them to an emergency care facility to determine whether treatment is necessary.
When your pet experiences a health emergency you can feel frightened and stressed, but by taking precautions and knowing how to proceed, you can reduce your pet’s illness and injury risk. If your pet does experience a health emergency, contact our Terra Linda Veterinary Hospital team.