Cat-astrophe? Dog Disaster? Pet-Related Falls Injure Thousands

Older people, too, may have a higher risk of suffering such accidents. "As far as humans, the most at-risk population is the shuffling elderly, the same group who trips on throw rugs," Becker said. "They lack balance, peripheral vision is poor, and they don't expect to encounter pets in weird places. And if they start to trip, they can't catch themselves."

Emergency room doctors said fall-related injuries can also occur outside the home, specifically while owners are walking their dogs.

"Dogs surge to threats and things to chase," Vanderbilt's Slovis said. "If you want to guarantee injury, be sure to walk more than one dog at the same time, especially if they don't have a history of being together long-term or are in a strange or new location."

O'Brien of American College of Emergency Physicians added that the time of year can also make a difference. "When you add snow and ice of the winter months, walking the dog -- especially if it's a large animal -- can be very hazardous," he said. "Sometimes the animal will suddenly pull you while your footing is not stable. I've seen multiple fractures from that scenario."

Protecting Yourself From Your Pet

In order to cut risks, Becker the veterinarian suggested that pet owners take steps to ensure that they don't become injury statistics.

"Be extra careful at 'treat time' when there's a delighted frenzy of fur at your feet," he said, adding that pets should also have access to a secure place to sleep so they can avoid snoozing underfoot.

And, he added, the health benefits of dog and cat ownership still far outweigh the potential risks. These benefits, according to the CDC, include lower blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels and lower stress levels -- as well as increased opportunities for exercise and socialization.

"Whether you're protecting yourself from some minor zoonotic disease like ringworm or a major one like rabies, preventing dog bites or minimizing the risk of falling over your pet, my mantra is always the same: Get rid of the risk, keep the pet," he said. "Because the health benefits of pet ownership are so strong, and the risks both minimal and manageable, you take the steps necessary to reduce risk."

Grayson, for one, said he has adjusted his behaviors at home in Houston to avoid a repeat injury to his ankle or any other body part.

"I'm definitely more mindful of my surroundings when I'm home," he said, adding that other pet lovers may be wise to follow suit.

"If my story can help just one person not trip over their dog," he joked, "then I feel like I've done my job."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7183302.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...