Is it possible to prevent injuries?
Can you prevent injuries? The short answer is – sometimes. Accidents happen all the time, but sometimes a little forethought can minimize the damage that would otherwise be possible. Not all dog injuries have to happen.
Why does your dog get injured?
Who knows, much of the time? People get injured too. It can be a chance happening or maybe something that, if precautions were taken, could have been prevented.
Usually, people have the benefit of applying reasoning to a situation. They know from past experience and teaching that if you do A, then B. For example, if you wear a helmet, you won’t hurt your head, at least not as badly.
Dogs don’t usually have that kind of teaching and experience. They run out in the street without a thought as to what the consequences might be. Getting hit by a car doesn’t enter their minds when they’re chasing that squirrel. That’s why they depend on us to help keep them safe.
How can you keep them safe?
You want to be a good pet parent. You give your pup healthy food, enough exercise, mental stimulation, vet care, a safe home…………all the basics, as much as you can. What else can you do to keep them safe and prevent injuries?
Check surroundings frequently
It seems simple, but it can go a long way in keeping your pup safe. Take a look at the yard to make sure the fence is intact. Check for any changes; new stuff that’s not supposed to be there or old stuff that used to be there but isn’t any more. People get distracted and accidents happen quickly. If you’ve inspected your dog’s surrounds recently, you have a good chance at catching something that could cause injury.
Since dogs aren’t very good at self preservation, supervision is super important. If you know what your dog is doing, where they are, and what other dogs, other animals or people are near, you can anticipate a potential problem and prevent injuries that could result. Keep your dog on a leash if their voice recall isn’t 100%. If you’re alert, you can keep your pup away from many dangerous situations.
Protective gear as needed
Protective gear has a purpose in many situations.
- Boots. If your dog is walking on gravel or hot pavement, boots help protect their feet from burns and wear. Boots also protect from chemicals, like ice melt during the winter.
- Flotation Vest. Going to the lake or the beach means that your dog could end up in water that is too deep for them to handle safely. A good flotation vest can prevent drowning in the case of falling in the water.
- Reflective Gear. Being out in the dark can present a visibility issue. Even if you wear reflectives or have a flashlight, your dog might not be easy to see and could get hit by a car or lost in the dark. Reflective vests, collars and other special gear are available to keep your pup visible and safe.
- Sport Specific Gear. Some sports have special physical requirements that might require special gear for protection. If you are familiar with your sport, you can prepare your dog to participate while preventing injury.
Help them be prepared physically
If you and your dog are going to participate in a sport or other physical activity. you can prevent injuries by being prepared. Like human athletes, dogs need to warm up their muscles so they don’t get injured. You can help your dog stretch their muscles and warm up the muscles with gradually increasing activity. You can also learn massage techniques to help keep muscles healthy.
It’s also important to make sure they are conditioned for the task you’re asking of them. Most dogs will do what you ask of them without a though of self preservation. You (hopefully) wouldn’t put yourself in a marathon without spending months building up your strength and endurance. Your dog might try, but they won’t do well if you put them in a physically demanding activity without making sure they’re physically up to the task.
Being prepared for the weather
Dogs are sensitive to the weather much like we are, so as their guardian, you need to make sure they are prepared for the conditions.
If the weather is hot, dogs can easily overheat. They don’t cool off by sweating as we do, so you need to take precautions to keep them cool. To prevent heat stroke, make sure
- Plenty of fresh, cool water is available
- They can rest in a cool area
- You provide cooling devices like mats or cool coats
- Activities are planned around the hottest times of the day.
Cold weather can also take a toll. Some dogs tolerate it pretty well, like Newfoundlands or St. Bernards with their thick fur. But others have trouble.
If your dog is shivering or curling up, they are cold. Inadequate protection can lead to frost bite and even death. You can provide shelter and clothing or limit outdoor activities as needed to keep your dog warm and safe.
Can dog injuries be prevented?
As a dog owner, you can take as many precautions as possible to decrease the chance of injury. Even if you do all the right things, accidents do happen. However, you can decrease the chance of injury if you make the extra effort.
Bottom line, you got your dog for a reason. You can have lots of fun with them for many years if you take some steps to keep them healthy and safe.
Read 5 Things Your Dog Would Tell You for more about keeping your dog happy and safe.
Pets enrich our lives in so many ways. Read Why do you have pets? for more.