Pets bring joy and unconditional love to everyday life, but are they safe for high-risk patients? Every year, emergency care physicians treat thousands of patients for fall-related injuries caused by pets. Seniors are at a high risk of falls because of impaired balance, coordination, reaction time, and vision. Additionally, having osteoporosis can turn a simple fall into a long-term disability. Yet, for many people, the emotional health benefits of companion animals outweigh the risks. Here at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, our emergency care physicians encourage seniors in Las Vegas to take preventive steps to improve safety around pets.
Seeing a Pet Trainer
Dogs may inadvertently cause falls during their daily walks. Consider taking your dog to a professional trainer to teach him or her to learn to walk beside you, rather than in front of you. Dogs should also be taught not to pull at the leash and not to jump up on people to greet them.
Walking Your Dog
Some dogs may resist obedience training. For some people who are at a high risk of fractures, it may be wise to hire a dog walker. If you do walk your dog yourself, be aware of potential hazards that may lead to a fall, such as dizziness and heat-related illnesses. Certain medications can cause dizziness and seniors are at a particularly high risk of heat-related illnesses, which can cause fainting.
Minimizing Pet-Related Clutter
Inside the home, pets can indirectly contribute to falls. A cat or dog may scatter toys around the home or nudge the food bowl out of its designated area. These objects are tripping hazards. You can reduce the risk of tripping and falling by keeping the home well-lit and minimizing the number of toys available to your pets.
Adding Collar Accessories
In many cases, people have required emergency care after tripping over their pets. Consider attaching a small bell to your pet’s collar. The motion-activated sound will let you know if your furry friend is nearby.
If you or a loved one sustains serious injuries from a fall, please call 911 right away for emergency care . General questions about the medical services available at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center may be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300. Our hospital staff in Las Vegas is committed to empowering patients with the resources and information they need to live life well.