A bit of background information about myself. I am the proud slave of 2 cats. Gypsy the beautiful brown Burmese & Endora (Dora) the recycled tortoiseshell stray who found her way home with me. Whatever was I thinking?? 

Recent visitors to the clinic would have noticed my recent catastrophe.  I am sporting a ripper of a black eye, courtesy of Dora. I was just heading to bed, turned off the light & she decided I needed to meet the tiles with my face. A trip to the emergency department of the local hospital, 14 hours later & scans to make sure nothing was broken, I finally got home to bed Thanks, Dora, just how I needed to spend my night. 

It got me thinking about how easy it is to trip over our pets & how it can impact our lives. I was very lucky this time, it was just a few bruises & my ego has been dented. Nothing like a bit of light hearted teasing to make you smile.   

Many thousands of people end up at the emergency department thanks to their pets. Some injuries are easy to fix but others leave people with long term disability. Broken bones take a long time to heal, especially as we get older. Many an elderly person has ended up in supported living after an injury at home or out shopping.  

Dogs are more likely to cause injury, which I found a little surprising. Women are more likely to be injured by a family pet.  The injury rates are much higher in the elderly & young children. But everyone is at risk. Fractures, contusions and abrasions are the most common injuries. But 66% of falls are associated with cats (no surprise there) & dogs are more likely to pull or push you over. One huge risk with dogs is those terrible retractable leads. The daughter of a dear friend had the tip of her finger amputated by one of those leads!  Needless to say, I am not a fan.  

So, what have I learnt from my experience? Leaving lights on as I move through the house allows me to see the offending felines & avoid tripping over them. Keeping traffic areas free of pet toys will also help, though Dora loves to spread them all over the house. I have found the odd toy hidden in my bed & under my pillow.  

What can we do to make our homes safer & less likely to injure ourselves?  Personally, I am installing a night light to make it easier to traverse the house during the wee hours.  

Here is a list of suggestions to avoid tripping over your pet at home. 

  1. Be aware of your pet’s location relative to yours, especially when in dark hallways or at night. Consider a glow-in-the-dark pet collar or tag that recharges in daylight. Make sure your cat has a bell on the collar (ensure it is a breakaway collar that will come off if your cat gets itself in an awkward situation)
  2. A basket to keep all the pet toys. If you have a designated receptacle it is easier to throw them in there periodically throughout the day.
  3. Place food and water bowls out of the way of traffic. If you have a dog that slobbers when they drink, be careful of water on the floor. You can purchase non slip mats to put under the bowl. 
  4. If your pet is underfoot or excitable during gatherings, consider crating them during those times. Pop the cat into the laundry whilst you greet your guests.
  5. If your dog rushes towards the front door with you, stop and consider letting them go first. Though preference is to put them outside. 
  6. All dogs should know the commands “sit” and “stay” and should be taught not to jump on you or your guests.
  7. Teach your dog good leash manners including not pulling, not lunging after other dogs or people, and not cutting in front of you.

So, please take care out there & try not to meet the tiles as I did.  

Regards…… Till next month 

Nurse Karen & Puckers (AKA Houdini)