Most Common Major Accidental Dog Injuries and How To Avoid Them
Life happens, and unfortunately that means that accidents happen, too. While there’s no way to avoid the following injuries – they are accidental, after all – there are things you can do to reduce your dog’s risk of experiencing them. Here are some of the most common major accidental injuries we dogs experience, and what you can do to avoid them.
Hit by a Car
There’s no way to know exactly how many dogs are hit by a car every year, but it’s safe to say the number is in the thousands, if not higher. Dogs that survive may have one or more major trauma injuries, including broken or fractured bones, internal bleeding, and damage to the soft tissues of the body. Head and spine injuries are also common.
Avoid it: The best way to keep your dog from being struck by a car is to keep them away from traffic in the street and the driveway. A fenced yard or a simple leash is all that’s required. And a well-trained dog who responds to “come” or “heel” is less likely to dart into the road and get struck, so build these good habits, or reinforce them, through regular dog training sessions.
Injured in a Car Accident
We here at Snoozer love travelling with our pets, whether by air, car, bike, or even golf cart. Unfortunately, dogs can become injured when they’re the passenger in a car accident. When the collision occurs, the force on the dog (and the other passengers in the car) is great, even at relatively low speeds. The dog becomes a projectile, which is not only dangerous for the dog, but for the other passengers as well.
Avoid it: Before you hit the road with your pooch, make sure they’re safely restrained, either with a harness or carrier attached to the seat belt system or in a crate that’s secure. Never ride with your dog in the front seat, either on your lap or sitting shotgun, as they can be injured or killed if the airbags go off.
Fall from a Height
Dogs aren’t known to be as nimble as cats, and injuries from falls are quite common. Tumbling down the stairs or falling off a deck can lead to sprains, broken bones, head injuries, soft tissue damage, and more. Even a simple jump off the sofa or bed can injure a very small dog.
Avoid it: If your dog is unable to use the stairs due to injury or age, use a baby gate to block off the staircase. Make sure any raised deck or porch is secured so they can’t slip or fall through the railing. For small dogs, a small ramp or stairs can help access sofas and beds safely.
Cruciate Ligament Injury
Like the ACL in humans, the cranial cruciate ligament, or CCL, in dogs is a ligament that stabilizes the knee. A tear or rupture to the CCL is one of the most common injuries in dogs and it can lead to pain and lameness. A dog with a torn or ruptured CCL will likely avoid putting weight on the leg when standing and will limp when walking. Rest and medicine may be enough to fix this injury, but surgery is often the only effective long-term solution to an injured CCL.
Avoid it: Any dog can experience an injury to the CCL, but it’s more common in larger dogs like Labs, golden retrievers, and German Shepherd Dogs, and especially in dogs who are obese and don’t get a lot of exercise. For that reason, the best thing you can do is keep your dog at a good weight through diet and plenty of exercise.
One more note. If your dog suddenly starts limping or avoiding placing weight on a leg, it could be a sign or an injury to the CCL, or it could be a sign of something else. A sprain, a bone fracture, or even bone cancer can all cause a limp, so don’t ignore this seemingly harmless sign in your dog.
Always See the Vet
The injuries and accidents above are all serious enough to warrant a visit to the vet, perhaps even the emergency vet. Remember that dogs are programmed not to show too much pain, so your dog may be in pain even if it doesn’t seem like it to you. When it comes to the health of your best friend, it’s always better to be safe not sorry.
‘Til next time, Beckley
Beckley was a racing greyhound until he retired at 2 1/2 years old and was adopted off the track. He's super fast when he wants to be, but he actually prefers to take it easy, napping on the most comfortable bed he can find!