Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pet related injuries - I feel your pain

Does your cat abide by the famous "three foot rule?" I don't know one that does! You know, when you're working at the kitchen counter, you step away and who is sitting right behind your feet but your faithful kitty. Ever walk through the house with a basketful of laundry and hear the familiar "screech/meow!" as you step on them, trip and maybe fall or twist your back. (Usually not harming the cat; their only mighty miffed by you not watching where you're going.) A few months ago I arrived at a clients' home to dog sit and knelt down (as I commonly do with all animals) to greet my charge, a lab mix. She was feeling especially enthusiastic that day and as I came down, she hopped up and banged me right underneath my eye. Ice pack!

In our day to day activities at home , our pets are typically at our side and it's natural for them to be curious about what we're doing and to be close. One of my big rules at our house is that in the kitchen, the dogs are not allowed to be close to my work area. Before starting a task, I command them to "place" and they both go to their respective areas of the kitchen, where they can still see what's going on but at a safe distance. Boiling water, sharp knives, and my pacing back and forth from stove to fridge to sink are hazardous and even potientially deadly. This includes working near our outdoor grill. I don't want any of us spending time getting fixed up after an avoidable injury.

Surely you've got your own stories of accidents with your pets. Statistics from the CDC state that thouands of people each year visit emergncy rooms each year as a result of sustaining injuries involving their pets - or pet toys. Having three pets - two large breed dogs and a cat - I'm in the habit of keeping their toys out of the way, especially near stairways to avoid falling accidents. And speaking of stairways, our dogs are trained to stay put (or given the ok to proceed first) as we are making our way up or down steps. Our cat, Silver is another story and being mindful of where he is ensures our safety. Silver has another bad habit: hopping up behind me as I use a kitchen chair as a step-stool to reach the upper cabinets in our kitchen. He's done this as I've climbed a ladder to paint, too, perching on the lower rungs as I work. I always need to be aware of where he is when I'm doing activities like that. With the dogs, my injuries have always been minor and non-intentional - usually a jammed finger or 'dog-head-meets-my-nose' incident.

Although it's impossible to avoid accidents completely, but you can keep your family and friends safer by being mindful of your pets' habits and implementing a few of your own rules in house.

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