Imagining your pet being anything other than happy and healthy is difficult, but accidents, injuries, and illnesses can occur. Pet emergencies cannot be avoided, but you can prevent their frequency or severity. To keep your four-legged friend healthy and safe, learn about six effective ways to prevent common pet emergencies from our Kauai Veterinary Clinic team.

#1: Schedule regular veterinary exams

Knowing your pet’s health status is critical for preventing a sudden illness or disease onset. Regular wellness exams cover vaccinations, parasite prevention, blood tests, and other important pet health assessments. Parasite preventives and vaccinations protect your pet from virulent diseases, which might result in an emergency medical situation. Always keep your pet up to date on all of their vaccinations and parasite preventives. 

Through regular wellness exams, your Kauai Veterinary Clinic veterinarian can monitor your pet’s health and catch any potential issues early in the disease process. Routine exams can detect underlying health conditions and provide preventive care to help your pet avoid a later emergency. 

#2: Keep your dog on a leash and bring your cat inside

Many accidents and injuries are related to pets being allowed to roam outdoors without supervision. A pet who is left outdoors is at risk for being hit by a vehicle, attacked by a domestic or wild animal, or abused by a person. They’re also exposed to the elements, posing dehydration and heatstroke risks. Keep your cat inside and provide them with behavioral enrichment, such as interactive toys, to keep them happy. Always use a leash when walking your dog, unless they are in a safe area and respond appropriately to voice cues. Better yet, train and socialize your pet so you can ensure they will not attempt to run away or behave in a way that can end in an emergency situation.

#3: Store all household chemicals or use pet-friendly products

Many emergencies occur after a pet has ingested a toxin. Household cleaners and chemicals can pose a risk to your furry pal, so learn which products are poisonous to pets. Whenever possible, choose pet-friendly chemicals for your home and garden. Keep your pet away from the following toxic chemicals and products:

  • Household cleaners, including ammonia, bleach, chlorine, formaldehyde, and phenol
  • Vehicle fluids such as antifreeze
  • Rat and mouse bait
  • Citronella candles and sprays
  • Insecticides
  • Fertilizers and herbicides
  • Blood meal and cacao mulch
  • Oil- or water-based paints and paint thinners

#4: Pet-proof your home and yard

Remove potential pet hazards from your home. Mitigating risk includes securing toxic substances, keeping small objects out of reach, and covering electrical cords with cord protectors to prevent chewing. Store all medications in a medicine cabinet or on a high shelf, and never administer human medications without our team’s guidance. 

Secure your backyard with a fence to prevent your pet from wandering off or encountering wildlife or toxic plants. Supervise outdoor activities and provide your pet with adequate shelter and water, especially during extreme weather conditions. Create a safe environment where your pet can be comfortable without facing an injury risk.

#5: Avoid giving your pet people food 

Food toxicity commonly affects cats and dogs. Of course, you want to give your furry pal a little snack from the fridge occasionally, but the results can be deadly if you are unaware of which foods are toxic to pets. Rather than giving your four-legged friend people food, you can give them a pet treat, take a walk, or play a fun interactive game with them. However, never give your pet the following foods:

  • Fruit containing pits
  • Chocolate
  • Products containing the sugar substitute xylitol 
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Moldy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana edibles
  • Onions and garlic
  • Grapes and raisins

#6: Be prepared for a pet emergency

Have a pet first aid kit on hand and familiarize yourself with basic pet first aid techniques. The American Red Cross offers pet first aid classes online and in person. Additionally, know the location and contact information for nearby emergency veterinary clinics. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, remain calm and seek immediate veterinary care.

By knowing pet health emergency signs, you can enhance your furry pal’s outcome if they are injured or ill. Always keep the Pet Poison Helpline and our Kauai Veterinary Clinic contact information on your phone for immediate access during a pet emergency. Pet emergency signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Profuse bleeding
  • Trauma such as being hit by a car or falling from a height
  • Eye injury
  • Recurring seizures
  • Wild animal bite or attack
  • Lameness
  • Bloated or swollen abdomen
  • Straining to urinate
  • High heart rate
  • Inability to stand after sitting or lying down
  • Toxin ingestion
  • Collapse
  • Unconsciousness

By staying proactive about your furry pal’s health and safety, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of a pet emergency. However, no matter how well you prepare, your pet can experience an emergency. If they do, promptly call our Kauai Veterinary Clinic team.