Stay Fall Free with the Pets You Love

| Dr. Eva Norman

Did you know your pet can increase your risk of falls? According to the CDC, approximately 86,000 fall injuries are caused by pets each year with 88 percent of those falls being caused by dogs.1 Even though owning a pet can increase your risk of falls, there are many health benefits to pet ownership. Studies have shown that pets can help people manage loneliness and depression, provide opportunities to get outside and exercise, and reduce an individual’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels.2 Owning and caring for a pet is a huge responsibility requiring time and patience. Proper training and a well-thought-out set-up can help you and your pet stay healthy. Here are 5 tips to stay fall free with the pets you love:

  1. Provide Proper Training for Your Pets: If your pets tend to pull on their leash and jump on you or your guests, consider signing up your dog for obedience or training classes. Training your pets to not jump on others and proper leash behavior will help improve the safety for you and your guests.
  2. Ask For Help with Exercise: Providing your pets the appropriate amount of exercise is the best way to keep you and your pets happy and healthy. Tiring your pet out with exercise will help tame your pet’s behavior at home. If you are unable take your pets for walks or your pet needs more exercise than you can provide, consider asking for help with this part of your pet’s care. Are you considering getting a pet? Take in account how much exercise each breed will require and how it matches your abilities and lifestyle.
  3. Keep Walkways Clear: Try to keep your walkways clear of toys, and water and food bowls. Minimizing clutter on the floors of your home will reduce potential tripping hazards and risk of falling. Consider keeping water and food bowls off to the side and keeping all your pet’s toys contained in a bin. 
  4. Keep Track of Your Pet: Before you go up the stairs or head through a doorway, make sure you know where your pet is at prior to walking. Try using a collar with a bell or light so you can hear or see when your pet is coming near you. If it is nighttime, consider implementing nightlights to reduce tripping and fall over your pet.
  5. Do NOT Step Over Your Pet: If you get into a situation where you need to step over your pet, ALWAYS wait for your pet to move. You do not need to risk hurting yourself or your pet!

Following the tips above will help improve you and your pet’s safety and reduce your risk of falling in the future. Are you worried about falling or have fallen in the past? Visit our website to learn more about our in-home physical therapy services! Contact us today for a comprehensive evaluation where our physical therapists will design an effective program to lower your risk of falling!

References

1Dogs, cats send 86,000 Americans flying annually – CNN.com. edition.cnn.com. https://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/27/fall.dogs.cats/#:~:text=Most%20data%20on%20human%2Dpet

2CDC. How to Stay Healthy Around Pets | Healthy Pets, Healthy People | CDC. www.cdc.gov. Published September 16, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/keeping-pets-and-people-healthy/how.html#:~:text=There%20are%20many%20health%20benefits

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