Newsflash: Pets Pose Tripping Hazard

 |  Mar 29th 2009  |   7 Contributions


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The CDC published the results of a study this week, in which it found that more than 86,000 people are injured each year in falls after tripping over their cats and dogs:

ATLANTA, March 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 86,000 people are injured each year in falls caused by their cats and dogs.

That's an average annual injury rate of 29.7 per 100,000 people, the agency said in a release. Nearly 88 percent of the injuries were associated with dogs and women were twice as likely to be injured than men.

The findings are based on data from hospital emergency departments.

Nearly 62 percent of dog-related injuries occurred inside or immediately outside the home. Thirty-one percent of those cases involved falling or tripping over a dog. Most falls involving cats occurred at home, with 66 percent due to the person falling or tripping over the cat.

The CDC (NASDAQ:HINA) said there needs to be increased public awareness of pets and pet items as fall hazards and of situations that can lead to fall injuries. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations emphasizing obedience training for dogs should also be reinforced, the agency said.

We have a cat named Tripper, and guess how he got his name? When first tamed (more or less), he loved being around people so much he would walk in direct contact with our legs and ankles, get tangled up in our feet and frequently trip us. Fortunately, we were able to train him (by saying NO forcefully and using a spray bottle) not to walk beneath our feet. It can be done.

And pets pose a particular hazard to older folks whose vision is compromised. My mother-in-law is legally blind, and often cannot see her black cat asleep on the white carpet -- largely because of the poor lighting in her house. If you (or your parents) have compromised vision and pets, consider updating your lighting and adding a bell or two to Fluffy's collar. Falls are serious problems for seniors, and can mean the end of living independently... which often means giving up their beloved pets. If you take the steps to decrease the odds of a pet-caused fall today, both you and your pet will have a happier future together.

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