Pets may encourage their human counterparts to go on a walk or help calm their nerves after a rough day, but new data proves that dogs and cats might not always be good for clients' health. In fact, if they're not careful, their pets could be downright dangerous.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 86,629 Americans visit the emergency room each year due to falls caused by pets or their supplies—like toys or feeding dishes. That figure accounts for roughly 1 percent of the 8 million visits each year for falls of all kinds.
Dog-related incidents accounted for 88 percent of the falls, while cats caused 12 percent. About 62 percent of the dog-related falls occurred at home, compared to 86 percent of the cat-related tumbles.
Women were more likely to be injured then men—suffering 68 percent of the dog-related falls and 72 percent of the cat-related falls. Children 14 and younger recorded the most injuries, but a higher rate of injuries was found in those 75 and older. About a third of the falls broke bones, a quarter caused bruises, a fifth resulted in sprains, and a little more than 10 percent caused cuts.
CDC epidemiologist Judy Stevens says that to avoid falls, owners should know how a pet behaves during risky activities like walks. Stevens also recommends obedience training for dogs, and says that rooms with a lot of human and pet traffic should be well-lit.