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Any pet parent who has had a puppy knows how curiosity and an endless amount of energy can lead to unexpected trouble. All that jumping, running, chewing, and sniffing can cause potentially serious accidents.
Nationwide Pet Insurance looked at its database of claims of current policyholders to see which puppy incidents (or non-illness-related accidents) topped the list every year. Read on to get prepared to protect your pup from the unexpected.
- Soft Tissue Trauma
Soft tissue trauma in dogs refers to minor injuries to muscles or joints, and it topped the list as the most common reason dogs limp. Since limping can also indicate other health concerns, it’s important to know whether your puppy has soft tissue trauma, torn ligaments, or broken bones, which are more serious conditions to treat.
- Foreign Body Ingestion
Like toddlers, puppies have a tendency to chew anything they can get into their mouths, which can become a serious and potentially life-threatening problem if the objects are swallowed and cause obstructions in the stomach or within the small intestine. Most dogs with ingested foreign bodies can’t keep much down, including water, and will frequently vomit. This is very serious and requires urgent care.
- Laceration or Bite Wound
Your puppy may suffer a bite wound while playing with another dog or while fighting. This can result in significant injuries, including those to blood vessels, the jugular vein, the carotid artery, nerves, eyes, mouth, and the chest wall, which could collapse a lung are all very serious injuries. In addition, a dog’s mouth is full of bacteria, which can quickly infect a wound and spread to underlying tissue. Wounds that appear minor on the surface can potentially be life-threatening.
Active puppies are constantly running, jumping, and putting a great deal of stress on their muscles and joints. Sometimes, this activity leads to injury. Yelping when walking or limping can indicate your puppy has a sprain. Your veterinarian will want to rule out torn ligaments and tendons. Puppies who don’t show signs of improvement under the care of your veterinarian may need surgery.
- Insect Bites and Stings
Like us, puppies can be bitten by bugs and spiders. The problem is that insects can transmit life-threatening bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Fleas, ticks, mites, bees, hornets, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, and even ants can bite and irritate your dog. See your veterinarian for treatment.
- Torn Nail
All that romping around can lead to a painful injury if your puppy happens to step the wrong way at the wrong time. Torn nails can lead to bleeding, which won’t stop until treated, especially if the nail is torn at the quick. If the tear is bad enough, your veterinarian may need to remove the nail. Temporary medications and bandaging will help your puppy on the road to recovery.
- Drug Toxicity or Overdose
Unfortunately, most accidental poisonings happen when drugs are left within reach of a puppy. Even if these drugs are your dog’s own, they can still do damage — what’s more, medications prescribed by your veterinarian could be beef-flavored, making them more tempting to consume. Frequently used human medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are also toxic to dogs. If you suspect your dog has ingested any medications, taking them to urgent care is strongly recommended.
- Eye Trauma
Puppies can suffer eye trauma in numerous ways, such as running through garden shrubbery and scratching an eye, having something thrown or projected at their eyes, playing or fighting with other dogs, or running excitedly into an object. You may notice your puppy pawing at an eye repetitively, blinking rapidly, or their eye may be swollen or inflamed. Veterinary treatment is recommended.
- Oral Trauma or Fractured Tooth
Broken teeth are common in puppies due to trauma or chewing on hard objects. It’s important to seek immediate veterinary treatment because the bacteria in your dog’s mouth can quickly infect the exposed pulp of the tooth. If untreated, the tooth will die, and the bacteria will infect the bone — an even more serious issue, as the infection will continue to spread to other parts of the body, including vital organs.
- Plant Toxicity
Eating poisonous plants is one of the most common ways that puppies ingest a toxic substance. There are more than 700 plants that produce physiologically active or toxic substances that are dangerous to pets. The effects of these poisonous plants can range from mild nausea to death. Vulnerability to plant toxicities depends on pet species, the amount ingested, and the size of your pet. Before bringing home a houseplant or planting your spring and summer garden, be sure to understand more about pets and toxic plants.
Adopt a Pet and Nationwide believe that every pet deserves to be protected—including protection against the unexpected. To give you a leg up, Nationwide has a suite of pet insurance offerings for Adopt a Pet parents like you.