Living with two very active dogs, I've spent more than my share of time at the veterinarian from various injuries over the years. Usually it's a mild sprain or torn pad due to rambunctious playing, but my Sheltie Nemo is also prone to eating objects he shouldn't (despite my best efforts to keep temptations out of reach), leading to obstruction surgery.
According to Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) these are two of the most prevalent conditions treated by vets. VPI's policyholders spent more than $37 million on procedures related to pet accidents. The top ten most common pet injuries are:
10. Torn or injured nail
9. Gastric Foreign Object(s) Ingestion
8. Abrasions or Superficial Wounds
7. Sprain or Joint Injury
6. Mouth Trauma or Fractured Tooth
5. Cruciate Ligament Injury Surgical Repair
4. Scratch or Wound on Eye
3. Lacerations or Bite Wounds
2. Cruciate Ligament Injury (without surgery)
1. Soft Tissue Trauma (bruise)
You can help prevent some of these conditions by monitoring playing dogs, keeping them from running on slick surfaces, and giving them softer chew toys. I also do physical therapy exercises with my pups to help strengthen their muscles against injuries.
However, it's impossible to avoid every accident. After all, dogs will be dogs. So it's important to bring your pet in to the vet as soon as you notice something wrong. Waiting can make things worse, particularly for a foreign object ingestion or a cruciate ligament injury. Animals are often subtle in their behavior change when they're hurting, so it's essential to know what's normal for your dog.