If you have a new puppy, then you know how curious and energetic they can be. While this temperament is so much fun to be around, unfortunately, it can also lead to unplanned trips to your local vet.
We’re looking into the most common accidents in small puppies and the ways they tend to get hurt so you can keep them safe and healthy by avoiding such incidents at home. We also provide tips on how to take care of a puppy that’s been injured, and teach you how to recognize when to take your pet to the ER.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Most Common Puppy Accidents by Insurance Claim
- Other Common Ways Puppies Get Hurt
- How to Help an Injured Puppy
- Key Takeaways
Most Common Puppy Accidents by Insurance Claim
Lacerations, bite wounds, and foriegn body ingestion are the three most common accidents in puppies based on insurance claim data from ASPCA Pet Insurance.
Considering how rambunctious small puppies are, it comes as no surprise that they often suffer from lacerations. And while some lacerations can be small and require minimal treatment in the form of topical ointment, others are more serious and require antibiotics, pain medication, and even stitches!
If your puppy suffers from a laceration, apply pressure to the wound using a cloth or towel to stop the bleeding. In the case of superficial lacerations, you can clean the wound using povidone-iodine or sterile saline and call your vet for further instructions. Deeper wounds should be covered with a clean dressing as you transport your puppy to the vet.
2. Bite wounds
Your puppy might suffer a bite wound while fighting or playing with another dog. In some cases, bite wounds can result in serious injury if certain parts of the body are affected, including the eyes, nerves, jugular vein, and carotid artery.
Bite wounds are also at a risk for infection, and sometimes, wounds that seem minor can potentially be life-threatening. Bite wounds from unknown or wild animals can also pose a risk of rabies, which is why it is a good idea to make sure your puppy is up-to-date on their rabies vaccine and have them checked out immediately after suffering a bite wound.
3. Swallowed objects, AKA foreign body ingestion
Similar to small children, puppies tend to chew and taste anything they can get into their mouths, such as rocks, toys, sticks, small balls, etc. However, accidentally swallowing an object can become a serious problem if it gets lodged in the stomach or in the small intestine.
If your puppy has ingested a foreign object, don’t panic but do consult with your vet. While smaller and non-toxic objects might simply pass, larger and sharp items can injure your pet’s digestive tract, and require surgical removal.
Other Common Ways Puppies Get Hurt
Nationwide Pet Insurance analyzed insurance claims for puppy incidents and their 2018 data revealed a few more common ways in which puppies can get hurt.
Soft tissue trauma
Since puppies’ bodies aren’t as strong as grown dogs, they can unintentionally overexert or injure themselves. Soft tissue trauma refers to minor injuries to joints or muscles such as soft tissue injuries in the leg (e.g. sprained ankles) and puppy shoulder trauma. These types of trauma can result from fighting, falling, or even exercising.
Most minor strains should go away on their own with some ice and rest, but more serious injuries will be accompanied by trauma symptoms like swelling, limping, pain, and bruising, in which case you should get in touch with your vet.
Insect bites and stings
Spider bites, bee stings, ticks, and fleas are the most common causes of insect bite reactions in puppies. The most common symptoms of bite reaction include swelling, redness, hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or even respiratory distress and anaphylactic shock. In addition, insects can transmit parasites, viruses, and bacteria, so be sure to see your vet for treatment.
A torn nail in puppies can lead to profuse bleeding, especially if the nail breaks near the base. If this happens, apply gentle pressure to the area and take your puppy to the vet right away. If the tear is serious, the vet might need to remove the nail.
Because of their tendency to chew on hard objects, puppies often end up with broken teeth. Small fractures can be left untreated, but if the broken tooth results in exposed pulp, an infection can get in and spread to the vital organs, causing serious issues including sepsis and death. The tooth will need to be removed or repaired in order to avoid infection.
There are many ways that puppy eye injuries can happen, including cuts and scratches caused by tree branches, fights with other animals, rubbing at the eye, etc. If your puppy suffers an eye injury but doesn't seem to be in immediate distress, watch them closely over the next few hours to see how their symptoms develop.
In general, mild injuries to the eye often resolve on their own. However, if you notice your puppy blinking rapidly, pawing at an eye repetitively, or his eye is inflamed or swollen, be sure to take them to the vet.
There are over 700 plants that are dangerous to pets, including some garden mainstays and holiday favorites. Puppies are often affected more than adult dogs due to their smaller size and lack of experience. The effects of plant toxicity can range from nausea and vomiting to shock and death, depending on the type of plant eaten.
Drug poisoning or overdose can occur if the puppy gets access to pills or through the misguided intentions of the owner (for instance, giving your puppy medications designed for humans or increasing their dosage without consulting your vet). Both situations can cause serious problems and your puppy will require immediate veterinary treatment. Mild cases of drug poisoning are reversible, but severe drug overdose can cause long-term damage or even death.
How to Help an Injured Puppy
For minor puppy injuries, use a dog first aid kit and monitor the situation to see how the symptoms are developing. More serious incidents will require your vet’s analysis upon examination. For severe puppy wounds, seek immediate veterinary assistance at an animal hospital.
Signing up for pet insurance is the best way to ensure that you will be able to provide your puppy with the best health care possible. You can cover your puppy’s unexpected accidents with Accident-Only insurance and save on vet bills. It is best to enroll while your dog is still young and healthy and before any accidents and ailments occur.
Pawlicy Advisor is an online tool that helps you compare and analyze insurance plans from different providers and choose the best coverage for your puppy.
- Puppies are very playful and energetic, which makes them prone to accidents. According to ASPCA Pet insurance, the three most common puppy injuries are lacerations, bite wounds, and foreign body ingestion.
- If your puppy gets hurt, be sure to speak to your vet especially if they have an eye injury or have eaten something they weren’t supposed to. If your hurt puppy is crying, limping, vomiting, or in distress, these are also signs that show that they require medical attention.
- Pet insurance can help you make sure your puppy has access to the best medical care at all times and save you from unexpected costs when your pet has an emergency.