City Safety for Urban Dogs
City Safety for Urban Dogs
Every morning at about 5 am, veterinarians from the Animal Medical Center’s Emergency Service send out a list of all pets admitted to the hospital overnight. Not too long ago, one admission caught my attention: a small dog admitted because his paw got caught in an escalator. Ultimately he recovered, but not before three toes on that paw were amputated because the damage inflicted by the escalator was so severe.
This sad story made me wonder about other uniquely urban hazards that might impact the health of your dog.
What Goes Up, Must Come Down
Because the urban landscape is vertical, not horizontal, in addition to escalators, we have elevators. I can always tell if I am riding an elevator with a suburban dog. Once the cab starts to move, the dog crouches down and starts shaking. But that is only a minor annoyance. Strangulation can occur when your dog’s leash gets caught in the elevator doors as they close. Once the cab starts moving, the ensnared leash causes the collar to become tight around your dog’s neck and can cause serious injury or death. Never drop the leash while your dog enters or exits the elevator cab.
Yes, We Have Rats
As a matter of fact, I saw a couple of rats in broad daylight last Sunday morning on my walk in Central Park. To control vermin, park staff places rodenticide in areas frequented by rats, but those areas may also be frequented by dogs.
If dogs consume rat poison they can become extremely ill. Two types of rat poison are commonly used in NYC. One type inhibits blood clotting. Dogs eating enough of this type of poison bleed internally. The other type of rat poison causes an elevation in blood calcium. Prolonged elevation in blood calcium can cause kidney damage. Recent research also found NYC rats carry diseases like leptospirosis that can strike dogs as well.
Shopping is Not Always Fun
In New York City, many stores welcome dogs while their humans shop. A frequent sight in stores with shopping carts is a small dog in the kiddy seat of the cart. Another recent overnight admission at AMC was an elderly dog who fell out of a shopping cart and became paralyzed. Fortunately, the paralysis was temporary.Make sure your dog is secure in the shopping cart while you are browsing the aisles.
Dogs Can Fall Too
Although most common in cats, dogs do fall out of windows and off of balconies. Serious injury can occur, which in dogs can include fractured legs and spinal trauma. Always use window screens, and if you are lucky enough to have a balcony or terrace, make sure it is pet proof.
City living with pets can be great, especially once you know how to avoid urban hazards.