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For the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study focusing on the relationship between falls and pets. The results, which are published in this weeks CDC’S Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reveal that cats and dogs are the cause of over 86,000 falls each year. Dogs were to blame for a vast majority of these accidents by causing owners to trip by running in front of their legs, pulling on the leash during a walk, or taking off after squirrels and other animals leaving their owners to chase after them unable to watch their step. There are also reports of tripping over dog toys. Although dogs are the primary factor in pet-related falls, cat owners are not exempt. Researches discovered that cats caused owners to lose his or her balance when the cat rubbed against the owner’s legs causing them to trip.

Although most of these injuries are relatively minor, for senior citizens, minor falls can be devastating. Out of every 10,000 people who visit emergency departments each year for slip and fall injuries, only about 3 are related to pets. However, that number doubles for people over the age of 75.

All in all, while there are many benefits to pet ownership, it is important to properly train your pet to not walk in front of you or pull on the leash. This can be accomplished through obedience training classes. Additionally, to minimize tripping on toys, simply purchase a bin and properly store the toys when not in use.

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