Responsible breeders work hard to keep their litters safe and happy in the kennel, but puppies are known for their inquisitive natures and ability to find trouble. While choosing the right owner is the first step in ensuring a healthy life, even the best match can’t keep all puppies away from unexpected accidents.
To help understand some of the most common incidents facing dogs under the age of 1 year, AKC Pet Insurance ran a report on the top 20 most common claims in 2017. Some of the most frequent occurrences included otitis externa, ingestion of a foreign body, toxicity, conjunctivitis, and broken or fractured bones.
Otitis externa, more commonly referred to as an outer ear infection, made up almost 8 percent of the reported claims. While ear infections can affect all dogs, breeds with floppy or hairy ears are more susceptible. Dogs that continually shake their head, scratch, or have red, inflamed ears, may have an infection. Veterinarians will determine which organism is causing the infection by taking a sample of the material from the ear to examine under a microscope. Medication is prescribed based on the type of organism causing the infection. Untreated cases have resulted in permanent hearing loss or secondary conditions, such as aural hematoma, a condition in which blood vessels in the earflap break and cause severe swelling.
Allergies often are responsible for repeating cases of otitis externa. Dogs in the United States have a high occurrence of allergies to beef, dairy products, or wheat that are used in their food. Another common cause of ear infections is moisture and dirt, so keeping a dog's ears dry and clean can go a long way in preventing reoccurring ear infections.
Ingestion of a Foreign Body
It’s no secret that puppies want to put everything in their mouth! While many objects are swallowed and passed with no harm, others have life-threatening consequences. When dogs eat something that they shouldn’t, and the item becomes lodged inside their intestinal tract, there can be a myriad of repercussions. Vomiting, diarrhea, straining to defecate, and lethargy are signs that your dog should go straight to the clinic.
Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and take abdominal X-rays. For some objects, their recommendation may be to keep your dog under observation while allowing the object to pass on its own. For others, surgery may be the best option. Placing tempting items out of reach of your dog and keeping a close eye on him can help reduce those troublesome, inappropriate snacks.
Unfortunately, a lot of products that humans use in everyday life can be extremely toxic for dogs to consume. Forgetting to put away certain items can result in a very sick dog and some hefty vet bills. Chocolates and coffee are very dangerous due to a chemical compound called methylxanthine. Other foods, such as grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts, can cause harm in a very short amount of time. Insecticides, antifreeze, mouse poison, and many cleaning products can be toxic to dogs due to high concentrations of chemicals. While most people know to keep poinsettias away from their pups, not many know that succulents and several other common houseplants can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting when eaten in small amounts.
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an inflammation of tissue coating the eye and the lining of the eyelids. Unlike the human strain that is often contagious, canine conjunctivitis often starts from antigens such as allergies. If your dog demonstrates symptoms of a red eye, discharge, and swelling, he could be suffering from conjunctivitis and you should take him to your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. By removing eye irritants and preventing dry eyes with an irrigation solution, you can stop inflammation from reoccurring.
Broken or Fractured Bones
Puppies are full of uncontrollable exuberance, but sometimes they take a tumble that is a little too hard. The fifth most common claim for dogs under 1 year was broken or fractured bones. While puppies seem capable of shaking off a bad fall, the truth is that their bones won’t reach maximum strength until after puberty. Sudden impact to the body can result in damage to their less dense bones. Signs of pain or discomfort such as limping, whining, and reluctance to move around after an injury are good indicators your dog has suffered a bone fracture. You should immediately go to the vet where X-rays will provide a clear diagnosis. Some injuries may only require a splint, while more severe ones could result in pins, plates, and screws.
Car accidents are one of the top reasons for broken bones, so reminding new owners to keep their puppies leashed or contained in a house or yard is a great way to reduce the chance of an expensive vet visit!
Pet Insurance Can Help
While breeders understand the financial responsibilities of taking on a curious puppy, new pet owners may be shocked by the possibility of unexpected vet bills. AKC Pet Insurance wants to help with those costs and help your puppy buyers get off to the right start by offering its 30-day Pet Insurance Certificate. This benefit of AKC registration provides newly registered puppies with 30 days of accident and illness insurance coverage, included with their registration at no additional cost. Instead of worrying about vet bills, new puppy owners focus on welcoming their pup into his new home!
Meet the Breeder Support Specialist:
Mary Shaughney is the breeder support specialist at AKC Pet Insurance. She is available as a resource to AKC breeders who want to learn more about pet insurance in general, about available breeder benefits and for information on our policies. You can reach Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.akcpetinsurance.com/breeders.