March 27, 2009

CDC: Pets considered a fall hazard

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 86,000 people are injured each year in falls caused by their cats and dogs.

That's an average annual injury rate of 29.7 per 100,000 people, the agency said in a release. Nearly 88 percent of the injuries were associated with dogs and women were twice as likely to be injured than men.

The findings are based on data from hospital emergency departments.

Nearly 62 percent of dog-related injuries occurred inside or immediately outside the home. Thirty-one percent of those cases involved falling or tripping over a dog. Most falls involving cats occurred at home, with 66 percent due to the person falling or tripping over the cat.

The CDC said there needs to be increased public awareness of pets and pet items as fall hazards and of situations that can lead to fall injuries. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations emphasizing obedience training for dogs should also be reinforced, the agency said.