written by Laurel Meleski, RedRover Relief case manager

Unexpected illness or injuries can be a huge burden to pet owners, both financially and emotionally. Here are a few of the most common injuries and illnesses that our case managers see through the RedRover Relief Urgent Care program, and some things you can do to prepare for or prevent them.

Urinary tract issues in cats
For cats, especially younger male cats, crystals in the urine, urinary tract/bladder infections and urinary blockages are common issues we see every day. The good news is that there are multiple foods available to help prevent the formation of crystals in the bladder or to keep them from forming again. Some brands are available by prescription through your veterinarian and some are available over the counter. You can also search the internet for “raw homemade urinary diet for cats” and discuss with your veterinarian if a raw diet might be a good choice. Feline Instincts offers a wealth of information on the benefits of raw diets. Some people advocate for the use of apple cider vinegar (ACV) in cases of struvite crystals, as they are said to help dissolve the crystals.

Bladder blockage is a life-threatening emergency, so always discuss any treatment options with your veterinarian.

Lastly, making sure that your cat drinks enough water can help promote bladder health. Cats often enjoy drinking running water, so purchasing a pet drinking fountain can encourage your cat to drink more. You can also switch from dry food to wet food, or add a bit of water to your cat’s food. For a cat who has already experienced urinary tract problems, changing their diet is extremely important, as keeping cats who have experienced urinary blockage on the same food will very likely lead to recurrences of this issue.

Injuries in dogs
For dogs, we most commonly receive requests for help because of injuries from being hit by a car. One of the easiest ways to keep your dog safe is to always have them on a leash when outside of the home. Even the best behaved dog can find something interesting and run across a street to investigate, ignoring the command to stay. In cases like this, the dog’s injuries and the guilt of both the owner and the driver can easily be prevented. Be sure to check your yard regularly for loose boards in the fence or holes your dog can slip out of. If your dog is a digger, try burying chicken wire or welded wire fencing in spots vulnerable to escape, and make sure that your fences are too tall for your dog to jump. Ongoing training and frequent walks can help keep your dogs safe by teaching them not to bolt through an open door. Lastly, keep your dogs indoors during stressful days, like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. Fireworks can cause extreme fear in even the most laid-back dogs, and they’ll do everything they can to escape. Of course, our feline friends aren’t immune to car related injuries. Keeping cats indoors or in secure outdoor enclosures is the best way to keep them safe as well.

Dental health issues
Both cats and dogs can suffer from problems caused by poor dental health. Tooth abscesses that need dental surgery, infections that can damage internal organs (including the heart) and of course bad breath are a few of the issues that can stem from an unhealthy mouth. Thankfully, most dental problems can be stopped before they start with home tooth care and routine dental cleaning at the veterinarian. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and many veterinary offices offer specials on dental cleanings.You can also talk to your veterinarian about adding raw bones and raw meat to your pet’s diet. These can help to clean the teeth and maintain a healthy enzyme balance in your pet’s mouth. Be sure any bones given to your pets have never been cooked. In hot weather you can even freeze them to use as a cold treat!

Our pets love us unconditionally, they give us comfort and laughter, and they make our lives better just by being with us. In return, It’s up to us to make sure that their lives are as safe, healthy and happy as we can make them.

RedRover helps pets in emergencies everyday through the RedRover Relief program. Your support makes this possible. Donate to RedRover Relief