Oddly Enough

Pet lovers beware: Cats and dogs are tripping hazards

White House pet dog Miss Beazley (R) crosses paths with pet cat, India, on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, October 2, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Reed

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Roughly 240 Americans wind up in emergency rooms every day for sprains, fractures or other injuries from a fall caused by a dog or cat, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Researchers at the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said dogs and cats account for 88 percent of all fall-related injuries in emergency departments.

Nearly 8 million people are treated in the emergency room each year for falls, and the CDC researchers wanted to know how many of them were caused by pets.

They searched five years of emergency room data on injuries from a national sample of hospitals in the United States. They looked for fall-related injuries using search terms like pet, dog, cat, puppy or kitten.

Overall, dogs or cats cause an estimated 86,600 falls per year, the CDC said in its weekly report on death and disease.

Women are 2.1 times more likely to have a pet-related fall than men, they said.

Tripping seems to be the biggest risk. About 31 percent of dog-related and 66 percent of cat-related injuries were caused by tripping. Another 21 percent of dog-related injuries occurred when people fell after being pushed or pulled by dogs.

The CDC said pet owners need to be aware that their furry friends can cause accidents. They recommended pet obedience training to reduce fall-related injuries.