Virginia Beach SPCA urges water safety for pets

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Posted at 5:28 AM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 11:22:11-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — If your dog likes to take a dip in the water to cool off during the summer, you’ll want to make sure your best friend stays safe while splashing around.

The Virginia Beach SPCA (VBSPCA) says the most important thing pet parents can do when their pup is at a pool, beach, river or lake is keep watch.

“We have seen some estimations of at least 5,000 dogs drown in pools per year,” said Virginia Beach SPCA communications and marketing manager Mandi Kowaleski. “Accidents happen very quickly, so if you’re either not paying attention or you’re not close by, that’s when something devastating can happen."

Kowaleski says some breeds like retrievers and poodles are great in the water, but flat-faced breeds have a more difficult time.

”Think shih tzus, pugs, boxers— they have very flat faces and very large chests, which makes it really hard for them to swim and they can’t breathe as easily,” said Kowaleski.

Whether your dog is a great swimmer or sometimes struggles, VBSPCA says life vests are a must if your best friend is on a boat.

“Make sure it’s fitted appropriately. That will not only keep your dog afloat, but there are handles on there, so if your dog is in trouble it’s very easy to pull them out, especially if you are taking your pet on a boat. If they do fall out, that makes them easier to spot as well,” Kowaleski said.

Kowaleski says it’s important for dogs to take breaks out of the water because they may get tired and not think about it until it’s too late.

Related: Safe This Summer: Protecting your pets from heat stroke and the symptoms to watch for

And even though you won’t bring sand to the beach, do bring water.

“Make sure you bring drinking water for them. When dogs ingest a bunch of those types of water [ocean, beach and lake], there’s bacteria in there. They can get really sick as well as if they’re drinking out of your pool. Discourage that."