Vets offer advice to keep dogs safe in the floods

10 December 2015

Owners are advised to take extra care when walking their dog during the flood

In the aftermath of Storm Desmond, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) are urging dog owners to keep themselves and their dogs safe during the floods.

Dogs need exercise in all weathers, however flooding can create a series of hazards for dog walking. Areas with rivers running high water levels, or that have burst their banks, should be avoided as the fast flowing water can rise quickly and potentially wash you or your dog away. If your dog gets into difficulty in the water, vets urge not to go in after them – this will be distressing for owners, however it is never worth risking your own life as well as your dog's.

President of the British Veterinary Association Sean Wensley said:
“Every year we see awful stories in the news of pet owners who have gone into fast flowing rivers or flood water to rescue their dog, only to find themselves in a very dangerous and sometimes fatal situation. BVA recommends that owners avoid walking their dog near river banks during periods of flooding.”

Ross Allan, spokesperson for BSAVA, urges owners to plan ahead:
“If you are concerned that your usual walking routes may be flooded you can check by calling the 24 hour flood helpline - 0345 988 1188; and in the event of flooding, avoid taking your animals through flood water – no matter how shallow. Flood water can be contaminated and could harm your pet if they swallow it. If you have any concerns about your pet's health after a walk then talk to your vet as soon as possible.”

If walking through flood water cannot be avoided, owners are advised to take extra care and look out for debris that could cut or injure you or your dog. Vets advise that owners always check their dogs on returning home from walking in floods for any injuries, as well as drying them off with a towel to prevent them getting chilled and ill.

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