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Water and Ice Safety for your Dogs

Water and Ice Safety for your DogsSpring! It’s a time of season that Canadians look forward to, and it’s only natural that we want to get outside with our dogs and enjoy the sights and smells. With Spring comes thawing snow and ice, and we tend to be busy clearing our walkways, roads and backyards. But don’t forget that rivers and lakes are also melting at this time of year, and this change in the outdoor temperatures can present a safety hazard for dogs. As temperatures rise, ice surfaces thaw and begin to break up.

It may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but ice can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. When everything is melting in Spring, it’s best to keep yourself and your dog completely off the ice. Every year dogs get stranded on ice, fall through ice, or are swept away by rising waters. These accidents are horrible to witness. The fact that these accidents can almost always be prevented is unsettling for everyone.

While spring ice may be thick enough for a rabbit to run across, it might not hold up for your dog or you. If exposed to frigid water, dogs can quickly suffer hypothermia or drown. As well, your natural response may be to jump in and save your dog, which also puts you at risk. Even smaller creeks and streams should also be avoided, as they can present the same dangers with rising and rushing water at this time of year.

Our dogs love to run and play outdoors once the sun starts shining in the springtime. Don’t deny their playtime, but be safe and stick to securely enclosed backyards and dog parks. When out for a walk, especially in unknown suburban or rural areas, keep your dog securely on a leash. This way you know where your dog is at all times. Avoid taking your dog on any remaining ice surfaces, no matter how stable they might appear.

If your pet does fall through the ice, call 9-1-1, and never attempt the rescue yourself. Rescue professionals have the equipment needed to keep everyone safe. If your dog happens to fall through shallow ice and make it out quickly, get them inside to raise their body temperature, as they’ll be cold and wet.

Keeping your dog’s safety a top priority, you will both be able to enjoy spring to the fullest!