Protecting your dog from drowning this summer

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With the first day of summer, many of us are probably thinking about getting to a pool to cool off. But, as you know, we humans love the water and so do some of our pets.

There are some important things to keep in mind when your dog hits the water. Each year approximately 40,000 pets die due to drowning and it's something that Dr. Michelle Mayers says can happen in a matter of seconds.

If they are not acclimated to swimming, they can start to panic and that can lead to drowning.

Mayers says drowning accidents in pets can easily be avoided with the proper safety tools like vest at all times when they are in the water.

Molly McMullem with "Wag and Splash" teaches dogs how to swim. She says most people think all dogs naturally know how to swim and are comfortable in water. But that's not so. McMullen says 50 percent of the dogs that she sees do not know how to swim.

"Any animal has the natural urge to kick," McMullen said."But there is a proper technique to kicking and we work with them with that."

McMullen says instead introduce your dog slowly to the water and says throwing an animal in the water only traumatizes them.

"Take your time and hold your dog close and make sure they feel secure," McMullen said.

It's also important to make sure your pet knows how to get our of the water by the way of the stairs or a ramp.

Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved.