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B.C. vet, pool company issue tips for pet safety

Pets should be closely monitored for heat exhaustion, dry drowning when in and near a pool
Pets should be closely monitored when in or near a pool.

Warmer weather draws people poolside for a little cooling off. 

A Kelowna vet and a pool company founder are issuing warnings about having your pets poolside. 

Dr. Jennifer Watt from Fairfield Emergency Clinic says pets should be monitored the same as children when in or near a pool. 

"They need to be watched at all times, never left unattended, and if they're in the pool you should be in the pool with them within arms length."

Watt explained that pets can experience dry drowning "where they go under, inhale water, and they seem fine." The inhalation of water can cause the lungs to spasm and can suffocate the animal without obvious signs. "Any coughing, any bleeding, any extreme lethargy after being in the pool needs to be addressed and I would recommend going straight to a veterinary clinic."

It's also recommended that pets get a good rinse after going for a swim in a salt water or chlorine treated pool. 

Pets like cats and dogs can only release heat from their body through paw pads and panting, so Watt added that it's important to keep an eye out for heat exhaustion. 

Allan Horwood, owner of Pool Patrol, said a great way to keep pets and kids safe around a pool is proper fencing and pool covers. 

"The solar blankets have been around for a million years, they do a decent job of heat retention, but actually have a negative impact on the safety of the pool," Horwood said. 

"We've had stories from our clients who have gotten out on that cover for one reason or another and its an entrapment. Once you're in it you go down with it." 

Those without a fence around the pool Horwood said should consider an automatic pool cover, a similar concept to a garage door. 

"They run on tracks, they go across the pool and they literally create a barrier so that children and pets cannot come in contact with the pool water." 

It was added that automatic covers are also great for those with heavy wildlife traffic on their property. Horwood said a video two years ago circulated the internet proving the power of these covers after a moose was caught walking out into the pool before quickly taking off. 


Brittany Webster

About the Author: Brittany Webster

I am a video journalist based in Kelowna and capturing life in the Okanagan
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