Rip currents are dangerous for dogs, too

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Rip currents aren't just a problem for us. They can also be very dangerous for man's best friend.

"If you take the animals out there and they're jumping around in the water, big strong waves are much more likely to impact them," said Captain Bill Horn, Volunteer Life Saving Corp.

Horn says even though it's been a year or two since a dog has been reportedly caught in a rip current, the currents can affect your dog just as they affect you.

Big waves, especially like the ones we're seeing on Labor Day, can roll your dog over, catch their head and spin them.

"If a dog gets stuck in a rip current, they're going to be just as bad off as a normal human, because they don't have any understanding as to exactly what to do, they would do the exact wrong thing that everybody else does, which is try and head toward shore," said Horn.

Horn says if your dog get swept away by a current on a day like Monday, you shouldn't go after your dog. Instead, call over a lifeguard or dial 911 to have the professionals help.

Whether with a dog or by yourself, it's always smart to swim near a lifeguard, he says.

Small dogs like Flitz, a one year old Chihuahua at the beach Monday, are especially vulnerable to rip currents because of their size.

"He could get easily taken away and he's irreplaceable, as you see, so we're very careful with him," said owner Michelle Taveras.

She says she understands the risks. She says she doesn't let Flitz get out too far into the water, but says he's well trained, and responds to prompts.

"I don't think he wants to go in any more he's been hiding," said Taveras.

Thankfully for Michelle, Flitz may have had his fill of the water for the day.

"It is really scary, but he needs to have fun too, and he needs exercise so we've got to let him enjoy, just keep an extra close eye on him," said Taveras.


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