Perth vets have issued a warning to dog owners about a reported rise in the number of pet dogs drowning in swimming pools.
Murdoch Pet Emergency Centre senior registrar Dr Ryan Ong said he believed up to 200 dogs could be drowning in Perth pools every year.
While no exact statistics were available, Pauline Wilson from Perth Pet Cremations said she was cremating an average of two drowned dogs a week.
Dr Ong said WA dog owners needed to be more vigilant.
"This is a concerning figure," he said.
"These figures suggest that dog owners may not realise the need to be watching out for their pets like they do their children when it comes to safety around water."
Despite the well-known swimming stroke "doggy paddle," Dr Ong said not all dogs had innate swimming ability.
"Some dogs paddle better than others and some dogs sink like a stone. Generally, heavy dogs with short legs tend to find swimming a real challenge," he said.
"Similar to children, pets should never be left unsupervised around deep water. The fenced pool area should not be used as a dog yard.
"If your dog is old, or has a heart condition or a seizure disorder, keep them away from the pool."
He said unsecured solar blankets could make it very difficult for dogs to get out of the pool.
"If your dog likes to swim in the pool with the family, make sure one of the first things it learns is how to get out," he said.
"Ensure that the pool blanket is off or a secure cover or netting is used to cover the pool and prevent them from falling in.
"If you are going out on the water with your dog, consider a doggie life jacket especially if they are not strong swimmers."
If a dog is rescued from a near-drowning incident, Dr Ong said the owners should seek veterinary help to prevent pneumonia and other complications.
The MPEC provides a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency service at Murdoch University's South Street campus.For emergency assistance, call 1300 652 494.
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