Why your dog shouldn't play in floodwaters: 'Just dangerous'

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Dog owners are being warned about the dangers of floodwater after footage emerged showing pets playing in a flooded park at Marrickville, in Sydney's Inner West.

Flash-flooding has occurred across Australia's east coast this week. Several people have been trapped in floodwaters including a Queensland woman who lost her life.

The video was shared on Reddit yesterday following the heavy rainfall across the country with the poster seemingly unaware of how harmful it can be.

At least three dogs can be seen playing in the murky water as the person filming compared the park to a "lake" thanks to partial flooding.

While the floodwater isn't particularly deep, people in the comments warned it's "very dirty" suggesting it can be extremely dangerous for dogs.

Kids and dogs were filmed playing in floodwater in a park in Marrickville, Sydney
The floodwater is dangerous for dogs and they should not be playing in it, experts say. Source: Reddit

"That water is filthy. The dogs and children should not be in there," one person warned.

"You do realise floodwaters are likely to contain raw sewerage right?" another claimed.

The dangers of floodwaters for pets

Dr Cristy Secombe from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) said there are a number of reasons why floodwaters are dangerous for pets.

"It could be contaminated with toxins and certain infectious agents proliferate in floodwaters," she told Yahoo News Australia.

"Especially in humid conditions, which can make animals very unwell if they drink the water."

She said the floodwaters can also contain submerged objects that may not be easily seen, and animals can injure themselves leading to severe cuts, bruising and in the most severe cases fractures.

One person who saw the clip claimed their beloved pet died from a nerve infection following the 2017 floods in northern NSW.

Although all cases are unique, Dr Secombe said exposure to toxins or infectious agents that may be present in floodwaters can definitely cause dogs to "fall unwell days to weeks after exposure."

This could be due to pesticides, bacteria or parasites lurking in the water which can be highly toxic.

Professor Frederic Leusch from the School of Environment & Science at Griffith University warns the floodwater isn't only dangerous for animals but people too.

The video shows a small girl ankle-deep walking through the murky water, and the person filming appears to be submerged too.

"I strongly advise anyone to not play with stormwater," Professor Leusch told Yahoo News Australia.

"Stormwater is dangerous, and children and animals should not be allowed to play in it.

"This is because stormwater runs off surfaces and collects pollutants on those surfaces. Things like chemicals, pesticides, litter, sediment, natural organic matter - including animal carcasses and droppings - and bacteria.

"I know it's an unusual experience and kids love playing with unusual things, but it's definitely not safe to do so."

Marrickville park in Sydney flooded from heavy rainfall
The heavy rainfall yesterday caused this Sydney park to flood. Source: Facebook

Startling photos show Sydney submerged

Other images from around Sydney show the streets completely inundated with water, following a storm that set in across the city.

One photo from Wolli Creek, in Sydney's south, showed how extensive the rain was on Monday.

The water level is almost up to the car's bonnet in the photo and the person who shared it to Reddit said the silver car seen in the photo floated onto the footpath.

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