The Scoop Newsletter for Animal Hospital of Statesville

Swimming Fun

Nothing like a dip in the pool on a hot summer day, right? Your pet likely agrees. There are, however, a few things you should keep in mind when allowing your dog to swim in your pool, lake or the ocean.

First and foremost, they need to be supervised at all times. Just like kids. They don't always know when they are tired or doing something risky. You need to be there to watch over the fun.

If you have a pool or live near the lake and have a long dock, you need to have a way for the pet to be able to climb up out of the water. Show your dog where the pool stairs are, and train him to use them. You can also purchase (or make yourself) a portable floating ramp that you attach to the dock or the edge of the pool that allows them to get out of the water. (Google the DIY instructions.) Again, you need to train your pet to use the ramp. As you would for children, equip your pool with a sensor that will detect when the water surface of your pool has been broken.

Not all dogs are born swimmers. Some won't swim at all. (Think English Bulldogs, Pugs, Bassett Hounds, short-legged dogs, long-bodied dogs.) If your dog has seizures, do not let him swim!

If you are cold in the water, your pet will probably be a bit chilled, as well. Not all dogs are "built" to swim!

Do NOT just throw your dog in the water with the intention of him being able to swim. He may drown instead. Start by walking him in the shallow water until the water starts making him float. Most dogs will paddle with their front feet, but maybe not the back. If that's the case, support his lower body until he gets the hang of using all his feet to paddle. Do not overexert him. Like a human, any new activity is best when you work up your tolerance level. Younger and older dogs need to be watched carefully for signs of exhaustion and are more likely to panic. Regardless of how well they swim, a life jacket is never a bad idea. As you would for a child, get a quality life jacket. It could save your dog's life someday.

If you are cold in the water, your pet will probably be a bit chilled, as well. Not all dogs are "built" to swim

Having a well-trained dog that follows commands is important. If you want your dog to go to the ramp or get out of the pool, making sure the pet knows what you are asking for is important. Having toys to lure them out of the water might help, as well.

If your dog gets in trouble in the water, calmly give him a command to go to the ramp or steps to get out of the lake or pool. If you have a large dog, avoid jumping in after him to save him - he might drown you in the process. Stay as calm as possible. If you DO end up with no other choice, bring a floatation device of some kind that the dog can use to stay above water. That can help you take him back to the deck or shore.

Dr. Gaither says there are a few emergency procedures you can take to help save your pet's life. First, remove them from the water source and lay them on their side with their rear end elevated. This will allow gravity to help the fluid to exit the body. Then, begin CPR. If you do not know CPR for pets, there is information and videos online to teach you, or you can talk to your veterinarian. You need to provide chest compressions as well as rescue breathing. The ratio should be approximately 30 chest compressions to 2 rescue breaths. However, regardless of what kind of treatment your dog is given poolside or on the shore, a visit to your vet is important to rule out any complications like dry drowning. Cover your pet with a blanket is possible to prevent further heat loss. The could need continued ventilation and will need monitoring to identify any future complications. FYI - "Dry drowning" refers to pulmonary edema that can occur after a pet appears to have recovered, and is usually life-threatening.

If your pet will be swimming in natural surroundings like rivers, lakes or the ocean, be aware of currents, tides, undertows and other underwater hazards that could cause injury.

June Birthday Girls!

Left to right: Kyle - Veterinary Nurse/Social Media Director/Photographer, Michelle - Kennel Technician and Amanda - Veterinary Assistant

Evacuation Plan

Have an emergency kit well-stocked and handy.

NEVER leave your pets behind - have a list BEFOREHAND of pet-friendly emergency shelters and hotels.

If you are not home, make sure you have planned to have friends or neighbors care for your pets.

Keep updated by listening to the local news. They can give out shelter locations and weather updates and warnings. You can also visit ncvma.org for more information.

Practice your evacuation/emergency plans with your family so that everyone knows what to do before the storm arrives.

Microchip your pets!!! Countless pets are forever lost to their owners because of lack of identification. Your pet may not ever leave your sight, but, due to a storm, hurricane, tornado or a flood, your pet may be ripped from your arms. Provide permanent ID ASAP!

Dr. Chip Cooney

Each month, we'll feature a staff member of Animal Hospital of Statesville so you can learn a bit more about the folks who take care of your beloved furbabies! Dr. Cooney has been a great boss. With the renovation of our building, furnishing AHS with state-of-the-art equipment, great doctors who practice top-notch medicine, and a skilled and compassionate staff, Dr. Cooney has made small-town AHS well-respected among our peers, and many of our clients wouldn't think of going anywhere else. He has helped create a family-like environment among our staff, and we are honored to work for and alongside him. Read on to learn a bit more about him!

How long have you worked at AHS?

I came to Statesville in 1995 and have worked at AHS ever since, so 24 years and counting.

What was your very first pet, and what do you remember most about him?

While I always had dogs growing up, my first pet was a Border Collie named Jessy. I got him my second year of veterinary school and when I moved to North Carolina in 1991, he was the only friend I had in the state. He was a great frisbee dog. He would chase the frisbee 50 yards and jump 3 feet in the air if he needed to. He lived a long and healthy life and died at age 14.

What brings you joy?

Wow! What a great question! I truly believe joy is all around us every day, if we would only have the eyes and mindset to see it. I get joy from seeing my kids succeed at something that they have worked hard to obtain. I get joy when one of our team members goes above and beyond to help a pet or a client. I get joy from puppy breath and from watching a kitten chase a laser pointer around the exam room. There are many things in life that bring me joy.

What do you want to do that you haven't, yet?

I am an avid cyclist and I do want to ride my bike in the Pyrenees Mountains in France. I have been fortunate enough to ride in the Alps and it was amazing.

What talent do you wish you had, but don't?

I wish I had some type of musical ability. My mother plays piano and sings. My father plays in a band in local concerts in my hometown. My brother plays lead guitar and sings. I can do none of the above. I was blessed with musical appreciation, though.

Do you have a favorite song/recording artist?

I don't really have a favorite song, but I do love classic (60-70s) rock, R&B and progressive jazz. My favorite band would be Steely Dan because they were able to meld them all into one fabulous sound.

Name one of your favorite movies, and why.

I don't watch a lot of movies. I have a hard time sitting still for two hours or more. A somewhat recent movie that I really enjoyed was Whiplash. While the language was atrocious, the story and the music were outstanding.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. I did go through a stage in college when I thought medical school was for me. I took the MCAT and was ready to apply but, when it came down to it, knew that human medicine was not where I needed to be. I applied to vet school instead, and could not be happier with my decision.

What is your favorite splurge - How do you, or WOULD you, spoil yourself?

My splurges usually somehow revolve around cycling. There are always new clothes, upgraded equipment or even a new bike. The mathematical equation as to how many bikes a cyclist should have is N+1, where N is the current number of bikes you have!

Animal Hospital of Statesville 181 Mocksville Highway Statesville, NC 28625

Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock and Kyle Elizabeth Cook, Bear Creek Photography, NC


Kyle Elizabeth Cook - Bear Creek Photography, NC and Adobe Stock

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