Keeping your dog safe in floods.

The rain this week has been biblical in many parts of the UK – and where I live, in a small town in Worcestershire, we were virtually cut off from the rest of the country on Monday.  Most major roads out of town were under water and as a result, access routes closed – I have certainly not seen anything quite like it in many years.

It seems as if the rain has not stopped for months on end and with more persistent downpours over the weekend, the water simply had nowhere to go, on already saturated ground.

Many people were featured on the news getting stranded after attempting to drive through floodwater and sadly, one local woman was swept away in a torrent of water that the Environment Agency say reached exceptional levels since records began 200 years ago.

It is important to keep safe if you are heading out into stormy weather, especially if you live near rivers – even a small brook can turn into a raging torrent of water with incredible speed.  Muddy, slippery ground underfoot, adds to the danger of walking near flooded areas.

It is important to keep yourself and your dog safe when heading out in such conditions, especially as they can change so rapidly.  As well as the danger of being swept away, flood water can contain harmful chemicals, debris and sewage, as well as the danger of Leptospirosis carried by rats and found in water sources.

The most sensible thing to do is to avoid walking in heavy rain or areas of flooding altogether.  A day or so of playing in the garden instead will not harm your dog and there are also plenty of indoor games you could entertain him with where you can both stay warm and dry – see our other Holidays4Dogs article about indoor games.

If you do go out and your dog walks through a lot of mud and standing water, always make sure you rinse him off thoroughly afterwards.  If you are not 100% sure your dog will come back when he is called – keep him secure on a lead.  Make sure your dog has an up to date chip, as well as alternative identification on his collar.

If your dog does get caught in flood water NEVER attempt to go in after him – dogs will usually find a way to save themselves and sadly, there have been many cases where owners have tried to rescue dogs from rivers and have tragically lost their lives while, often, the dog survives.

Keep up to date with flood warnings by tuning into your local television or radio station or, log onto the Environment Agency website where you can access information about your local area.

Floodwater, or any standing water, can be dangerous to people and animals – so stay safe and either head for higher ground for your daily walks or stay indoors.