As the winter turns to spring, the ice presents a serious risk to dogs and their owners. The temperatures start to rise, making frozen ponds and lakes less sturdy for curious pooches, often leading to them falling in. Although the air may be warm enough to melt or weaken the ice, the water can remain frigid and dangerous, as it did with New York City resident Garvin Brown, who died on March 16 after jumping into a pond to save his dog, according to CBS News.
Danger while helping a dog
Brown, 34, was renting a home with his fiancée in Naples, New York, a town in the Finger Lakes region about 40 miles from Rochester, when his dog walked on top of and fell through a partially frozen pond at about 1:00 a.m. To rescue his struggling pooch, Brown jumped into the water. Once in the cold water, Brown was unable to swim himself to safety and drowned.
The dog was able to escape the water and survived, CBS reported. The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department told local news station WROC that they often get calls about dogs falling through the ice around this time of year.
“The ice is melting; it’s cracking, getting thinner and thinner, so it’s certainty not safe for anyone to be on ice at this time,” Gallagher said. “Earlier in the year, when we had the hard freeze, it was OK for people to go on the ice but now no one should be on ice.”
A similar story with a happier ending happened on March 15 when a Weymouth, Massachusetts, woman and her dog were rescued from the ice on a river in Hingham, Massachusetts.
According to ABC affiliate WCVB 5, two dogs wandered out onto an ice flow and one became stranded because they were too scared to return. Then the woman went to help them, but became stranded herself after she fell into the water.
Rescuers saved both the dog and the woman without any injuries.
Tips for dog ice safety
Unfortunately, there are many similar stories happening all over the world. Keep yourself and your pooch safe by following smart walking tips for the winter and spring, like the ones that the U.K.’s The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals advised.
- Use a leash – The first step to preventing your pooch from falling through melting ice is to stop them from walking out there in the first place. Although it’s always advised, ensure that you have a leash on your dog when walking at this time of the year. A quick tug on the leash can stop your curious canine from wandering out into dangerous waters.
- Avoid bodies of water – The PDSA explained that avoiding frozen water altogether is a great way to prevent this type of injury. Simply skip the walk by your favorite pond or river until the weather becomes a little warmer.
- Don’t jump in after them – It can be hard to see your pooch struggling to get to safety, but you’re not helping anyone by jumping in. When your body hits that cold water, you’ll lose the ability to help your dog out of this precarious situation. The PDSA instead insisted you get help. While you call the fire department and wait for assistance, feel free to help your pooch the best you can from the edge of the body of water without putting yourself at risk.
- Protect their feet – Although it may be too warm to safely cross the ice, the ice is still cold enough to cause your pooch’s paws trouble. Take steps to ensure that your dog’s paws are protected from ice, salt and chemical ice melt until spring.