Pet owners can get very attached to their animals and in some cases, they even risk their lives to help save the creatures.
For example, if their dogs get into trouble in water, some owners will jump in after them in a bid to rescue the animals.
However, an expert has pointed out that this is unwise as dogs are in fact better swimmers than humans. After all, their heads are above water and they have a lower centre of gravity. Also, they benefit from having four legs to propel them through the water and their lungs have a higher capacity than humans’. In addition, their fur helps to keep them warm in cold water. Certain dog breeds even have webbed feet.
Dr Lynn Miller, a vet who runs the animal clinic at Travis Air Force Base north of San Francisco in the US, said: “The human-animal bond is no joke. Most pet owners are very attached to their pets. But you’re not going to save your dog by risking your own life. It does your dog no favours in the end if he comes back and you’re dead. Then what is he going to do?”
She added that when they are swept out to sea, dogs can find their way back to shore using currents and their fight-or flight-instinct. The animals are single-minded and focus on finding safety. In contrast, humans can panic and become distracted.
Also, owners who try to rescue dogs in water may go into shock from the cold and they can tire easily.
In addition, people do not tend to think about what will happen if they follow a dog and manage to reach it alive. About this, the expert remarked: “Fifty pounds of wet dog is absolutely no fun to drag anywhere, much less back to shore.”