Companies Urge Pool Safety

With weather warming, pet device makers issue warning.

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As spring and summer approach, heralding prime swimming pool season, the makers of various pet safety devices are alerting pet owners of the possibility of pet drownings.

While statistics for cats are unavailable, Terrapin Communications of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada estimates at least 5,000 dogs drown in the U.S. each year; Skamper Industries of Charleston, S.C. estimates 10,000 dogs.

Both companies, which manufacture swimming pool safety devices for pets, claim the actual number of pet drownings are much higher than their estimates. The companies base their estimates based on overall number of pets and pools in the U.S. and anecdotal reports of drownings.

Bob Lyons of Terrapin, for example, notes that his pool service and builder customers on average hear about one pet drowning from their clients every other year. Lyons says veterinarians he speaks to report about the same incidence of cases: one every other year.

Lyons estimates 450,000 new pools are built each year. The U.S pet cat population: an estimated 90 million.

While cats can swim short distances, they may have trouble exiting the pool, Lyons said.

Terrapin makes The Safety Turtle system that alerts pet owners when their pets enter the water; Skamper manufactures the Skamper-Ramp to help pets exit pools.

Posted: March 9, 2006, 3 p.m. PST

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