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Hot tub warning to dog owners after Labrador left ‘gasping for air’ having swallowed foam

© Vets NowCooper the labrador
Cooper the labrador

Vets have issued a warning to pet owners after a puppy was rushed for emergency treatment having swallowed hot tub foam.

Labrador Cooper, who had just turned one, was left ‘gasping for air’ after licking the top of the water when his owners had turned their backs for a minute.

Sales of hot tubs have boomed during lockdown, and staycation properties often offer them as an extra attraction.

“We’ve always been really cautious with the hot tub, but Cooper has never shown any interest at all in going near it,” said owner Joanne McGovern, from Cambuslang.

“It was a lovely Sunday and my partner had topped up the chemicals, put the jets on and popped into the house for a moment.

“I was in the living room and almost immediately Cooper came in like he was gasping for breath.

“I ran into the garden and when I saw water on the steps by the tub, I realised he’d got up and licked the foam with all the chemicals.

“It was so scary. We phoned Vets Now right away, and they said to put him in the car and get him to them just as fast as we could.

“It was longest journey of my life. I was crying all the way and kept talking to him to make sure he was still with us.”

© Vets Now
Cooper had a lucky escape

Cooper was taken to the Vets Now hospital in Glasgow city centre, where McGovern was able to tell the staff exactly what cleaning products were used in the tub and read out the chemicals they contained.

“When we did the examination, Cooper was making noise similar to reverse sneezing,” said vet Nicole Laws.

“But, thankfully, there was no breathing difficulty or ulceration of the mouth, nose or eyes; we were able to establish which chemicals, including chlorine, he had ingested and were causing the respiratory irritation.

“We gave him some medication to treat this.”

The dangers for dogs

Laws added: “Cooper’s case highlights the dangers of hot tubs for pet owners and I’m so pleased to hear he’s back to normal. He was an incredibly affectionate dog.

“We have seen numerous cases involving pets almost drowning in hot tubs or suffering an extreme reaction after inhaling treated hot tub water into their lungs.

“We’d advise owners with hot tubs, or who are visiting somewhere with them, to always keep their dog away from them and to cover them up when not in use.”

The team treated Cooper and then monitored his condition over the next few hours before allowing him tor return home with medication for his airways and eyes.

Thankfully, he has since made a full recovery.

“Even though I knew we’d got him to the right place, it was really frightening,” said mum-of-two McGovern.

“It happened so quickly. I would never have left my wee girls unattended by the hot tub and you’ve really got to be every bit as cautious with dogs as you would be with children.”


Visit Vets Now’s website for more information on their services