In addition to prevention, every person who walks a pet should try to at least have a passing familiarity with what electrocution looks like, says Rustigian. “People often don’t know what’s happening to their pets in these stories, and that’s a problem” she said. A dog that gets an electric shock may yelp for what appears to be no apparent reason, or may even appear burned. The electric shock may cause irregular heartbeat, involuntary muscle contractions of the dog’s jaw, or it may cause dogs to cough, have difficulty breathing or drool.
“If you believe your dog may have been electrocuted, it’s important to never directly pull the animal away from the source,” says Rustigian. “Preferably you’d be able to use something like a broomstick, or something else with a nonconductive surface, to separate them and take them to the vet.”
Check out the CVIC Resources page for educational information about contact voltage in your specific area, and for links to critical resources and updates about what’s being done. You can click on your state in the map for links to key decision makers in your area, and write, email or call them with any specific questions or concerns.
Image: Aaron_M / via Flickr