Coastguards yesterday warned dog owners they were risking their lives trying to save their pets following four rescues along the east coast over the past few days.
Colin Wood, senior coastguard operations manager for the Moray sector – which stretches from Nairn to Perth – said the problem seemed to be increasing.
Coastguards yesterday abseiled to rescue a collie 30 ft over a cliff at Calder, while other recent recoveries included teams scrambling down the side of a rocky cliff face to save an injured dog after it tumbled from cliffs in Aberdeenshire.
Crews from Banff, Cruden Bay and Peterhead were sent to Slains Castle after an emergency call was received at about 5pm on Saturday.
Also at the weekend a dog owner thanked the quick-thinking volunteers who saved her beloved pet from being swept out to sea.
Sarah Blackburn’s seven-month-old working cocker spaniel started struggling against the tides off the coast of Findhorn on Sunday afternoon.
After 45 minutes of panic and trying to get her back ashore, Luna was rescued by a lifeboat crew from the Moray Inshore Rescue Operation (MIRO).
But Mr Wood said: ”I am becoming increasingly concerned about the number of dog rescues. We carry out at least 20 a year. But we have had four in the last four days – two over cliffs and two in the water – and it seems to be increasing as the weather gets better.
“Fortunately all the dogs that were rescued recently survived, which is a rarity. Findhorn in particular can be particularly bad as the tide rushes through the bay.
“But there is a clear warning to owners – the animal usually survives but the owner who goes to its rescue doesn’t always. I have personally known of two such deaths in the last few years in my area.
“Dogs love adventure and they can easily get into trouble at the coast.
“If they do get into trouble, don’t try to rescue them – they often come back safe and well on their own but you might not. Always keep your dog on a lead near cliffs.
“Don’t try to rescue a dog if it is being swept out to sea. You’re likely to get into difficulty yourself. If your dog gets into trouble, call 999 for the coastguard. Stay calm and keep an eye on the pet.”