Dog walkers are being urged not to jump into the water to save panicking pets.
The RNLI has launched a campaign highlighting the risks, saying it is far more likely a human will drown than an animal.
More than 200 people have lost their lives walking around the coastline since 2011, many trying to rescue dogs.
Jan Coles, 45, a company director, says a lifeboat crew saved her dog Blodwen’s life after she was swept out to sea on her beach walk.
Like many owners, she wanted to leap in after the four-year-old staffie cross. But she fought the urge.
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Jan said: “Blodwen was a good 60 to 70 metres from the shore and panic had set in. She was floating further and further away and there was nothing for her to cling on to.
“It was so frightening. I was thinking of swimming out to try to rescue her. I thought I was going to lose her.
“I called 999 and minutes later the lifeboat crew were racing towards her.”
The pup was tired and cold but otherwise unscathed. And she was delighted to be reunited with Jan, who says the experience has made her much more away of water safety.
Jan, who had been walking near her home in Burry Port, near Swansea, last summer, said: “I can’t thank the RNLI enough. They saved Blodwen and stopped me from trying to swim out to her, putting myself at risk.”
Alun Wells from Burry Port RNLI, said: “Jan did what we’d encourage any dog walker to do if their animal gets into difficulty on or near the sea – call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
“It can be tempting for dog walkers to enter the water and try to rescue their beloved animals but they can put themselves in serious danger.”
The RNLI is urging owners to call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard if by the coast or ask for fire and rescue if at an inland waterside location.
Its drowning prevention campaign, in partnership with Vets4Pets, was launched in Wales with vets educating owners in surgeries and across social media about risks.
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