One of the best parts of summertime and the warmer weather it brings is the opportunity to do more outdoors; especially swimming. For most of us, swimming is synonymous with summer. Whether it’s in a pool, lake or beach area, there’s just something about being in the water when it’s warm outside. Another great aspect of summer is the opportunity to spend more time with our pets and most pets, especially dogs, love to hang with their humans when they’re swimming. However, believe it or not, water safety for dogs is just as important as it is for humans, so we’d like to take this opportunity to offer some very practical tips for keeping your dogs safe when swimming.
WATER SAFETY TIPS
The first rule for keeping your dog safe around water is don’t assume your dog is a good swimmer. Not all breeds of dogs are swimmers and not all dogs like the water, this being the case, it’s important to gradually introduce your dog to the water if he is not accustomed to it. This is especially important for puppies. If you have a puppy, help him learn how to swim by allowing him to ease into the shallow portion of the lake or on the first step of the pool. As he gets comfortable, he will likely start to dog paddle, but be sure and stay close by since dogs can tire easily in the water; especially puppies. Here are some additional tips for keeping your dog safe around the swimming pool:
- Train your dog not to go near the pool without you
- Secure the pool area when no one is around
- Provide a ramp for your dog to easily climb out when needed
- Don’t allow your dog to drink the pool water; chlorine has chemicals that can make him sick
Here are some safety tips for swimming near a lake, river or beach area:
- Make sure your dog wears a life vest any time he is around a natural body of water.
- Always bring fresh drinking water for your dog when swimming in natural bodies of water. Sometimes these natural bodies of water can have algae or other forms of contamination that are unhealthy.
- If you’re near a river, check the current of the water to ensure it’s safe for him (and you) to swim.
- Keep your dog away from fishing gear, such as sharp hooks, that can cause harm.
GENERAL SAFETY TIPS
Regardless of where you may be swimming with your dog, here are some general tips to follow:
- Rinse him off after every swim, whether it’s in a pool, lake or beach. The chlorine from the pool or minerals from the lake or beach can be irritating to their skin and fur.
- Thoroughly dry out your dog’s ears after every swim. This will help to prevent any infection. A good ear cleaner with a drying agent is good to keep on hand.
- Learn canine CPR which includes mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions, which can save your dog’s life.
- Never leave your dog alone near water.
In general, any precaution you would take for yourself, you should also take for your dog. Swimming is one of the more fun aspects of summer, but it also comes with risk. Following general safety rules and being wise around water will keep you and your dog safe.