With the dog days of summer almost upon us, there are many of us who plan on spending every chance we can get splashing in the pool or hanging out at the beach, lake, or river. Of course, if you are like many pet parents, this includes bringing pets on the adventure for a little fun in the sun.
Now many dogs are well equipped to swim (it isn’t called the “doggy paddle” for nothing), but contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers. In fact each year approximately 40,000 pets die in drowning accidents. While accidents like this happen for many different reasons, it is always best to be well prepared to keep your pets safe this season with these essential tips.
Five Water Safety Tips for Dogs and Pets
Tip #1: Play it safe
When in doubt, always make sure your dog is prepared. There are life jackets that are uniquely designed for dogs and work great to keep your pup afloat while he or she plays in the water. This is a must if your pet is a new or non-swimmer. It also doesn’t hurt that it also makes for one great photo op when you see how cute they look in it.
Just like us, it is also easy for dogs to become tired if they are too far offshore, develop cramps in their legs, or be carried by tides. By making sure they are using a floatation device it will keep both you and your dog at ease.
Tip #2: Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming
Your dog might need some time to learn how to develop its paddling skills. Get them introduced to the water slowly. This could include swimming with them to make sure they are comfortable, or even buying a “kiddie pool” to see how they handle the situation. They may or may not take to it at first, but if the more they are around it, the more comfortable they will become.
Tip#3: Check the Water
Even the most crystal clear water can be lingering with bacteria, parasites, and toxic material. This can lead to skin irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, and other health issues. Limiting their intake of water and being aware of your surroundings can prevent these problems from occurring.
If possible, it is also important to keep your pet from drinking pool water. The chlorine and other chemicals may cause them to become sick and dehydrated.
Tip #4: Never Let Your Pet Swim Alone
Supervision during your dog’s swim is essential. Even if they may be a very good swimmer, your pet can run into trouble if they are having a hard time exiting the water. The animal might also get too tired from continuously swimming, as dogs do not typically understand the concept of resting. If they are tired, the situation can turn dangerous quickly. Always be alert and aware of your pet’s whereabouts while playing in the water.
Tip #5: Do Your Research
Not all dogs are designed to be water warriors. Dogs with short snouts like the pug are prone to shortness of breath and lack of stamina preventing this breed from swimming laps around the pool. Other breeds that need to be well supervised during swim time are Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs. It is always a great idea to research your breed to see if they might have particular traits that might make it more difficult for them in the water.
Whether your dog is the next Michael Phelps or avoids the water like the plague, these tips will make sure they are well prepared for the next time they are near or in the water.