Splash! Pool Safety for Dogs
With temperatures soaring, a nice swim has never been more tempting, and swimming can be a great outdoor activity for you and your dog to do together. Summer can be the perfect time to take a dip with your furry buddy.
Before you and your pal take the plunge though, follow these steps and make sure you know how to keep your dog safe and happy in the water.
1. Know Your Dog:
Before you let your pup join you in the pool, make sure you know how comfortable he is with water, and how strong of a swimmer he is. It can be easy to assume (especially if your dog falls into a notoriously water-loving breed) that your dog instinctively knows how to swim and is comfortable in the water. However, your dog’s comfort and strength in the water is individual and it is important that you know that your dog is a confident swimmer who enjoys the water before you plan a day of pool or ocean swimming for him.
You can easily ascertain your dog’s affinity for the water by easing him into some quiet, shallow water. Start by keeping him on the leash and entering the water with him. Be physically and mentally prepared to support your dog’s weight and help him exit safely if he doesn’t seem to be swimming. Your dog should paddle with their front legs instinctively, a younger dog, or a dog who has never been around water may need help swimming for the first few times. If this is the case for your dog, support his belly and hind legs while he paddles, once he seems comfortable, ease into only supporting his hind legs. Remember that it takes patience to teach an animal any skill and be prepared for several quiet, one on one sessions if you plan to teach your dog to swim.
While breed is not a good indicator of which dog’s will be strong swimmers, it is a good indicator of which dogs will not do well in the water. Short-snouted dogs like pugs and bulldogs, are notoriously weak swimmers and can be prone to drowning. If your dog falls into this category, stick to dry land.
If your dog is stressed or afraid of water, never force him into a pool. Let your dog decide if and when he’s ready to join you in some splashy fun.
2. Know Your Pool:
Never allow a dog to be unattended near a pool. Keep your pool fenced, and make sure your dog knows the rules and will respect the fence. When you are swimming with your dog, bring him to the steps out of the pool several times and if possible on a few different occasions. Knowing where the steps in a pool are is crucial and could save your dog’s life should he ever fall in.
3. Before the Swim:
Make your dog's safety a priority. Invest in a dog life jacket and make sure your dog is comfortable wearing it. Consider taking a class on canine CPR or at least do some research before bringing your dog into the pool. Youtube can be a great resource for learning skills like CPR but in the middle of a crisis is not the time to be looking things up. Take some time before you bring your dog in the water to make sure you know what do to help your dog in an emergency.
Swimming is physically strenuous for dogs and can be exhausting make sure you allow your dog time to rest and provide shade and plenty of fresh drinking water.
Pool water is not acceptable drinking water. The chemicals that keep pools clean and free of bacteria are harsh on your pooch’s stomach--not to mention pool water is actually dehydrating. Never let your dog drink pool water.
5. After the Swim:
When you and your buddy are done swimming for the day, rinse your dog off in clean, fresh water. Just like you don’t want your dog drinking the pool water, you don’t want those harsh chemicals drying on his coat. Also make sure you thoroughly clean the inside of his ears as dogs can be prone to ear infections after swimming.