Oh, the sounds of summer! Many people and their pets will spend numerous hours this summer basking on a beach, boating in a lake, or even lounging by a pool in their own backyard. Many pets love being around water, but each year approximately 40,000 pets lose their lives in drowning accidents. You need to look out for your pet around water, since even the strongest, most enthusiastic swimmers can get into trouble. The keys to water safety for dogs are prevention, preparedness and awareness.
Believe it or not, not all breeds are Micheal Phelps-type swimmers. For example, the Bassett Hound and English Bulldog just are not built for swimming, so it is important to have a secure fence and gate around your pool and never leave your pet unsupervised.
Make sure that your pet can get out of the pool. If it jumps or falls in, it may panic and drown. Even the strongest swimmers can tire easily.
If you are taking your pet boating or in a river or ocean, it may be wise to invest in a dog floatation device and use it. Just like people, it’s easy for your pet to develop a cramp and become exhausted too far from shore or get overwhelmed by the tides.
Since pools are filled with chemicals that control the water and algae, and lakes and ponds can be a common source for parasites, it may be a good idea to bring fresh drinking water for your pet. The chemicals and parasites can cause your pet to become ill, which may lead to vomiting, diarrhea and other health issues.
One of the best things that you can do is to take courses in pet first aid and CPR. These are available at many local Red Cross chapters and sometimes taught by a local veterinarian. A near-death dog rescued from the water may be saved by your prompt actions—if you know what to do.
As I mentioned before, if your dog isn’t much of a swimmer or is older and debilitated, get him a personal floatation device. These are especially great for family boating trips, because most have study handles for rescue when a pet goes overboard. It is also important to keep a long leash on the boat at all times in case you need to restrain your pet for any reason.
It is also important to bring fresh water to rinse off your pet after swimming to get out the chlorine and other pool chemicals, as well as bacteria and dirt he might get on him from an ocean or lake. Don’t let your dog sit in a wet collar as hot spots can develop as well.
Be aware of your dog’s condition as he plays. Remember that even swimming dogs can get hot, so bring fresh water and offer it at every opportunity. When your dog is tiring, call it a day. A tired dog is a good dog, but an exhausted dog is in danger of drowning.
Be particularly careful with young and old dogs. Young dogs can panic in the water and old dogs may not realize that they aren’t as strong as they used to be. Keep them close to shore, and keep swimming sessions short.
During the hot summer, many dogs are drawn to water to cool off and swimming also meet your dog’s exercise needs with a low-impact option of movement. But accidents can happen in a hurry. So try to prevent these accidents by being prepared and aware. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.