Taking a dip in the water is a great way to cool off from the summer heat. You and your dog can have a lot of fun together splashing around in your pool or at your local swimming spot, but you need to take precautions. A day of fun can easily take a turn if you are not prepared. To ensure you and Fido have a safe time splashing around in all types of water, take note of these water safety tips below: Learn to Swim Many people think all dogs are natural swimmers, but that is not always the case. The only way to find out how well your dog can swim is by slowly introducing him/her to water. Never just throw your dog in, this can be very traumatizing and you may find out quickly your dog can’t swim at all! It’s also important to realize that not all dogs will actually enjoy the water so if your dog resists don’t push. Follow these steps to introduce your dog to the water:
- Start at the edge, keeping your dog on a leash, and let them check it out on their own terms. If they are enjoying splash around at the edge go on to the next step.
- Find a shallow spot in the water and have your dog come out to you.
- When your dog begins to paddle with their front legs, lift their hind legs to show them how to float.
- If your dog’s showing skill throw a toy into deeper water for him/her to fetch and bring back.
Remember to never leave your dog alone in the water, always make sure you are with your dog and never lose sight of them while they are playing in the water. Even dogs that swim well can tire very quickly, even faster than you, because they don't understand the concept of resting or treading water – they just swim and swim, until they can't anymore. When swimming with your dog, don't let them swim too far away from you, because they could get into trouble quickly. NEVER let your dog drink the water, whether it’s the pool, ocean or lake, there are things in the water that can make your dog very ill. Be sure to have fresh water with you to keep your dog hydrated. Tips for the Pool Having a pool in your yard is perfect, you don’t have to go far to cool off! Here’s how to keep it safe and pet friendly:
- Get a fence up around your pool and when it’s not time to swim be sure that the entrance is closed and locked, so that your pup doesn’t wonder in when you’re not watching.
- Do you have a cover for your pool? Make sure it’s sturdy and let’s rain water drain through. Dogs have drowned in puddles on top of pool covers or have collapsed the pool cover entirely and drowned.
- Teach your dog how to get in and out of your pool. Show them where the steps are or a ramp that can be used for them to climb out of the pool.
You should always check the temperature of the water, not just the pool, wherever you are swimming, because some breeds can’t handle very cold water. So if it’s too cold for you it’s probably too cold for your dog. Tips for a River, Lake or Pond Mother Nature has provided us with some really nice fresh water spots to take a dip on a hot summer day. If you plan on taking your dog for dip at any of these spots keep these safety tips in mind:
- Steer clear of areas with blue-green algae, this could make your dog sick. Learn more about the toxic effects of algae here.
- Remove your dog’s collar while he is swimming to avoid it snagging on any underwater plants or branches.
- Always keep your pet away from people fishing. You don’t want him running into a hook or caught in a fishing line.
- If you are on a river check the current. Make sure you are swimming where it is safe, not where the currents are strong and can cause trouble for you and your dog.
Tips for The Beach If you have a dog friendly beach in your area follow these safety tips below:
- Be aware of hot sand. If the sand is hot for you it’s too hot for your pooch. You may want to take your trips to the beach in the morning or in the evening when the sand isn’t so hot to avoid your pet's paws getting burned.
- Watch out for jellyfish. You may find some washed up on the beach, don’t let your dog go and stick his nose in it.
- Watch out for broken shells as well. Sharp shells can hurt your pet’s paws.
- Just like the river check the current, if it’s too rough it’s not a good idea to let your dog swim. Keep him/her on the leash and let them splash around close to shore.
- The beach can get very hot and there is no shade. So once again be sure to bring water with you to keep your dog hydrated, heat stroke is a very real danger. Learn more about heat stroke on our blog ‘Summer Safety Tips for Pet Owners’.
Tips for a Boat Being on a boat during the summer is a great way to spend the day, but if you plan to bring your dog along you must be prepared to keep them safe.
- Make sure your dog has a life preserver on at all times. If your dog jumps or falls off the boat this will not only keep him a float, but he will be easier to spot.
- You should be sure before you venture out on your boat that if your dog were to jump or fall into the water you are capable of pulling him out and back on board. If you have a big dog and you, or anyone on board, can not physically lift your dog from the water it might not be the best idea to bring him, unless you can put him in a confined area where they would be unable to jump or fall in.
- When boating at night you should always keep your dog in a confined area or close to your side. If they were to fall or jump in at night they will be much harder to locate even with a life preserver.
- If there will be fishing on the boat keep your dog away from the bait, fishing lines, hooks or other sharp objects, which can all pose a danger to your dog.
- You should always use a pet sunblock on your dog when you're going to be out in the sun, but especially if you are out on the water all day where the sun’s rays are very strong, your dog will definitely need protection.
After Swimming Tips Always make sure to clean your dog up after a swim.
- Rinse your dog off with the hose after he has been in any type of water. Seawater minerals, salt, chlorine, algae, and pollution can irritate or damage his skin and fur.
- Rinse and check your dog’s paws for any damage, this is a great time to apply our Certified Organic Paw Rescue to keep your dog’s paws healthy.
- Don’t forget the ears! Moisture in a dog's ear can set the ideal stage for an ear infection, so make sure to clean your pooch's ears thoroughly after each romp in the water. Our Pura-Tips™ Ear Cleansing System is an easy, all-natural way to clean your dog’s ears.
We hope you found these tips helpful and if you have any tips of your own please share them with us in the comments below. Be sure to check back on our blog as we post more summertime tips for pet owners!