Take to the Water and Dog-Paddle! Swimming Safety for Dogs
When temperatures increase and the water is so appealing, what self-respecting pooch doesn’t want to take a dip in the pool, lake, or river? Many dogs naturally take to water, but not every dog likes being wet or is comfortable with this form of exercise. Even if your water-loving fur ball loves to swim, there are several things to consider to keep them safe.
To help you and your bestie enjoy the hotter months ahead, here are our top tips regarding swimming safety for dogs.
Swimming Safety for Dogs
- Make sure your dog can and wants to swim. There’s a misconception out there that all dogs love water and can swim. However, short-nosed, brachycephalic breeds should not swim, as well as those with certain health issues. And some dogs just dislike swimming. Make sure your pet is healthy enough to swim by checking with your veterinarian before hitting the water.
- Provide swimming lessons. Whether you choose to train your pet or sign up for swimming lessons, easing into the process is a good idea. Make sure your pet is able to comfortably paddle around in shallow water before allowing them to move into deeper waters (and always with supervision).
- Outfit them with a life vest. Even if your dog is an adept swimmer, all animals can become tired or be at risk of an accident. Have your pet measured for a properly fitting life vest for dogs; keep it on even if you’re on a boat.
- Watch for currents. If you’re swimming in a river, ocean, or other natural area, avoid windy days, and watch for currents. On an ocean, stay near the shore, and swim with your pet so you can get them out of the water quickly if needed. Also ensure your pet comes when called. Obedience training and basic commands are important!
- Create an escape route for pets in your pool. If a pet falls into a pool, they’re often unable to hoist themselves out, which poses a drowning risk. To be safe, outfit your pool with a pet ramp. Also consider fencing off the pool area if your pet is allowed to be in the backyard without you around.
- Be aware of heat and sun. Even if you’re in the water, when it’s hot outside, your pet can easily get a sunburn or develop heatstroke. Be aware of the signs, and stay indoors when it’s simply too hot for anyone to be out, pets and people alike.
- Provide a place to rest in the shade. Whether you’re boating, on the beach, lounging poolside, or hitting the waves, make sure there’s a place nearby with shade for your pet to relax in.
- Mind the paws. Paws are particularly sensitive to sharp objects, rocks, and hot sand, which can actually cause painful burns. Watch out for concrete and decks, and invest in some booties to better protect fragile paw pads.
- Watch for broken glass and debris. Shorelines and lake shores can be full of fishing lures, hooks, broken glass, and debris. Keep your pet away from these areas.
- Supervise and respond. Most importantly, supervise your pet, even if they’re just in the backyard pool. Accidents happen faster than you might expect. If your pet is uncomfortable or tired, get them out of the water pronto.
Lastly, don’t forget to check your pet for cuts and parasites, bring along fresh water for drinking, and dry off thoroughly at the end of the day.
For more tips about swimming with dogs or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call!