Summer is a happy time filled with plenty of fun in the sun, including swimming with your dog. However, if you have a pool in your yard or residential complex, dog safety is an important consideration, both in and out of the cooling waters.
Doggie paddling is not possible for all pups
While we may imagine that all dogs love to swim, this is not true for every dog — in fact, some dogs simply cannot swim. Dogs with large heads, such as bulldogs, have a very difficult time swimming, as do dogs with extremely thick coats. Determine if your dog can swim by researching the breed or consulting your vet.
Supervising Your Dog
Always supervise your dog in the pool, because even those that are ordinarily good swimmers may panic in the pool, especially during their first few times in the water. That panic can lead your dog to burn huge amounts of energy and tire quickly.
Wearing a Life Jacket in and around the Pool
A lifejacket is always a good idea for dogs and people alike around the pool. Dogs who do not want to swim or cannot swim should always wear one. The extra buoyancy that the jacket provides will keep your pooch floating safely in the water, and can help build confidence in dogs that are unsure in the water.
How to prevent your dog from drinking pool water
Dogs will instinctively want to drink pool water, and chlorinated pool water (or salt water, if you have a saltwater pool) will cause tummy upset. Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available for your dog to drink at poolside to reduce the chance of him drinking pool water, and guide him to the proper water if he starts lapping at the pool.
Helping Your Dog Get out of the Pool
One of the biggest pool dangers is the possibility that a dog may not be able to get out of the pool. Products like the Scamp Ramp are built to help dogs (and wildlife that find their way into the drink) get out of the water safely if unsupervised.
Make sure your dog knows where the pool stairs are so that, if he should get into the pool when you are not present, he will know how to get out on his own. Use a floating toy (or treats, if your dog is especially treat-motivated – meat treats like hot dog pieces will not disintegrate in the water) as a training tool to encourage this.
After the Swim
After the swim, protect your dog’s skin by giving him a freshwater rinse that will remove chlorine from his fur, skin and paws. Take a moment to dry out your dog’s ears with a dry towel, preventing future ear infections caused by too much moisture in the ear canal.
Taking Extra Precautions When the Pool is Covered
When summer ends, many pools are covered with seasonal covers. Some are weighted on the edges or secured, which can also stop your dog from getting hurt when they walk out onto the edges. It is important to remember that while many pool covers are rated to hold human weight, not all are (and even the strongest are not safe unless they are properly secured along the perimeter). Keep your dog away from the pool cover until it is time for the next swimming season, perhaps with a fence and/or a child safety gate. You want him safe year-round!
For an entertaining video of dogs at play in the pool click here.