Dogs are at risk of dehydration, heatstroke, and even death during the hot summer months, which is why it is important that you not only provide your pet with plenty of water to drink, but also the opportunity to swim to keep cool.
Although swimming is a great way to keep pets from overheating while providing exercise, many dogs drown each year from preventable accidents. Here are some pool safety tips for your pet:
Make sure that your dog knows how/where to get out of the water safely:
When a dog falls into a lake or river, they instinctively tries to get out at the point where they fell in. If the same happens in a pool, it can cause your pet to drown. If you have a pool, it is important that you teach your dog how to exit by:
- Attaching a recall lead to his collar.
- Gently directing your dog into the pool via the steps. He will instinctively turn around to leave the pool from that point of entry.
- Repeat this multiple times until your dog realises how easy it is to get out of the water via the steps.
- Now, go to the other end of the pool and place your pet gently into the water. Using the recall lead, guide him to the step area with minimal help.
Keep your eye on your pet while in the pool
Swimming can be extremely tiring for dogs, plus not all of them are good swimmers. Just like many dogs chase a Frisbee or ball to the point of collapse, they will continue to swim without any thought of exhaustion. So, watch for signs of fatigue to guide your dog out of the water in time.
Remove the collar before allowing your pet to get into the water. This is particularly important in open waters as the chain or slip collar could snag your pet on hidden underwater plants or branches.
Consider getting a floatation device for your dog
If you don’t have a floatation device for your dog, it is advisable that you or other family members playing with the dog wear their floatation devices in the event that they try to help their pet and find themselves in trouble.
In a boat your dog should always wear a lifejacket to protect your pet from the usual dangers: fast currents, muscle cramps, fatigue, and hypothermia.
Use appropriate toys for water play
Avoid sticks and any toys with a sharp end that could cause serious injury. Instead, use a ball.
Some dogs have sensitive skin and are prone to rashes and swimmer’s ear. So, immediately after a swim, rinse your pet off with clean water with focus on the ears. For sensitive dogs, use dog shampoo to get rid of all contaminants, and then dry the ears thoroughly.