With summer upon us, it’s no surprise that most of us try to take advantage of these beautiful days by heading to the beach, splashing in the pool, or playing at the lake. And, of course, we love to bring our beloved pets along for the adventure so they too can enjoy a little fun in the sun. While many dogs are well equipped to swim (hence the name “doggy paddle”) contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers. Each year approximately 40,000 pets die in drowning accidents.
While accidents like this happen for a number of reasons, it is always best to be well prepared to keep your pets safe this season using these tips below.
Tip #1: Practice Makes Perfect
Your dog might need some time to learn how to develop its paddling skills. Get them introduced to the water slowly by swimming with them to make sure they are comfortable, or even buying a kiddie pool to see how they handle the situation. They may or may not take to it at first, but the more they are around it, the more relaxed and confident they will become.
Tip #2: Play it Safe
When in doubt, always make sure your dog is prepared. There are life jackets that are specially designed for dogs and work great to keep your pup afloat while he or she plays in the water. This is a must if your pet is a new or non-swimmer. They also look extremely adorable in them!
Just like us, it is also easy for dogs to become tired if they are too far offshore. They can also develop cramps in their legs, or be carried away by tides. Making sure they are using a floatation device will keep you and your dog at ease.
Tip#3: Check the Water
Even the most crystal clear water can be lingering with bacteria, parasites, and toxic material. By limiting their intake of water and being aware of your surroundings, you can prevent dangerous problems like skin irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, and more from occurring. If possible, it is also important to keep your pet from drinking pool water. The chlorine and other chemicals may cause them to become sick and dehydrated.
Tip #4: Don’t Let your Pet Swim Alone
Supervision during your dog’s swim is essential. Even if they may be a very good swimmer, your pet can run into trouble if they have a hard time getting out of the water. Always make sure they know where to go and how to exit safely before they jump in the water. The animal might also get too tired from continuously swimming or treading, as dogs do not typically understand the idea of resting. This can cause things to turn dangerous quickly. Always be alert and aware of your pet’s whereabouts while playing in the water.
Tip #5: Research
It is always a smart idea to research your breed to see if they might have particular traits that make it more difficult for them to swim. Dogs with short snouts like the pug are prone to shortness of breath and lack of stamina, preventing this breed from swimming long distances. Other breeds that need to be well supervised during swim time are Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs.
Whether your dog is an avid swimmer or avoids the water like the plague, these tips will make sure they are well-prepared and safe for the next time they are near or in the water!