Three Keys to Dog’s Safety During Swimming

For many dogs, swimming comes naturally which may be why we refer to one of the most basic swimming techniques as the ‘dogie paddle’. Still it is important to keep your eyes on your dog while in the water since as with humans, even the strongest most confident swimmer can get into trouble. To keep your pet safe follow these steps to prevent, be prepared and stay aware at all times.

PREVENT

The first step of water safety is prevention. Do not allow your dog unsupervised access to any water sources. This may include pools, ponds, and even creeks. If you own a swimming pool, make sure that it is fenced off or has a protective cover so that pets and children can not fall in.

The next best thing to avoiding the water is teaching your dog what to do if he ever does have an encounter. Some dogs may instinctively know what to do while others may not have a clue. This includes certain breeds such as bulldogs and most puppies since their bodies are not proportioned to make them as agile in the water as other dogs such as labs. Also, familiarize your dog with the water sources near your home and the way out of pools and ponds etc since they may not know on their own which side of the pool has the stairs.

Obedience training can save your pet’s life. When your dog knows to obey the word “No,” “Stay,” or “Come” you can stop them from running into a busy street, eating a poisonous substance, and even keep them from drowning by turning them around before heading into deep waters. Some dogs’ with a strong prey drive may be determined to retrieve a ball or stick in deep waters even after you have tried to call them back. In this type of scenario it is wise to have an extra toy on hand that can be used to lured them back.

Be PREPARED

When it is time to let your dogie take a dip do a quick skim of your surroundings and inside the water.  Rivers and oceans can change frequently, and certain areas of water can become treacherous because of currents, tides, and underwater hazards. In the late summer, algae scum on the top of standing water can be toxic, producing substances that can kill a pet who swallows the water. When in doubt, treat it like you would a child: better safe than sorry.

Knowing CPR is a priceless skill when in an emergency situation. While waiting for help to arrive, you may be able to administer the necessary techniques that can mean the difference between life and death.

Keep in mind that puppies, elderly, and debilitated dogs may be safest out of the water all together or on a flotation device under close supervision.

BE AWARE

Keep your dog well hydrated. He may be in water but remember water attracts the sun and he can still become dehydrated and get heat exhaustion. Bring water and offer it to him regularly as well as having snacks or a meal ready for him after swimming. Know when to call it a day. It is good to let our dogs tire themselves out but not to the point of exhaustion which can put them at risk of drowning.

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