Summer is here, and with it comes lots of fun outdoor activities and plenty of swimming time for you and your family to enjoy. If you have a pool or find yourself spending time at the lake or beach during these long, lazy days, then you should be up on water safety for every member of your household, including pets. With that in mind, we’ve put together five summer safety tips for swimming with dogs.
1. Unsupervised Swimming
First off, just like kids, you should never allow your dogs to swim unsupervised. Unattended pups can get into a lot of trouble this way, so you should always keep an eye on them, no matter how strong a swimmer you think they might be. There’s always a chance that, upon entering the water or exiting it, they could harm themselves and flounder. If you’re not there to help them, the results could be disastrous.
2. Marking Exit Points
Because dogs don’t have the greatest depth perception, it’s always a good idea to mark your pool steps with something large and easily identifiable so they can find their way out, should they become disoriented. You can use planters, statuary or a tethered float. If you don’t have graduated steps leading in/out of your pool, your pets should never be in it alone. You might also want to consider getting a pool ramp, no matter what your step situation is.
The same goes for lakes. If they’re in the water, stand near the shoreline where it’s easiest to exit and call them in a few times until they know the drill. If you’re at the beach, where rip currents can occur, stay in the water with them and don’t let them go too far out. Dogs don’t know to swim parallel to the beach until they’ve broken free of the current.
3. Life Preservers
When at home, make sure you’ve got a large floatie or raft poolside or even a life preserver handy in case one of your pets gets into trouble in the deep end. Tired or panicked dogs could put up a struggle, and one of these apparatus could end up saving their lives and possibly yours, if something happened — especially if it’s a larger dog that could weigh you down. The same goes at the lake or beach, keep a Styrofoam ring or paddle board handy, just in case.
4. Life Jackets or Vests
It’s always a good idea to have proper fitting life jackets for your dogs, and this can’t be stressed enough when it comes to small pets that may not have the strength that a larger breed would. A life vest is also an excellent idea for older dogs, puppies and dogs that are not well equipped for swimming, such as canines with short, stumpy legs or brachycephalic dogs that not only have trouble breathing, but are muscle bound and have a tendency to sink, like Frenchies. Find a vest with a handle on it.
5. Swimming After Care
Once all the splashing around and cooling off is done, rinse Fido off to remove dirt, salt, bacteria or chlorine from their skin and coat. Also, dry the insides of their ears thoroughly to avoid ear infections. Moisture in the canal can wreak havoc with them. This is especially important for breeds prone to recurrent ear problems, such as yeast infections. Lastly, don’t leave wet collars on while they’re drying off, or your pooch could end up with hot spots as a result.
By following these five simple summer safety tips for swimming with dogs, you and your pets can enjoy months of carefree dips.