Water safety for you and your dog
On a hot summer day, there’s nothing like cooling off at the beach, in the pool or by the lake. The only thing better is enjoying it with your dog. But, just like you would do with your family, there are safety precautions you need to take when heading to the water.
Don’t assume every dog can swim. If your dog is not comfortable with the water, panic can set in and lead to accidents and drowning. It’s important to let your dog get comfortable with the water, slowly. Even if your dog is a confident swimmer and it’s not his or her first time, every lake, pool and beach is different. Start first by playing with them in the shallow end or close to shore. Take your time and don’t force or rush them to go too far out.
Keep a fence or barrier around your pool. If your dog likes to swim, make sure he or she knows how to exit the pool and train them where the ramps or stairs are located. Just like children, don’t leave your dog unattended by the pool when you’re not around. According to PetMD, thousands of dogs drown each year in backyard swimming pools.
If you have a senior dog, swimming is probably not the best activity, unless under the care of a physical therapist or specialist. Lack of mobility, poor eyesight or medical conditions could all contribute to an accident in or by the water.
A beach day can be tons of fun for you and your pet. But the same rules of common sense apply to dogs as they do to humans. Rough waves and riptides can occur without notice. A life vest is a smart thing to consider for even for the most experienced canine swimmers. Don’t assume that if your dog gets into trouble in the water that you’ll be able to help and trying to save a panicked, struggling dog in the water could spell disaster for you and them. Many pet friendly beaches allow pets only after regular beach hours and don’t have lifeguards on duty. When the sun goes down and the water gets cold, pets will have a harder time seeing and maneuvering in the water.
Keep your pet away from jetty’s and rocks. Steer clear of any areas where people are fishing or using water toys, surfboards or motorized water vehicles, like jet ski’s or water skis.
Salt water is not good for dogs, so you’ll want to limit their exposure and keep their time in the water short. Rinse their coats off thoroughly afterwards, as the salt and sand dries out their skin. Clear any sand, shells or small rocks from in between your dogs pads. Keep them from drinking the salt water and keep plenty of clean, fresh water on hand.
Keep sun exposure to a minimum. Don’t forget, dogs get sunburned too. Consider pet sunscreen, especially if your dog has light or short hair. And always bring a beach umbrella or small pop up tent to make sure you and your dog have a place to get a break from the suns hot rays.
Keep an eye on the temperature, as it can escalate quickly. Pool surfaces and beach sand hold hot temps long after the sun goes down and could cause damage to our dog’s sensitive pads. For more hot weather info, check out our “Cool Tips for Hot Days” here: https://housewithaheart.com/cool-tips-hot-days/
Make lasting memories and avoid accidents this summer by just keeping these few tips in mind. As always…have fun and be safe when heading out with your furry friend.