To ensure that your dog has a great time hanging out by the pool this summer, it is important to know some water safety tips that are specific to the pool area. If you read our article on swimming tips for dogs in natural water, you already have an idea of what you can do to keep your dog safe while swimming in rivers, oceans, and lakes. While many of these tips are also useful when your dog is swimming in the pool, there are some specific safety tips that you should be aware of. To ensure that everyone has a safe and splashin’ time in the water read on!
Disclaimer: All pet pool time should be supervised!
DOG PROOF YOUR POOL
The best way to ensure that your dog doesn’t fall or jump into the pool when you are not around is to install barriers. Self-closing gates around the pool or on the deck can deter your dog from getting too close to the water. You might be surprised at how quickly your dog can overcome the barriers that you have set up, so make sure you’re always available to supervise time around the pool! The deck or area surrounding your pool can become quite slippery when wet, and your dog (or even people) could fall in when they are walking or running near the water. In order to ensure that the pool area stays safe, rubber mats or specialty foam tiles can be placed around the area to reduce slipping. Summer barbeques are an awesome warm weather activity, but if people are eating in and around the pool it might entice your dog to jump in for a food reward or they might become excited and fall in. If your pet is highly distracted by food it might be a good idea to move the party away from the water so that guests can eat and your dog can stay dry. Lastly, providing an easy way for your dog to enter and leave the pool, such as a pet ramp or stairs, means that they will never be stuck in the water. If your pet falls into the pool it is essential that they have a safe and easy way to get back out, as this could save their life.
ACT LIKE A LIFEGUARD
Teaching your dog good recall and basic swimming skills is essential, but your pet might need a few additional lessons around the pool in order to ensure their safety. Besides teaching your pet basic swimming skills, showing them where and how to enter/exit the pool safely is the best thing that you can do for your pet. Designating “pet safe” areas around the pool is another thing that you can do to make sure that your pet stays safe. For example, jumping off of the diving board can be very unsafe if your pet tries to jump in the water and gets hurt. In this case, it would be helpful to teach your pet that going near the diving board is not permissible.
THE BUDDY SYSTEM IS GREAT BUT…
If you have more than one pooch at home, or if your dog has any pals that they like to swim with, buddy swimming lessons are strongly recommended. Dogs who are not used to swimming together may get overexcited or panic, which could result in injury or drowning. Dogs who play well together on land could react very differently if they panic while they are in the water. Therefore dogs who swim together frequently should be trained in the water together if possible. Teach all of the dogs who will be in the pool together the basic swimming and obedience skills that they will need in the water, as well as where they can get out. If fights often ensue over toys, try to avoid tossing play things in the pool.
NO CHLORINE COCKTAILS PLEASE
While a little pool water in the mouth shouldn’t cause your dog any harm, avoid letting them drink copious amounts of chlorinated water as it could upset their stomach. As always, if your dog is outside enjoying the hot weather make sure to provide plenty of fresh drinking water.
WORST CASE SCENARIO…
If your dog does panic because they have fallen into the water be cautious about jumping into the pool with them, especially if they are large or heavy. A dog who is panicking might try to cling to you to get out of the water which could result in potential injury for both parties. If your dog does fall into the pool, call them to the edge using a calm and steady voice to avoid causing further panic. Once your dog is at the edge of the pool or in shallow water you should be able to assist them out safely. If your dog is frequently in and around the pool investing in a properly fitted life vest is a great idea to keep them safe.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Ending the swimming session when your dog has had enough physical exercise is important to ensure that they do not overexert themselves. If your dog is running around the pool and swimming to cool off they might not even realize that they are becoming tired or dehydrated. It might be difficult to limit your pet’s swim time, especially if they love the water, but knowing when to end the session is important for the overall health of your dog.
Proper grooming after a long day of hanging poolside is important. After swimming in the pool it’s always a good idea to rinse your dog off with fresh water as the chlorine and sun can be incredibility drying to their skin. Cleaning and drying the inside of their ears with a soft cloth or specialty pet ear wipes is an essential step to prevent ear infections.
Swimming in the pool can be a relaxing and fun activity for your dog, and with our tips and tricks you can rest easy knowing that they are safe. Have any dog swimming tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below! Interested in reading more of our posts? Check out our blog!