Whenever the weather warms, most pet parents start planning for days sunbathing around the pool, chilling on the beach, or hopping on a boat with their canine companion. These are indeed great ways to exercise your dog and add joy to their lives.
However, water and dogs do not always mix well. Tragically, every year, approximately five thousand dogs drown in pools. This excludes the mishaps that could also happen when dogs on boats are traveling on lakes, streams, or open seas. Accidents can occur in under a second. To avoid any heartbreaks when your pup is in and around water, it’s important to keep in mind these four key tips on water safety for dogs.
Be Aware of the Water’s Conditions
At the beach, always keep an eye out for red flags on the shore indicating that it’s unsafe to enter the waters. Dogs can be swept away by strong undercurrents and large waves in a matter of seconds! In shallow rivers, your dog can be in danger even from just splashing about if the water is freezing, especially if they have little fur or are tiny. At lakes, be sure to avoid any greenish-blue algae-filled water as it can sicken your dog.
Always Keep an Eye on Your Dog
No matter the type of water—a river, creek, pool, or open sea—never allow your dog to roam unattended around it. Situations can go awry very rapidly and even the best swimming breeds may experience emergencies, so ensure your dog is always under your supervision. Look out for signals that he is getting tired, having trouble with the undercurrents, or playing with anything that may be harmful. Keep your pup far from any dead marine life, sharp fishing hooks, or other beached debris that could hurt or make them sick.
If you have a pool out back, ensure it is fenced off. Never depend on a pool cover as dogs always assume the cover to be solid and will be in danger when they attempt to walk across it. They often end up entangled beneath the water instead, leading to tragic outcomes.
Know Your Dog’s Swimming Skill
Not every dog is a proficient swimmer. Some breeds that can swim might still struggle to do it skillfully. Among the best swimmers are golden retrievers, poodles, and Newfoundlands. If you own one of them, your worries are lessened. In contrast, dogs with flattened noses and narrow snouts, such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers, will struggle in the water. They have a hard time breathing underwater, which causes them to get tired fast. Other breeds, such as dachshunds and corgis, will be submerged almost immediately as their short legs can’t paddle strongly enough to hold their heads above water.
Use Safety Equipment to Help Your Dog
Install a ramp or some steps that lead into your pool to enable your dog to exit the water more effortlessly. Life jackets are also extremely helpful for keeping your pup above water should their legs become too exhausted to continue paddling or if strong currents pull them underwater. Additionally, the handy grab handles make it easy to quickly pull your dog to you and lift him out. They're also great for quickly locating your dog in the vast waters.