Water Safety Tips for Your Dogs
If you have a dog in your life, the health and well-being of that animal is your responsibility. As a dog owner, you need to be prepared for just about anything, including accidents in and around the water. Whether your dog loves the water or avoids it like the plague, it is important to follow some common-sense safety tips to keep your four-legged friend safe from harm.
Not All Dogs Swim
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that not all dogs are natural swimmers. Many people assume that all dogs know how to swim - or at least dog paddle - but swimming ability in dogs varies, just like it does for people.
You should never force your dog to swim or throw the animal in the water. If your dog is afraid of the water, you should respect that and learn to live with it. You and your pooch can still enjoy a hot summer day at the lake or local stream, but forcing the dog to swim or enter the water is dangerous and counterproductive.
Even if your dog loves to swim, you should not let your guard down or assume that everything will be OK. Stay with your pet at all times when in and around the water, and always be ready to intervene if you sense danger. If you plan to take your dog out on a boat, make sure the animal is equipped with a safety vest. You should always wear your life vest - and make sure your pets do the same.
Take It Easy
Watch your dog for signs of exhaustion whenever you go swimming. This is particularly important if your dog is overweight or otherwise out of shape, but even a fit dog can become exhausted when swimming long distances.
Make sure your dog is wearing its collar when you go swimming, and be sure the collar has a valid ID tag with your phone number and contact information. It is all too easy for a dog to get lost, and without proper ID it will be difficult to recover your beloved pet.
Drowning is not the only danger your pet faces when out on the water. Sunburn is a real concern for dogs and their owners, so always bring sunscreen for yourself and keep your dog in the shade as much as possible. If you are going out on the boat with your dog, invest in a small shade to keep the dog out of the sun. Dogs can get skin cancer too, and it is important to keep your pet protected from UV rays.
Heat stroke is another danger dogs face when enjoying the water. It is easy for the early signs of heat stroke to go unattended, so it is important to watch your dog carefully. If you notice your dog is panting excessively or acting lethargic, it is time to get off the water and head to the vet.
Be sure to keep plenty of fresh water on hand when swimming with your dog or enjoying the water. A travel bowl is a good investment if you plan to enjoy the great outdoors with your pet. A clean bowl will encourage the dog to drink and stay hydrated on even the hottest of days.
No Pool Water
If you plan to let your dog in the pool with you, do not allow your pet to drink the pool water. The chlorine and other chemicals in the water are bad for the dog's stomach. If your dog does get a mouthful of pool water, you could be cleaning doggie vomit off your car on the ride home.
Keep It Clean
Last but not least, be sure to rinse your dog off after each swim. If you and your dog have been swimming in the pool, a post-swim rinse will remove any chlorine and chemical residue for the fur. If your pet has been enjoying the local lake or swimming hole, a light hosing will help remove any bacteria that live in the water.
Stick to these fast and easy rules and you and your canine friend will have so much summer fun splashing in the water! Keep plenty of shade, fresh water and life vests available for your furry friends and they will be having their best days during the dog days of summer.