Just like people, some dogs love a good swim on a hot day. Also much like people, dogs need to be supervised and taught how to swim to ensure their safety around pools, lakes, and rivers. If your dog plans on taking a dip this summer, it’s important for you as its owner to think prevention, preparedness, and awareness.
Prevention – Of course we don’t mean preventing your dog from getting in the water, we simply mean avoiding accidents by teaching your pet what to do. While most dogs can naturally muster up a doggy paddle, it’s essential to teach them where the pool stairs are so they can get out when they want to; even those that show no interest in getting in should be shown, just in case they accidentally fall in. Other dogs, like basset hounds, pugs, and bulldogs, truly may not be able to swim, making supervision (and a swim lesson) incredibly important. Brushing up on your dog’s recall response can also avoid a dangerous water situation so it’s time to practice come-when-called.
Preparedness – If you and your pet regularly hit the beach, lake, or riverbed, consider taking a pet CPR class, as educating yourself is truly the best form of preparedness there is. Always survey the area for currents that could be (or become) dangerous and be keen to avoid areas with algae floating on the water, as that can be harmful if swallowed. Of course, never discount a good ol’ life vest – not only do they keep Fido afloat but most come with a handle for quick extraction if needed, giving you peace of mind in most situations.
Awareness – Pay attention to your dog’s energy level – swimming is rigorous exercise and some dogs can deny just how tired they are. Be sure to offer your dog fresh water any time you can, and call it a day when they’re pooped. Be aware of any changes in the tide, current, or overall environment and act accordingly. Lastly, be aware of young and old dogs – as young dogs can be inexperienced and panic around water and old dogs sometimes don’t realize they’re not as spry as they once were.
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