Splish splash: Water safety tips for dogs

by Kira Garrett | August 26, 2013

When the sun is shining and the mercury is rising, you and your dog may be looking for a way to beat the heat. Don’t waste the day hiding in the air conditioning. No matter what the weather is like, your dog still needs to get plenty of exercise. Because strenuous activity can lead to heat stroke in high temperatures, taking your dog swimming is a great way to stay active and cool.

Swimming and splashing in the water can be a lot of fun for both you and your dog but it is important to take the proper safety precautions to prevent accidents or injuries.

·       Keep an eye on your dog at all times. Even if you dog’s a strong swimmer, you should never let him swim unsupervised.

·       Rinse your dog after swimming. If your dog is swimming in an unfamiliar lake, there may be irritating bacteria that can cause skin rashes. Chlorine from pools can also dry out his skin or fur, and dirt or sand may also get lodged in your dog’s coat causing irritation – and a messy home. Make sure your dog’s ears are dry as well to prevent ear infections.

·       Try to prevent your dog from drinking the water he’s swimming in as much as possible. Offer your dog a clean drinking bowl of water. Chlorinated pool water can upset dogs’ stomachs and lake, river or pond water may contain parasites that can cause health issues.

·       If your dog isn’t a strong swimmer, you may want to invest in a dog life jacket. Even if your pup swims frequently, he may be unable to fight the current or tides or become exhausted far from shore.

·       If your dog is swimming in a pool, teach him to enter and exit by using the stairs.

·       Be prepared for an emergency. Have a plan in place if you ever have to rescue your dog. It may also help to learn how to perform CPR on dogs.

When you and your dog prepare to hit the water, you will surely enjoy the reprieve from the heat. Just remember to bring drinking water, a towel and plenty of toys.