Summertime means fun in the sun — for both you and your dog. Whether you are poolside or heading down to the river or beach, it’s imperative to know these water safety tips to protect your furry friend:
- Start Slowly. Gradually introduce your dog to any body of water. If you have a pool, show your dog how to gently step into the water. If you are venturing into a river or ocean, introduce your dog to the water by starting out in a shallow area. Never force a dog into water! This can easily intimidate and frighten any dog, and cause them to be hesitant in the future. Once your dog seems to adjust well to the shallows, gradually continue to introduce them to deeper water. Don’t worry, dogs are natural swimmers, but it’s a good idea to stay nearby — just in case!
- Create an Escape. Always make sure your dog has an easy escape. Look for nearby steps or a shallow end where pets can easily exit. If you own a pool, you may want to consider a pool ramp. These can be effortlessly installed over pool stairs and are generally easier for dogs to navigate then stairs. Ramps also come in portable versions for those who take their dogs swimming in lakes or ponds. In case of an emergency, an easy escape route, such as a pet ramp, can save their life.
- Keeping Hydrated. It’s best not to allow your pet to drink from a pool, lake or pond. Pool chemicals and chlorine can be harmful, and there are many unsafe elements in natural rivers or oceans that can also be detrimental to your pet’s health. Always bring along a clean water bowl to be safe.
- Safety First. It’s important to implement certain safety measures to ensure your pet’s poolside safety. First and foremost, for those with pet doors, try to keep unattended pets away from pools. Monitor cat doors or dog doors so that pets cannot easily access an open pool, and utilize gates or other methods to minimize the chance of an accident. If possible, have your pool gated off as well so your pets do not have easy access to the pool if they manage to get outside.
Pets can enjoy pool time just as much as their human counterparts. Including them in on the festivities is a great way to bond with your pet during long summer days. Have fun in the sun!