Canine Water Safety 101
The dog days of summer are here and when the temps are up, there’s nothing better than leaping into a cold pool or taking a dip in the ocean or lake. If your dog likes swimming as much as you do, be sure you know how to take the right safety precautions to ensure everyone has a fun and safe time.
Test your canine water safety IQ with this short quiz. (Scroll to the end to see how you score.)
- Which dogs are the best swimmers?
- Fishing and hunting breeds like Retrievers, English Setters and Poodles
- Flat-faced breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs
- Short-legged dogs…Corgis, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds
- All dogs are naturally good swimmers
- What’s the best way to introduce a dog to water?
- Give him time. Wait until the dog is fully grown since puppies are too small and rambunctious to swim safely.
- Test the waters early on. Start your puppy in the shallow end to get him comfortable and familiar with you by his side.
- Take the plunge. Take Jake straight to deep water and toss him in for his doggie paddle debut.
- Tough love. If your pet seems reluctant or immediately swims back to the shore or side of the pool, keep trying. He’ll catch on.
- What should pet owners always have on board for dogs on boat rides?
- Fresh drinking water
- Doggy life preserver/jacket
- First aid kit
- Beach towel
- All of the above
- Each of these are good to have on hand around a pool, EXCEPT:
- Sturdy pool cover
- Fence or barrier solution to prevent unsupervised swimming or accidents
- Flea collar to keep bugs at bay
- Ladder, ramp or stairs for a dog to easily go in/out of the water
- Dependable pool thermometer
- After swimming, dogs should do all of the following, EXCEPT:
How’d You Do?
- Get a good hose-down to remove pool chemicals, bacteria and parasites
- Take a nice long nap
- Enjoy a fresh bowl of water
- Swim a few more laps in the pool to keep working off that energy
- Answer: A
While most breeds can instinctively manage a basic doggie paddle, not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some simply don’t like the water. Dogs with large, heavier chests, short legs and flat faces are often top heavy and get easily tired, putting them at higher risk of sinking. Even the strongest swimmers like Retrievers and Poodles should never be left unattended in or near deep water, especially if there are strong currents or rough riptides.
- Answer: B
It’s never too early to start acclimating a puppy to water but be extra vigilant, as their energy can literally get them in over their heads.
- Keep inexperienced swimmers away from the edge, and don’t let them paddle too far away or get out of your sight, even for a minute.
- Choose a shallow spot to begin; you may even decide to keep your dog on a leash at first.
- If possible, get in the water with your dog, and as he begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs to help him learn how to float.
- Show them how to get in and out of the water.
- Keep the first swim lessons quiet, positive and stress-free.
- If your pet seems reluctant, scared or tries to immediately swim back to the shore or side of the pool, maybe swimming isn’t for him and forcing him is not a good idea.
- Answer: E
When boating with dogs, preparation is key. It’s also a good idea to learn canine CPR, as it could save your pet’s life in an emergency.
- Never leave shore without fresh water, as the bacteria, parasites and salt from natural bodies of water can make them sick.
- Always put your four-legged friend in a well-fitted, brightly colored life jacket with good buoyancy and handles in the event she needs to be quickly pulled from the water.
- Keep her away from any fishing gear, especially lures and hooks.
- Have a stocked first aid kit in case of injury.
- When she’s done swimming, wipe her down with a beach towel, making sure her ears are completely dry to prevent infection. The towel can also provide shade for a nice rest if there is no umbrella or awning on board.
- Answer: C
Dogs should never wear their flea collars to swim, as the water and chemicals can wash off its active ingredients, so opt for natural, pet-friendly insect repellant instead. Here’s more on what you do need for water safety under the sun…
- Pets can still drown in a covered pool, so be sure to invest in a durable cover that can support the weight of your dog and won’t allow rainwater to accumulate.
- If your pool doesn’t have stairs, teach your dog to safely enter and exit with a sturdy ladder or ramp.
- Always have a thermometer to check the pool temp before your dog dives in, as only a few breeds can handle extra cold water.
- Since we can’t keep eyes on our fur babies every second, consider installing a barrier around pools or other bodies of water on your property to ensure no accidents happen. One option is an Outdoor Shields® Plus Solution, which teaches safe boundaries with no major physical barrier to look at.
- Answer: D
Swimming can be strenuous for humans and dogs alike, so don’t overdo it. Signs of canine exhaustion include excessive panting or drooling, rapid heart rate and lethargy. After the swim, wash your dog down with a hose, give her plenty of water, and let her take a well-earned nap in a nice shaded, cool area. She probably won’t mind if you join!
For 45 years, Invisible Fence® Brand’s innovative solutions, industry-leading training and expertise have given more than 3 million pets newfound independence and security - while also instilling confidence in their owners. Learn about our Fencing Solutions, Indoor and Outdoor Shields® units and more here
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