The temperature is on the rise, and the water is calling your name. You're counting down the seconds until you get to enjoy some quality time cooling off at the beach, playing frisbee in the lake, or just relaxing poolside with your pup. Dogs and water safety is important, and there's a few things to consider before heading to the pool. For instance, don't assume your dog can swim, remove his collar, don't swim too long, and more. Here are 14 things you should know to keep your pup safe and happy while he's splashing the summer away.
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1. Don't assume your dog can swim
Not all dogs are natural swimmers. There are some breeds that will try to swim for survival's sake, but you can be sure they aren't enjoying it. Other notorious land-loving breeds include Chihuahuas, pugs, Maltese, Shih-Tzu, and Dachshunds. If you have a dog who doesn't love the water, find a way for them to enjoy the outing safely from a shaded spot on land, or leave them at home.
2. Use cooling vests
Dogs no longer have to tolerate the heat thanks to innovative products like cooling vests. Most vests are intended to be dunked in cold water, rung out, and put on the dog like a harness. It isn't necessarily the water cooling off the dog, but evaporation. Cooling vests are make from material the helps cool the air around your dog's body. Dog's don't sweat. Cooler air reduces body heat.
3. Learn canine CPR
Hopefully, you'll never need to know how to perform CPR on your dog, but it's an important skill to know, just in case. If you need to perform CPR, then you should compress your dog's chest approximately 100 to 120 times per minute. You will need to breathe for your dog, too, so you should close your dog's muzzle with one hand before breathing into his nose. For every 10 to 15 compressions, you should give two breaths to your dog's nose.
4. Spray SPF on your dog
Dogs with light-colored coats are more vulnerable towards getting sunburnt and need to be covered in a layer of sunblock. Put your dog's sunblock on every time you reapply your own family's sunblock to keep him protected throughout the day. But ask your vet which sunblock is safe for dogs.
5. Use a dog life jacket
Use a dog life jacket anytime you're on a boat or swimming in an open body of water. Not only will it help keep your dog stay afloat if he is in the water for long, but the convenient handle on the back will also give you something to grab on to if your pup falls overboard or gets caught in a rip tide.
6. Check the current and undertow
Pay attention to posted signage regarding tides and safety precautions since even the strongest swimmers can easily get swept up in raging waters. Undertow is real and dangerous — it is a strong current that can pull dogs under. Be careful in areas such as river banks that aren't intended for swimming. Anglers and others leave behind dangers like fishing line and broken glass.
7. Do not over do it
Swimming is great exercise, but it's also tiring. Unlike athletic dog breeds such as the standard poodle, English setter, and Newfoundland that are talented swimmers, heavier breeds, dogs with short legs (pugs, puggles, etc.), or unfit dogs might have a harder time in the water. Also, they can inhale too much water while swimming strenuously. Make your pooch take several breaks in the shade and provide plenty of fresh water for her to drink. Dogs and water safety is as important for our pets as it is for us.
8. Remove your dog's collar
Remove your dog's collar before letting her loose in the water — that way it doesn't accidentally get caught on underwater branches or debris. Just remember to put her collar right back on as soon as she's out of the water. In case she runs off, you'll want to be able to find her.
9. Have an exit strategy
Make sure you're strong enough to actually lift the dog out of the water before you two venture too far from home. You will likely have to lift the dog in or out of a boat, water, or a swimming pool. If you're in a friend's pool, first teach your dog how to get in and out.
10. Never force a dog into the water
Allow dogs to gradually learn to love the water. Never force or throw a dog into the water. She might end up panicking on the way in and wind up seriously injuring herself or you. Plus, you want swimming to be an experience that your dog learns to enjoy. Forcing her in won't make her want to go back into the water in the future.
11. Don't drink lake water
Always provide plenty of fresh drinking water. Between risking gastrointestinal issues or a possible bacterial infection — it's better to be safe than sorry. Lakes and rivers can host parasites, algae, and other bacteria from wild animals. Also, pool water is chlorinated, and the ocean water is salty. None of these are good for your dog, but it can be challenging to keep your dog from drinking. Offering him water instead might help.
12. Clean and dry your dog's ears
Take care of your pooch's ears as soon as soon as he gets out of the water to help prevent a nasty ear infection. If your dog has been in chlorinated water, a bath will remove chlorine from his coat to help prevent irritation.
13. Watch puppies near the pool
Puppies need to be monitored carefully. Most puppies are extremely clumsy and won't be able to swim longer than a few seconds. If you have a pool at home, make sure that the fencing surrounding it is puppy proof.
14. Practice getting out of the pool
Practice the exit from the pool a few times to be certain your dog has it down before you let the fun begin. Practice using the stairs. A panicked dog can drown scrambling at the side of a pool. When you're around water with your dog, always keep a close eye on her to keep her as safe as possible.