Keeping Pets Cool in the Summer: Swimming Safety for Dogs

As summer temperatures are reaching all-time highs, your entire family may be heading to the pool, lake, beach or lazy river for some watery fun. When taking pets to water areas, it is always important to make sure they don’t experience a water-related accident. We’ve gathered some tips to use when taking your dog swimming this summer.

Know Their Swimming Capabilities

Some dogs love to swim and it is hard to get them out of the water. Other dogs avoid water at all costs. Please never assume that a dog is a good swimmer because you saw one that is similar in breed taking to the water like a happy duck. If this is the first time that your dog will be swimming, always test the dog in shallow water to see how well they swim. Never force a reluctant dog into the water. If you want to introduce your dog to water, consider buying a kiddie pool so the dog can get familiar with the water and learn to enjoy it. Then graduate to larger bodies of water as your dog feels comfortable.

Always Have Life Vests for Dogs

When on a boat, raft, or paddle board that is in deep water and far from shore, always place them into a doggie life vest. Some dogs love to jump into the water at any given moment. The life vest will keep them afloat until you can get them back up on the boat, raft or paddle board. Make sure the life vest fits the dog, if it is too big, the dog could slip out. Consider bringing your dog life vest in on your dog’s next vet visit, the staff can help you fit the vest and make sure it’s the right style for your particular dog.

Allow Swimming Dogs to Rest

If your dog loves to swim, pay extra care when they are paddling in the water. Dogs normally paddle along until they reach something to place themselves onto. They don’t understand the concept of treading to conserve energy while in the water. So they can get tired very quickly and begin to struggle to keep their head above water. Provide ample rest periods and help struggling dogs get out of the water immediately.

Be Aware of Areas with Riptides and Strong Currents

Remember that your dog can’t read signs or know about the areas where there are strong currents that can take the pet further out into the water. Stay close and always follow beach rules. Even the strongest dog swimmers can be swept out from shore due to a riptide. Another danger is a threatening illness called Leptospirosis, which can be found near areas where seals and sea lions swim. This illness can be avoided with proper vaccinations, so please get your dog vaccinated for Leptospirosis before you head to the beach!

Rinse Dogs Off After Swimming

Chlorine and salt water can dry out or irritate a dog’s skin just like it does to humans. Make sure to thoroughly rinse their fur. Also, dry their ears to reduce the risk of infections.

Keep Dead Fish Away

Dogs love the smelly stuff, and dead fish can wash ashore and entice your dog to play and roll around on them. Keep your dog away as dead fish can make your pet very sick. Read our blog about dogs and Salmon Poisoning, knowing these facts can save your dog’s life. Salmon Poisoning can be deadly for your four-legged friend so find out what you can do to protect your beloved pet from accidental poisoning.

Don’t Let Your Dog Drink Chlorinated or Sea Water

Bring a bottle of water with you if there are no designated drinking stations where your dog can get clean, fresh water. Chlorinated water and seawater can make your dog ill.

Above All Else, Supervise Your Pet

Always be near your pet when they are swimming. This action can prevent drownings while swimming and accidental falls into the water. Also, a fence around home pools to keep your pets, kids and visiting guests safe, is a wise idea.