Contrary to what many people believe, not all dogs can swim, nor are all dogs good swimmers. Yes, they can “doggy paddle,” but it’s often an instinctive reflex when they hit the water. They may not be able to keep it up for longer periods of time to stay afloat. Swimming is something that dogs, like humans, must practice. So, while it may be fun to bring your dog to the pool or lake, make sure you keep them safe whenever they’re around the water.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to dogs and water safety:
- Start Slowly
Never just drop your dog into the water. Ease them into some shallow water and stay close by to see how they react. Breeds such as bulldogs and pugs tend to be top-heavy and may have more difficulty staying afloat. They also have short snouts which can make breathing harder. Let your dog practice in shallow water before moving them into deeper areas. And remember – they can tire out quickly, so don’t overdo it.
- Restrict Access
Just as you put a sturdy fence around the pool to keep kids from accidentally getting in, the same goes for dogs. Your dog should never go swimming unattended. Make sure you are always watching and nearby. Also, take the time to teach your dog how to safely get in and out, whether by using the stairs, a ramp, or another method. Keep practicing until they can get out on their own and know exactly where to go.
- Get a Life Vest
Yes, even dogs should wear life vests. This can add an extra layer of protection when your pet is in or near the water, especially if they are not a strong swimmer or are an older (or younger) dog that tires out easily. Check to ensure the life vest is the right size and type for your breed of dog. Life vests aren’t just for the boat – they can (and should) be worn by your dog in the pool too.
- Bring Clean Water
Don’t let your dog drink straight from the pool or lake. The chemicals can be unhealthy, as can the bacteria and microorganisms living in the water. Always pack a bowl and fresh water for when they get thirsty. Don’t forget to rinse off your dog once they get out of the water too so the chlorine or salt doesn’t stay on their skin.
There are a lot of dogs that love to swim, but don’t assume that yours is one of them. Never force your dog to go into the water – let them take the lead. And if they are in the water, keep a watchful eye on them and stay vigilant about their safety.
Keep your dog cool and out of trouble this summer by signing them up for doggie daycare at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to play and socialize as they beat the summer heat under the supervision of trained staff. Contact Lake Wylie Pet Resort today for more information!