Swimming and other water activities make great exercise for dogs, and can be the perfect relief from the summer heat. Whether its boating or simply letting your dog take a dip in a kiddie pool, there are many precautions pet owners should take while swimming with their dogs.
First and foremost, make sure your dog can swim. It might seem like a no-brainer, but some dogs are just not made for it while others can be afraid to try. A good way to introduce your dog to the water is to take him/her to a lake where they can walk out into the water on their own, or a pool with steps. That way they can take things at their own pace.
Once your dog becomes comfortable with swimming, a life jacket is a must, especially when boating. Life jackets for dogs can be purchased at most pet stores or online. Making sure the life jacket fits properly will be very important. Just like people, dogs will get tired while swimming for long periods of time. A life jacket will help ensure your dog’s safety in case of an emergency.
If you’re taking your dog swimming in a lake or pond, be sure to inspect the water carefully, not matter how clean it looks. Many ponds contain chemicals that prevent algae. Lakes could contain fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides and these could all can cause skin irritation, vomiting/diarrhea and even organ damage or neurological problems. Sharp rocks and broken glass could cut your dogs pads so be sure to check the beach for anything obvious that could be harmful. Don’t let your pet drink out of pond or lake water. Always provide fresh water for drinking.
If your dog likes to swim in pools, its always wise to make sure your pet is wearing a life jacket or some kind of flotation device. Monitor your dog to make sure the chlorine isn’t irritating the eyes, and also don’t allow your dog to drink the water as the chlorine might cause stomach upset. Make sure your dog can get in and out of the pool with ease and as always supervise your dog while playing in the pool.
An easy way to skirt any dangers involved with the water is to purchase a kiddie pool. They’re just big enough for your pet to cool off, and don’t require much maintenance. Water from the hose is sufficient and chlorine isn’t necessary. Kiddie pools are great for senior and/or impaired pets or those that aren’t keen on swimming. Sprinklers work well too!