As the summer grows hotter, people everywhere are flocking to the nearest pools, lakes, and oceans, searching for relief from the heat. The only thing better than a dip in the pool is having your furry friend swimming along with you.
This summer, DoodyCalls wants to make sure you are prepared with this ultimate guide to pool safety for your dog.
Introducing Your Dog to the Water
Despite there being a swimming stroke named after them, not all dogs are natural swimmers.
When introducing your dog to a new pool of water, it is essential to take the process slowly so they can become comfortable. This may start with finding a quiet entrance to the water and then walking in with your dog. Stay at the water's edge or in the shallow end until you feel your dog is ready to continue further.
Introducing your pet to water should be fun and stress-free. Remember, your furry friend can pick up on your emotions, so try not to bring any anxieties into the situation.
Know Your Dog
Nobody knows your pet better than you. You know their typical temperament, boundaries, likes, and dislikes. Keep these in mind while supervising your pet in the water and pull them out if a change arises.
You can also encourage your pet to take breaks, so they don't overexert themselves. During this break, have water available for them to drink in order to discourage them from drinking the water they are swimming in.
If you notice your dog struggling to swim or is in a boat where there's a chance they may jump in, it could be a good idea to get your pup a life vest. The vest makes it easier for them to swim and makes your pet easier to spot, and for you to grab them out of the water.
Each Body of Water is Different
Your pup may have swum in a pool or lake many times, but each new body of water presents different hazards for you to be aware of before introducing it to your pet.
Beaches have tides and currents that your pet wouldn't be familiar with if they are used to swimming in still bodies of water. Additionally, saltwater shouldn't be a drinking source as it is harmful to your pet.
Lakes or rivers can also have currents, but they present the unique dangers of toxic algae. Specifically, blue-green algae can be extremely hazardous to your pet. Keep an eye out for green-colored algae blooms or slimly water before allowing your dog to swim. Additionally, be aware of dangerous fishing hooks and equipment at lakes and rivers.
Pools are often located in comfortable environments like your home or the home of a loved one. This usually allows us to lower our guard, which can invite a dangerous situation. Always try to supervise your pet when they are in the water and block off access to the water when you cannot watch or are no longer swimming.
Dangers to Be Aware Of
Taking your pet for a swim should be fun. While these dangers should be in the back of your head, they shouldn't hinder your day.
If it's hot outside, your pet may be drinking a lot of water as they swim. Drinking too much water at a quick pace can cause water intoxication or hyponatremia. You can prevent this by correcting your pet from drinking any water unless you provide it. Not only is this helping against water intoxication, but it can also prevent your pup from getting sick by drinking from any chlorine-filled pool water and bacteria-filled lake water.
Additionally, it is essential to note that if your feet are feeling the burn on the sand or pavement on a hot day, your dog's paws are experiencing the same pain. You can make your pet more comfortable by adjusting your visit to the early morning or late evening when the sun's effects aren't as strong.
On a cold day, your pet may still want to get into the water. Hypothermia can affect dogs too, so be mindful of the temperature of the water and don't allow your pet to get too cold.
Finally, at the end of the day, large breed dogs can also find themselves with "swimmer's tail," or acute caudal myopathy. This occurs when a dog strains the muscles at the base of its tail after overexertion. If your dog's tail looks limp and is stiff at its base, this may be what is causing their discomfort. The best remedy for a swimmer's tail is rest.
Command the Day
Another way to make sure you and your pet will have a relaxing time is to go over some basic commands ahead of time. Being able to recall your dog if they become too excited, encounter a new person, or for an emergency is an important safety step, especially when your dog is off-leash.
An additional summer safety step would be to take a pet CPR class at the start of each summer.
After the Fun
It's time to get your dog out of the water and head home. Be sure to rinse them off to get any chlorine, salt, or bacteria off in case they lick their fur. Then, dry your dog's ears with a towel to prevent ear infections.
After these steps are complete, you are ready to go!
You've Got This
The joys of being a pet owner in the summer are a real thrill as you finally get outside and active with your dog. Before heading to your favorite body of water for a day of relaxation in the sun and swimming alongside your best friend, be sure to keep our water safety tips in mind.We hope you all have a great summer season and tag DoodyCalls in any of your pet's summer selfies. Also, if you're looking for a pooper scooper service, find a DoodyCalls location near you and call for a free quote!