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Pooches and Pool Safety

April 04, 2016

As a dog owner, especially if you’re the parent of new puppies or old-timers, you should always make sure your pooches are prepared to handle aquatic adventures. Many dogs just can’t resist diving in and splashing about alongside their human friends. However, accidents happen.

DogChannel.com reports that over 40,000 pets fall victim to drowning each year. How can we protect our best friends from getting in too deep? Rather than deprive them of fun times, read on to learn how to ensure your pups play safely at the pool.


Puppies and novice swimmers

A common misconception is that dogs are born knowing how to swim, or at least “paddle” their way across water. It’s not unusual, though, for even middle-aged dogs to never have swum.

·         Buy a doggy life jacket and let your pup get used to the water.

·         Kiddie pools are a great way to help your dog develop skills and confidence.

·         A snazzy pair of “Doggles” can help protect your pup’s eyes from chlorine and bacteria.

If your dog doesn’t want to get into the water, don’t force the issue. She might outgrow it; she might not. Certain breeds are naturally hydrophobic, while other dogs simply don’t like the wet stuff. Let dogs be dogs.


Preparing to rescue your pooch

Safety comes first. Even if your dog is an adept swimmer, have a life jacket or other strap flotation device at the ready in case of leg cramps, heat exhaustion or other dangers. Make sure at least one person (definitely a human) at the pool is a confident swimmer.

Consider taking pet CPR and first aid classes, and know the directions to the closest emergency vet. As an added safety measure, fit the pool stairs with puppy ramps to facilitate your dog’s exit from the deep. Portable ramps are also available if you plan to take your dog to a friend’s pool.


No running at the pool

It’s no secret that dogs love to run. At the pool, this instinct may pose a threat to your pooch’s paw pads. Dogs can unintentionally burn or tear up their paw pads from scurrying about on stone, concrete, or other hard surfaces around the pool. Try to lure your dogs away from the excitement with a toy or treat. Check their pads for redness, peeling or nail damage.


That water’s not for drinking!

Teach your dog never to drink from the pool. Chlorine and chemical pool cleaners can irritate her mouth, throat and stomach and make her ill. Keep a bowl of clean water nearby for your pooch to drink at her leisure.


Pool cover or pit trap?

Avoid floating pool covers. These pose a huge risk to both dogs and young children. Even dogs who are adept swimmers can fall into the pool and become trapped underneath the cover, obscuring their senses. Instead, use a safety cover that shields the entire pool and anchors in place to prevent accidental fall through.


Rinsing off after playtime

Prevent post-swim irritation by rinsing your dog off with clean water. Thoroughly clean in and around the ears to prevent infection, especially in floppy-eared breeds like golden retrievers.

Dogs aren’t born swimmers, but most are born to love the water. With the right training, equipment and precautions, we can make sure our pooches enjoy pool time to the fullest. After all, they’re not called “dog days” for nothing!

“Rinsing your dog off after a swim is important in order to keep their skin and coat healthy. Humans rinse off after a swim in a chlorinated pool and so should dogs. A veterinarian recommended ear wash is an excellent way to help prevent ear infections secondary to swimming”- Danel Grimmett, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Sunset Veterinary Clinic.


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