Swimming and Safety Tips For Your Pets
30 May, 2012

Spring is here and warmer weather is upon us.  Most dogs love to swim to cool off and get their daily exercise.  While this if fun for us and our dogs, swimming pools and lakes can be dangerous unless we are prepared for it.

Swimming pools are dangerous for our dogs because, while our dogs are natural swimmers, they might not be able to get out of the pool due to the design of the steps or ladder. Lakes and beaches can be detrimental to our pups since they have debris that can get tangled around your dog’s legs and tails.

While cats aren’t big swimmers, they can swim.  Therefore, they are tempted to and do play in the water at times.  While most of the tips below apply to dogs, if you do own an outdoor cat, he or she should not be allowed outside unsupervised if you have a pool.

Below are some tips to make sure your pets stay safe in and out of the water:

Secure your pool with a gate

If you have a pool in your backyard, please make sure to secure it with a gate.   Think of your dog as your little child who can fall in the water and might not be able to get out.  Never leave your dog unsupervised or unattended when around the pool.

Swimming is fun!

Make sure your dog can get out of the pool

Make sure your dog can get out of the pool. If your dog jumps in and doesn’t have a way to get out of the pool, he or she (and then you) will panic. Ramps can be added to your pool to help your dog walk out of the pool if you have a ladder attachment.

If your pool has steps, make sure your dog knows where the steps are located and take the time to practice with him.  Have your dog walk up and down the steps every time he or she wants to go into the water.

Introduce your dog to the water

If your dog is unsure of the water, introduce him or her gradually. Make sure to be there to monitor his or her reaction.  Anxiety about diving into the water can cause pets to panic and sometimes drown.

And while your dog enjoys the swimming pool, make sure that he or she doesn’t drink the water.  The cleaning chemicals and chlorine in the pool can upset your dog’s stomach.

Don’t let your dog go in lakes without you

Don’t let your pet explore lakes or streams without you. They may drink the water or eat something that is bad for them like another animal or algae.   Or they might swim off and you won’t be able to find them.

While these tips are basic, it is always good to remind ourselves that our pets, similar to our kids, should not be left unsupervised around water.

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