Summer is definitely heating up. Allowing your dog to cool off in the water can be a great idea and a lot of fun – just make sure you follow some basic safety tips to keep your dog safe. In general, if you approach having your dog around water in the way you would approach having a child around water, you are definitely on the right track.
- Many dogs love to swim, but some dogs do not!
- Use flotation devices for unskilled dogs or those that require additional care (e.g.. older or debilitated).
- Know where your dog is at all times and do not allow them to swim unsupervised.
- Make sure they understand how to swim by first starting them in shallow water.
- They can tire from a lot of swimming so give them rest.
- They must be able to easily exit the water so they can get out whenever needed.
- Provide fresh drinking water to keep them hydrated, especially in the heat.
- Don’t let dogs drink the water in which they are swimming! They could ingest toxic chemicals, infectious agents, or too much sodium – all of which can make them sick.
- Use the same caution in moving bodies of water (rivers, oceans) you would use with humans – remember tides and currents can change abruptly!
- Rinse any pool chemicals or salt off their skin once they are finished swimming. This will help keep their skin from getting irritated and will prevent them from licking and ingesting the chemicals.
- Don’t have a body of water to take your dog swimming? Try a plastic kiddie pool with fresh water. Just be sure to supervise your dog even in this small pool!
Have fun with your dog in the water this summer, and be sure to share some of your water pictures with us on Facebook!
Veterinary Partner water safety information
Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS