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Dogs and Water Safety

Many breeds of dogs are natural born swimmers, while others, like the pug or bulldog, are not and will need to be watched more closely. Also, puppies are generally not good swimmers and should be kept away from water and older dogs may have health issues not conducive to swimming.

Pool Safety

While a quick dip in your backyard pool by your dog may be a great opportunity to cool off and a perfect form of exercise, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your pet’s safety.

  • Teach your dog to swim or get the help of a dog trainer
  • Train your dog about pool safety (e.g., to wait at the pool’s edge or to use the stairs; and how to get out of the pool)
  • Do not leave your pets unsupervised around deep water
  • Ensure that the pool cover is off or secured to prevent pets from falling in and getting trapped underneath
  • Fence your pool to avoid your pet wandering in unsupervised
  • Invest in pool safety products (e.g., pool alarms and life vests)
  • Provide your dog fresh water to avoid the temptation to drink chlorinated pool water
  • Keep pool chemicals safely stored away

Beach Safety

Some may think that the beach is a great place for your dog to run around and play, but it’s really not the most ideal playground. Take these precautions at the beach:

  • Intake of salt water can lead to salt poisoning (hypernatremia), which can have neurologic effects.
  • Have plenty of fresh water available for your dog while on the beach.
  • Be careful not to let your dog swim too far out to be taken by the current.
  • Hosing your dog down after a day at the beach is highly recommended.
  • Take relevant precautions as noted in pool safety section above regarding training your dog and having a life vest available.

Water Safety and Caring for your Dog

Keep these things in mind as it relates to hygiene and caring for your dog after he or she has taken the plunge:

  • Moisture in a dog’s ear is the perfect breeding ground for an ear infection, so make sure to clean your dog’s ears after each swim.
  • Rinse your dog after he or she takes a dip to wash off chlorine residue and reduce the chance of skin irritation. Rinsing is just as important in a pond or lake to remove bacteria or dirt.
  • Learn Pet CPR in the event of an emergency. (provide link to article on pet safety/first aid care)

Cats and Water Safety

Most of the tips previously described here have pertained to dogs, so a few words about cats and water safety. Cats instinctually will avoid the backyard pool because they do not like to get wet. Same with the ocean and a lake. If you have an outdoor cat, the best advice is to install a floating pool alarm, which will alert you if the pool water is disturbed. In general, by taking the same precautions noted about for a dog, you too can ensure the safety of your cat.