Dog Water Safety | Protect Your Pet at the Beach, Lake, and Pool

Spending time in the water with your pet can be a fun way for them to enjoy the great outdoors, especially during the hot months of summer. However, knowing the basic rules of water safety is a must for all pet parents, especially considering over 5,000 dogs are estimated to drown in pools each year.

The most important water safety rule is to keep an eye on your pets any time they are near water. This includes pools, oceans, lakes, and rivers. Never allow unsupervised swimming as accidents can happen very quickly.

Most dogs can swim, but not all of them enjoy it and some dog breeds are naturally better swimmers than others. Retrievers and Poodles in particular are known to be excellent swimmers. On the other end of the spectrum, you should be especially careful around water with brachycephalic breeds (breeds with flat faces) such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih-Tzus as well as any mixed breed that has a short snout. These breeds’ flat faces and big chests cause them to tire more quickly while swimming and put them at increased danger of sinking. Be sure to keep a close eye on puppies as well. Puppies are clumsy and energetic, which makes it easy for them to fall into a pool. They also tire very quickly.

In addition to supervising your dog during swim sessions, here are some other safety tips to keep in mind:

Water Conditions
Check the current water conditions if you plan to let your dog swim in the ocean or a river. Rip currents, undertows, or fast moving currents can be extremely dangerous for canines and humans alike. You should also make sure the water temperature is not too cold. A general rule of thumb is that if you are cold in the water, it is probably too cold for your pet.

Take Precautions
Your dog should be able to easily get out of water on their own. Install stairs they can climb, a ramp that is made for pets, or a fence around the pool. Make sure that the fence is tall enough to keep them out and keep the gate secure.

Life Jackets
Dog life jackets not only keep your dog afloat, but can also help you spot them in the water and make it easier for you to pull them out since dog life vests have handles on them. Consider purchasing one for your pet, especially if you are taking them out on a boat.

Bring Drinking Water
Make sure you have fresh drinking water for your dog to drink. Letting them lap up lake, river, pool, or ocean water can make them sick since it can contain bacteria, algae, parasites, chemicals, or salt.

Take Breaks
Swimming can be very tiring for dogs. Stay close to your pet and make sure they take breaks in the shade.

Wash Up
Rinse off your dog or give them a bath after swim sessions. Salt or pool chemicals can irritate your dog’s skin. Additionally, if your dog licks their fur, the salt or pool chemicals could make them sick.

Remember, not all dogs like to swim or are good swimmers. If your canine companion is more of a land lover, try introducing them to baby pools or spraying them with a hose as alternative outdoor water activities.