- Whenever your dog is around water make sure he/she is wearing a life jacket. I teach my dogs that they can only swim if they are wearing their life jackets. My dogs are also only allowed on a boat if they are wearing a life jacket.
2. Be prepared to get in the water with your dog. Consider yourself a doggy lifeguard any time your dog is swimming.
3. If you have a pool at your home, you will want to assure your dog knows what to do if he/she accidentally falls in the pool. I recommend putting a large potted plant or a statue where the steps are located. You can teach your dog to look for the plant or statue when he gets out of the pool. If you practice this, he will know where the steps are.
4. Another safety measure is to get a pool alarm that will go off if someone falls into the pool. These alarms have a floating device that is activated when the surface of the water is disrupted. The indoor receiver will then notify you if you are inside.
5. Learn about Water Intoxication. If your dog likes to fetch toys in the water, he/she may ingest extra water. Some dogs like to bite at and try to catch waves, while others like to play in the sprinkler. Drinking excessive water can lead to water intoxication. While this is rare, it is important that you are aware of the symptoms and if you think your dog may have water intoxication, take him/her to the vet immediately. The early symptoms of water intoxication include confusion, lethargy, disorientation, stumbling, incoordination, excessive drooling, nausea, vomiting, “glazed” look to the eyes, pale gums, and dilated pupils.
6. If your dog has lighter skin, make sure you have a natural baby sunscreen available. A sunburn can ruin a fun day.
7. Give your dog lots of breaks when playing in the water. When swimming different muscles are used and your dog may become sore, so take it slow.
8. Make sure you introduce your dog to water slowly. NEVER toss them into the water or force them to get in the water. Water can be scary for your dog so keep interactions with water fun, and safe. Always let your dog choose if he wants to take part in water activities.
Above all…have a safe and fun summer with your four-legged buddy!
About the Author
If you need help with your puppy or dog, Judy Luther is available for virtual consultations. She can be reached through her website www.TrustCenteredTraining.com. Judy is also the Pet Professional Guild Canine Committee Chair. Learn more about PPG and how pet parents can join for FREE!