If I asked you to tell me what comes to mind when I say the word “summer,” what would it be? Some of you might say “vacation” or “fun,” but most of you would probably say “hot.”
Just like all summers, June and July have radiated heat like a toaster oven. It’s a great excuse to take a trip to the beach, take a dip in the pool or have a water fight in the front yard. If you have a pet, you would most likely include them in the fun – after all, it has been hot for them, too!
For any pet, there are important things to know when it comes to water safety. Follow our advice in order to help them stay protected from harm, yet still have fun!
- Heat Intensifies Around Water. The sun is hot enough, but around water the sun rays are reflected off the surface, making it even hotter. It’s important to keep in mind that your pet could get sunburned, have a heatstroke or burn their paws on the cement or sand if they are out for too long.
- Stay Away From:
- Algae – Pets can get sick from algae, so it’s best to steer clear of bodies of water that contain it.
- Fishing Gear – Be watchful of any fisherman nearby, or if the area you are in is a popular site for fishing. If it is, keep your dog out of the water to avoid injury.
- Bring Fresh Drinking Water. Pets can easily get sick from drinking water that is contaminated. This can include salt water, pollution-filled creek water and even pool water. When going on a trip, take your own fresh water and make sure they stay hydrated.
At the Beach
Who doesn’t love the beach? Dogs certainly do! As you enjoy a fun trip to the sandy shores with your pet, remember these safety tips:
- Watch Out for Strong Currents/Riptides. Powerful currents are a danger to both you and your pet. Be careful of how far you go out with your pet, and avoid these riptides.
- Keep Dogs Away from Washed-Up Fish. Dogs love the smell of the fish that have washed up on shore. Pretty gross, right? If your dog ends up eating something like that, they could become sick.
- Boating Tips:
- Always have your dog wear a life jacket on boats or docks.
- Keep your pet in a kennel at night to prevent them from getting lost or falling overboard.
At the Pool
Pools are a great source of fun and relaxation in the summer. They can be for dogs (or cats), too – but please keep in mind these tips for your pet’s safety:
- Install a Small Fence or Gate Around the Pool. To prevent your pet from jumping in at the wrong time, put a small fence around the pool area.
- Buy a Sturdy Pool Cover. When buying a pool cover, make sure it is sturdy and is made of material that will allow rainwater to drain through.
- Check the Temperature. Make sure the temperature is warm enough for your pet before letting them swim. If the water is too cold, they could enter into hypothermia. For this reason, do not let them swim in the wintertime.
- Teach Pets How to Exit the Pool. You will need to repetitively show your pet where the steps are in the pool, and how to use them. Since dogs cannot see very well, physically guiding them to the steps will help the most. Do this often to reinforce a pattern.
- Stay Safe. Some dogs have been known to panic if they jump into the pool unexpectedly. If this happens, DO NOT jump in the pool to assist them. Bigger dogs have been known to accidentally drown a person trying to help. In this situation, stay calm and kneel where the steps are and call them to you to help them find the exit.
- Don’t Leave Pets Unattended Around Water. Especially if the pet is not used to water, they might think that the surface of a pool is solid and panic once submerged. Some pets do not know how to swim. Because of this, it is best to stay with pets when they go around water.
- Check the Current of Creeks or Rivers. Some dogs are eager to start swimming in any body of water. For an unfamiliar creek or river, you will need to check the current to make sure it is safe for your pet to swim.
- Remove Flea Collar Before Letting Them Swim. The water may wash out any active ingredients in flea collars if you leave them on your pet when swimming.
- Rinse Your Pet Off. After swimming in any type of water, rinse your pet off. The water could contain chlorine, bacteria, dirt, salt, algae or pollution that can be bad for your pet’s skin and fur.
- Dry Your Dog’s Ears Completely. Dogs can get ear infections if their ears are not completely dried off after swimming.
- Take it Easy. Pets can’t tread water while swimming. They have to keep moving at all times. Because of this, make sure your pet gets plenty of rest in between swimming times and does not exhaust themselves.
- Teach Your Dog How To Swim:
- Bring your dog into still and quiet water.
- Keep your dog on a leash for the first few times of getting into the water. (For smaller dogs, hold them for the first time in the water.) You will need to be in the water with your pet to help them see that it is safe.
- For a pool, stand your pet by the edge of the steps. If you are in the pool, they may follow you after a few minutes. Stay as long as they want to or until they leave.
- Once in the water, if the dog starts to paddle, lift their hind legs to show them how to float.
- The more your dog does swims, the easier it will be for them.
- DON’T force it. Not all pets will like swimming – or even water. If not, maybe a game of fetch would be more fun for them.
As you and your pet have a great time in the water this summer, we hope you keep these safety tips in mind!
What tips do you have for pet water safety?