Underwater photo of dog swimming in outdoor poolThere’s nothing more inviting than the cool, aqua-blue water of a pool or the rolling tides at your favorite beach. However, pet swimming safety should be a priority for all owners when the desire to hang ten includes your best fur pal. With an estimated 5,000 drownings each year, pet swimming safety should be on the mind of every concerned pet parent.

Pet Swimming Safety Tips for Fun in the Sun

  1. Not all dogs are adept swimmers. Contrary to popular belief, some breeds are not well-suited for swimming. This includes short-faced and short-legged breeds such as bulldogs, pugs, and dachshunds. Swimming should be introduced slowly and in a contained area where you have more control. Have a good sense of your pet’s ability before visiting a lake or other area with water.
  2. Practice sun safety awareness. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are real concerns for pets. Limit the amount of time spent outdoors during the hottest part of the day. Offer plenty of shade when boating or lounging on the beach.
  3. Make sure your pet is supervised. Even if your pet is a water enthusiast, drowning dangers still exist. Pet swimming safety means limiting the amount of time your pet spends in the water. Just like us, animals can become tired, making them more susceptible to accidents.
  4. Consider pet-proofing your pool. Pet-proofing the backyard includes creating a barrier around your pool. Fencing is a great option for those who have pets and still need access the yard throughout the day. You may also consider adding a canine pool ramp or accessible steps for an easier exit. Remember to always maintain supervision.
  5. Dog life jackets are essential on boats. Just as life jackets are important for children, your canine should also have access to this must-have safety item.
  6. Parasite prevention and vaccinations are a must. Speaking of outdoor recreation, illnesses such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, giardia, and Leptospirosis pose a risk to our nature loving pets. If you’re confused about your pet’s vaccinations or parasite prevention, please contact the team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital.
  7. Don’t forget some pets are at greater risk than others. When it comes to pet swimming safety, it’s important to remember that senior pets often have compromised mobility, balance, and vision. This makes a slip into the pool or a fall from a boat particularly dangerous. In many cases, young pets are also the victims of pool accidents. That’s why it’s important to take extra care and precaution for pets who struggle with health, vision, or mobility.

Lastly, don’t forget that cats are also at risk of drowning in pools, open canals, and drains. As a pet owner, never take water dangers for granted and observe pet swimming safety at all times.

From all of us at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, have a safe and enjoyable summer!