You may have heard that dogs are just “natural swimmers.” But this isn’t necessarily true for each pet. According to statistics, nearly 5,000 dogs a year die from drowning in a backyard pool. Those numbers are sobering considering how many pets are in or around water at their own homes every day. This makes water safety that much more important when it comes to your dog.
Your dog’s age, health and breed all play a factor in how well they can navigate the waters. For example, medium-to-large size breeds with water-resistant coats and webbed feet are great swimmers, while dogs with short muzzles, deep chests and small rears typically are not built for the water.
Even though the majority of pets are instinctively able to do a ‘doggy paddle’ to keep themselves afloat, in larger, or even smaller, bodies of water they may lack the ability to safely make it to shore.
Whether your dog is novice or an expert, The Barking Lot lists a few things you can do to make swimming a fun, safe experience for the both of you.
Check the Water
If you’re planning to swim at a river or lake, make sure there’s moving water. When the water’s stagnant it can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Even if the water is moving but you notice algae or a distinct odor, avoid it. Bacteria and algae can be extremely harmful to dogs. Fast-moving water can be hazardous, as well. Find a calm, safe place to swim.
Buy a Life Jacket
Have your pet fitted for a life jacket before he gets in the water. This will help him stay afloat in case of an emergency. Some jackets are even equipped with a handle on the back to help you lift your pet out of the water.
Create a Relaxed Setting
Experts say it’s best to start in a setting where your pet feels at ease. Find a nice, quiet place in shallow water. Get in with him, while keeping him on the leash. As he begins paddling, lift his back legs to help him float. Never force your dog to stay in the water.
At the Pool
If you have a pool in the backyard, be sure to fence it off or put a cover over it. Dogs have been known to just jump into the water. If he’s not a good swimmer, he could very well drown. Show your dog how to get in and out of the pool. It’s easier to use a ramp or stairs.
Rinse your pet off after he get out of the water, drying his fur and ears thoroughly to prevent irritation or infection.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to keep your dog safe around water, contact The Barking Lot, a dog boarding facility near you. We provide services from dog day care, grooming, dog training, and more all around the Chicagoland area. Give us a call at (847) 205-3647 or stop in and visit us at 495 Lake Cook Road in Deerfield,IL 60015!