We all love lakes, the ocean, ponds, pools, and being on boats! And many dogs do, too. Here are a few water safety tips for your dogs:
1. Not all dogs are good swimmers.
In fact, some dogs don't swim well or naturally and can drown as fast (or faster) than a person. Don't assume your dog will take to the water and be able to stay afloat. Try him out in shallow water before a big excursion.
2. Preserve a life.
If you're out in a boat or raft, your dog should have a life preserver on – no exceptions! It not only will keep him afloat, it makes him easier to spot and gives you something to grab if he jumps or falls in.
3. Sink or swim?
Dogs that are heavy on land are way heavier in the water when you're trying to pull them back into your boat. Make sure you can handle your dog out of your and his natural environments.
4. Keep your dog close!
Even dogs that swim well can tire very quickly, even faster than you, because they don't understand the concept of resting or treading water – they just swim and swim, until they can't anymore. When swimming with your dog, don't let your him swim too far away from you, because he could get into trouble quickly.
5. Don't force your dog into the water.
If your dog doesn't like the water, don't make him go in! It could scare him and won't be fun for him at all!
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
10. Wash Your Dog After Swimming
Wash (or at least rinse) your dog after a swim to help get rid of any bacteria that’s collected on their fur. If your dog isn’t cleaned off after swimming they’re going to be ingesting any nasty stuff they may have picked up when they groom themselves.
Bathing will also help get rid of any chemicals that may have build up on his fur, and it will help alleviate any itchiness caused by sand or debris.
Chronic ear infections can be an issue for dogs that swim regularly. Pay close attention to your dogs ears, making sure they’re clean and thoroughly dried after a swim. If you notice any changes in your dogs ears, or if they develop a foul odor, schedule a vet visit for diagnoses & treatment.
9 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe Around the Pool
Are you looking for ways to keep your dog safe around the pool?
While there aren’t any confirmed statistics on how many pets drown in pools each year, certain estimates put the number at roughly 5000.
While some dogs can swim, many can’t. Because of this, keeping your fur baby safe is a top priority. Luckily, there are many preventative measures you can take.
Here are 9 ways to keep your dog safe around the pool:
The sheer delight of swimming with your dog
By Neil McMahon
From healing broken bones to easing jaded spirits, the ocean is a tonic – and that’s as true for dogs as it is for their humans. In the age of COVID-19, many have bonded with new and old dogs, and in an unexpected delight of a pandemic summer, many have found the joys of sharing the sea with their pets.
For Ashley Thomas and her partner, Matt Casey, the pandemic delivered plenty of time to spend with their 10-year-old fox terrier Oscar, but the dog also suffered an aggravated leg injury that required two bouts of surgery, and then rehab. The trio then discovered a whole new experience when Oscar went to Woof Swim Team – a dog swimming school in the Melbourne suburb of Narre Warren – for his recovery.
Ashley Thomas and her partner, Matt Casey, swim and paddleboard with their terrier Oscar, who took swimming lessons after an injury last year. Credit: Wayne Taylor
Today, little Oscar swims in the ocean, and even rides a paddleboard.
“We were so used to him being active and running around and he was just so down and couldn’t walk. Poor little guy,” Thomas recalls.
“We started doing swimming with him two weeks after his first surgery. At first he tried to jump out of every side of the pool.”
But he soon took to it, and now enjoys regular dips at Daveys Beach in Mount Eliza.
“It took him a bit to adjust to that but he’s been going in leaps and bounds with the swimming,” says Casey. “Since Australia Day we’ve been taking him down to the ocean, trying to find a location that’s suitable. When it was calm he was fine … then when we were trying to adapt my parents’ dog to the water Oscar jumped in and swam out and chased her.”
Mark Rushton cools off with husky Saskia. Credit: Jessica Hromas
And for owners worried about safety, there is indeed a flotation device just in case. “We put him in a lifejacket on the paddle board just in case he does fall off and get dumped.”
Mark Rushton, from North Bondi in Sydney, takes his two-year-old Siberian husky Saskia for daily beach adventures, including when he goes diving with friends.
“She loves it. She’s a snow dog so in summer she’s in there for hours. I do a lot of diving off North Rocks and she’ll swim around us while we’re free diving,” he says.
“She’ll swim around us while we’re free diving.” Credit: Jessica Hromas
“It definitely means you can have more of a good time and take them out on little adventures rather than them being an apartment dog.”
Like Oscar, Saskia had a leg injury and he discovered swimming was the best therapy. “Swimming was the best way to rehab it.
“She couldn’t walk for two months … and after that it was slowly building up walks and swims because there’s no impact.”
James Sciuriaga, who swims regularly at Sydney’s Botany beach with his 15-month-old Staffordshire terrier Thor, says the key to getting a dog used to the ocean is to start them young.
“He was tip-toeing in and then he jumped in barking and is getting the hang of it. He paddles around. You’ve got to start them young, that’s the key.”
Thor started swimming as a young pup. Credit: Brook Mitchell
Rob McKay, who runs Woof Swim Team, says swimming is an effective form of physical therapy for dogs.
“Normally it’s 100 per cent safe because it’s non-weight-bearing resistance work. They can’t hurt themselves.”
As for recreational swimming, he advises taking it slowly.
“Just because they can swim in the swimming pool here doesn’t mean they’re going to go in the beach or the dam or the lake, because they don’t look at it the way we do,” he says.
“They’ll approach that with a bit of uncertainty until they realise ‘OK, that’s what I do’. Don’t try to force the dog in. Let him work it out. Some of them are a little cautious. You just don’t know. We don’t know how they’re going to react until they see the water. Just like people really.”
McKay warns owners to be careful when ocean swimming that your dog doesn’t ingest too much salt water, especially if retrieving a toy or ball.
“It can be very dangerous or even fatal . be very aware of the dog drinking sea water or fetching a toy which may allow water in the dog’s mouth.”
Additional reporting: Jessica Hromas
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