With summer here, warmer weather means swimming time for many of us, our canine companions as well. Many dogs love to swim, I know that my two do. So I want to take the time to go over some tips and warnings to keep furry family members safe in the water, whether pool, lake or beach.
Most breeds of dogs do quite well in the water and are natural swimmers with the exception of some of your heavier bodied dogs or very short-legged dogs. Basset Hounds and bulldogs should be kept out of the water unless they are properly equipped with a good flotation device like a vest or doggie floaties. Actually, it’s a good thing for all dogs as a safety measure.
Next, beaches or salt water. Salt water can be dangerous for dogs if they ingest quantities of it. You need to make sure that you keep plenty of fresh drinking water available for when they get thirsty. Salt can also be very irritating to paws and skin as well. Dogs may lick their coat or chew their paws to relieve the itching caused by the salt and doing so will cause them to ingest it. Make sure you take the time to thoroughly rinse your dog off after a swim.
Lakes and ponds are great places for dogs to swim because you don’t need to worry about the currents like at a beach but you do need to worry about the water. No matter how ‘clean’ it looks, there’s all matter of ‘dirt’ from bacteria to debris in the water. This is also a hazard at the beach. Again, keep fresh drinking water available and rinse your dog as soon as you can.
When it comes to pools you need to be aware of pool chemicals on your pet’s skin. Again, rinse your dog after a swim. Make sure your dog knows how to get out of the pool.
So basically, let your pooch enjoy the water and swimming but always keep an eye on them. Always keep fresh water for drinking and always give them a rinse afterwards to remove any irritants.
One final note, when the weather is hot and the water is low, most notably in lakes and ponds, be careful of floating algae on the water. Blue-green algae can be toxic to pets and dogs have been know to die from it.