It’s summer! With that comes time spent around lakes, ponds, pools, rivers, beaches and the sea! We love being around water. Many dogs do, too!

To keep your dog safe around water, just make sure you follow the tips:

Understand that Not all dogs are good swimmers

Most people make a common mistake. They just assume that all dogs are natural swimmers. In fact, not every dog is a water baby. Even some dogs that are built for swimming just won’t enjoy going out of their depth.

Dogs with short legs ( like Corgis ) or short noses ( like Pugs ) will find it hard for them to swim. Some breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs generally don’t do well in the water. Their heavy chests make them tire easily. Other breeds like the Basset Hound have body shapes that are not well suited for swimming either. These types of breeds are best suited to enjoying an outing close to the shore but not in the water.

Make Sure that Your Dog Obey You Very Well

First of all, before you consider taking your dog into the water, your dog should obey you very well OUT of the water. Your dog needs to heed your commands, especially “come.” If your dog is tiring out, or swimming too far away and needs help, it is essential that he listen to you. Otherwise, the water could be very dangerous for the dog - he could drown.

Before Taking Your Dog into Water

Before you take your dog into water, you should go to a pet first aid and CPR class first. Many veterinarians teach classes, just as many local Red Cross chapters do. Knowing the prevention and preparedness will help you keep your dog safe.

Don't feed your dog immediately before swimming. If you have already feed your dog, wait two to four hours before you take him into water. Otherwise, it may cause danger.

If you are taking your dog into a pool in your house:

  • Always have a thermometer to check the temperature before your dog dives in. Besides, dogs feel the cold, just like humans. Only a few breeds can handle extra cold water. You should keep your dog out of very cold water to prevent hypothermia.
  • Don’t forget to teach him how to get in and out of your pool with stairs or a non-skid ramp.

Always Let Your Dog Wear A Dog Life Jacket

Dogs do indeed tire out and can drown quickly. For those that don’t stay afloat but still want to take a dip, a dog life jacket, also called dog personal life preserver (PFD), might be good to your dog. With the proper dog life jacket, your dog can still enjoy the water without worrying about going under. They're also great for possibly dangerous situations like boating, ice fishing, or canoeing in rough water.

A good dog life jacket should have a handle so that you can grab it easily to help your dog in case of emergency. And remember that dogs come in many shapes and sizes too, so be sure to take your dog with you, then you will know the device you choose fits properly.

ALWAYS Keep Your Dog in Sight

You should only let your dog around the water under supervision, and always keep him in sight at all times! Dogs are just like children. They are curious and naughty. They easily make troubles, some of which could deadly. That’s why dogs should not be left unattended.

DOs & DON’Ts

  • Keep your dog on a leash for the first several times.
  • DON’T feed your dog immediately before swimming. Waiting two to four hours after feeding will be good.
  • Make sure your dog’s paws DON’T blister on very hot surfaces.
  • If your dog doesn’t want to go, DON’T force him in -- especially if it’s a deep spot.
  • DON’T let your dog go into deeper water until you are confident that your dog is actually swimming.
  • DON’T let your dog to drink pool, ocean, lake or river water, that could be deadly. Encourage your dog to drink lots of fresh water that you provide.
  • Keep your dog AWAY from fish that have washed onto the shore. They may smell great to him, but they can make him ill.
  • Beware of heatstroke symptoms. Provide shade when your dog is not in the water to prevent heatstroke.
  • Rinse your dog off after swimming in a pool, river, lake, or ocean to remove minerals, salt, and chlorine that can irritate skin. Check for broken shells, glass, or sand after beach outings.
  • Dry your dog’s ears after he’s been in the water to prevent infection.
  • After swimming, let your dog rest with a well-earned nap in a nice shaded, cool area. 


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