Warm Weather and Pet Water Safety

Rocklin_iStock_000000090122_MediumWith the temps soaring and the sunscreen lathered on, many of us are hitting the pool or beaches in April this year (our apologies to friends and family back east). Swimming, BBQs, pool parties, and time on the water are made even more enjoyable with friends, including those of the canine variety.

But before you grab the water wings, keep in mind that your dog may not be as prepared for the warm weather as you think; not to mention the high UV index, or the surf.

Despite popular misconception, dogs are not innately strong swimmers. Many dogs do not even enjoy the water (gasp!). So, before you dive into the wet and wild fun of summer, take some time to read through these water and weather safety tips to help keep canine safety (and enjoyment) top of mind.

Water Safety and Dogs

No matter if you are boating or lounging around the pool, if you plan on including your dog in the swimming fun, there are some precautions you will need to take to reduce the chances of an emergency.

Here are some standbys every aquatic-loving canine guardian should champion.

  • If you are boating or around a large body of water with your dog, invest in a professionally-fitted life jacket for your best pal (dogs, like humans, get tired or panic and can drown without this simple but incredibly effective safety device).
  • Monitor your dog’s energy level. If you sense he is getting tired, bring him onto shore, deck, or dock for shaded relaxation and fresh water hydration (even if his enthusiasm hasn’t wavered).
  • If there are boats on the water or crowds of people, keep an extra close eye on your dog and limit his range of exploration to avoid accidents or encounters with strange dogs.
  • Give your dog a rinse if you have been swimming in a chlorinated pool to remove the chemicals from his fur, ears, and eyes, and carefully dry him off, paying close attention to the ears.
  • Don’t allow your dog to swim too far away from your protective radius. If out on the beach, always maintain close proximity with your dog to avoid strong tides or waves.
  • If possible, prohibit your dog from drinking lake water or other natural water sources, since these can sometimes harbor leptospirosis, giardia, and other nasty parasites.
  • Finally, if your dog doesn’t seem that into swimming or water activities, don’t force the issue. Some dogs just don’t enjoy water (go figure).
  • Warm Weather Precautions

    Now that you know what precautions to take when it comes to swimming and water activities, let’s not forget the heat. Although, the temps haven’t hit summertime highs, the UV index is up and many of our fur pals are prone to sunburn and dehydration.

    Protect your dog’s skin by using a dog safe sunblock (NOT your sunblock) to reduce his exposure to harmful sun rays. Allow for shade at all times by putting up a tarp, umbrella, or some other sun shade (like nature’s sun shade – trees).

    Provide fresh, cool water to encourage hydration and to discourage the urge to drink from the pool, lake, or stream.

    Even if your canine isn’t interested in swimming with you, you can bet he will enjoy the chance for some outdoor merriment, exercise, and quality time with you. Keep him safe with just a few simple measures and enjoy some fun in the sun.

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    posted in:  Pet Safety  |  The Great Outdoors