As a company that sells products that you will use with your dog outside, it feels fitting that we give our customers and readers some tips and information about being safe with your dog in the water or at the beach! Though it can be super fun to go to the beach with your dog, there are a few things you should be aware of so that you and your dog can stay safe. If you’re playing in the backyard or in your pool, the same information will be just as helpful. Let’s dive in!
It's time to safely enjoy going to the beach, the lake, or the pool with your furriest friend!
You may already know, but if you don’t… Dogs are NOT natural swimmers! If your dog accidentally fell into a pool, they would instinctively start doggy paddling because they will tread to stay afloat. This doggy paddle does not mean that your dog knows how to swim. Introduce your dog to water properly for them to gain comfort and confidence in their swimming skills. We recommend purchasing your pet a life vest so if they get tired, they will stay afloat in their vest.
Along with your dog not being a natural swimmer, some dog breeds are better swimmers than others. For example, retrievers and poodles are known to be great swimmers while pugs and bulldogs should stay safely away from water. Dogs with flat faces and large chests get tired quickly and can easily sink if left to swim for too long. Their short legs don't help their cause, all making it harder for them to swim and stay afloat.
If it is too cold out for you to swim, it is most likely to be cold for your dog as well. Dogs can’t regulate the temperature, as well as humans, can so swimming when temperatures are too cold can leave them at risk for hypothermia.
While keeping an eye on your pet while they’re swimming may seem like common sense, another safety tip is not letting your pet drink the water. Whether this is at the beach or at your chlorine-filled pool, it is not safe for them to drink pool water. There are most likely chemicals in your backyard pool while other natural bodies of water host dangerous parasites and algae that can severely sicken your dog. Saltwater from the ocean can also cause your pet to get very sick. Keep your dog’s usual water dish nearby for them to better put together the act of drinking clean, safe water.
Once your pet is done swimming, it is important to rinse them off. If you are at the beach, sand and salt can irritate your pet’s skin if it isn’t removed. At the lake, they may have harmful insects or algae that could stay on their skin proving harmful in the long run. In your backyard, you also want to rinse off your dog once they’re done swimming to rinse off harmful chemicals from their fur and skin. Remember to always thoroughly dry their ears to prevent infections in this sensitive area.
Another tip we have when taking your pet to the water is being aware of heat stroke and dehydration. Just ask if humans can get easily dehydrated when swimming in the water, dogs can too! It is important to give them breaks and keep them hydrated. Provide your dog a place in the shade to cool off and have cool water available for them to drink.
Just as asphalt can be too hot for your dog to go on a walk, sand can be too hot for your dog, too. Your dog’s paws are relatively sensitive, and you should be cautious about the time of day you take your dog to the beach or lake. Midday is especially hot and can blister your pet’s paws in a few minutes. There are many kinds of adventure booties you could invest in to not have to worry about burning their paws on hot days! For your backyard pool, wooden decks can be hot as well. Be aware of heated surfaces affecting your pet’s paws.
Another tip we have is making sure you have an obedient dog before you venture to take them to the water. If your pet is not loyal or doesn’t listen to you while on land, they aren’t going to listen to you while they are playing in the water. You want to be able to trust your dog and you need them to listen to you in case things were to go south and you need to quickly recall them back to you! Having a dog that listens to you will make your water experience 100x better!
Your dog should easily be able to get out of the water. At the beach, this would mean that the current isn’t too strong to pull them away. At the lake, make sure that your dog has something other than a dock to get out of the water. If there is any sort of embankment to get out of the lake, find a different, easier spot for your dog to get out, then make them aware of that spot. At the pool, make sure your dog can get out of the pool safely either via a ramp or a ladder. One of the easiest ways to teach your dog to get in and out of your pool is by demonstrating side by side with them how to enter and exit. If you plan on lifting them in and out, give them lots of breaks and time to rest.
Last but certainly not least, our most important tip is to never leave your dog unattended if they are swimming at the beach, lake, or even in your backyard. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds and if you are not there watching your pet, they can easily drown or get swept away. Keep an eye on your dog while near water!