There’s no better way to beat the summertime heat than to jump in a swimming pool! And just as we ensure that we, as humans, are water safe it’s important we don’t forget about our furry friends. Most dogs are naturally drawn to the water and love to play in it but before we let them have a long day in the pool, it’s important to take a few moments to make sure they’re safe.
The first, and possibly most important step, is to show your dog how to get out of the pool. Dogs will naturally try to exit the pool from where they entered, but if they jumped off the side of the pool far away from the step area, that is not the most practical place for them to try and get out. Here are three steps to follow to show your dog how to safely exit the pool:
- Attach a recall leash to his/her collar
- Gently place your dog in to the pool from the steps. They will instinctively turn around and get out from the point of entry – the steps. Repeat this several times.
- Once your dog realizes that they can scramble out via the steps, move to the other side of the pool and again, gently place your dog in to the pool. Use the recall leash to guide them to the step area, giving as little help as necessary.
Click here to check out a video tutorial!
Another step you can take to ensure your dog is safe in your pool is to keep the water level high. This is actually something you can do year-round if your pet always has access to the pool. By keeping the water level as full as possible, your dog will naturally be up higher and will have a better chance of being able to get back to dry land because they will be closer to it.
After ensuring that your dog knows how to safely exit the pool and that you’re keeping your water level at an optimum height, it’s time for some fun! And just like how a dog will chase a ball over and over until they have to lay down and rest, they will continue to swim without realizing how tired they are getting. And unlike a dog on land, they cannot just lay down in the pool to take a break. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog while they are in the pool and watch for exhaustion – frequent rest breaks may be needed.
Some dogs drink a lot of water while swimming and if your dog, does expect to provide more frequent bathroom opportunities in the few hours after swimming!
Now, you may have a dog that either does not know how to swim or is nervous to give it a try. Fear not! It is possible to teach a dog to swim! Here are some proven methods to helping your pup get over their hesitancy of the pool.
If your dog appears eager to give swimming a try, let him/her get used to it gradually. It’s important to remember that catching your dog by surprise and tossing them in the pool is not recommended. This can actually have the reverse affect and give your pet a phobia of the water as they may panic.
Instead, you can start with a baby pool and allow them to become comfortable with being in the water. Then each “lesson,” raise the water a few inches until it’s at the height that you need.
Don’t force it
By making the experience fun for your dog and allowing them to move at their own pace, they will grow to love the pool. Tossing your pup in to the pool and trying the “sink or swim” mentality may do real damage to their confidence and trust in you. Try using treats or toys to lure your dog in to the water from the steps and calling their name to entice them in. If they appear interested, you can gently pick them up and bring them in to the water with you while holding their head above water and speaking in a soothing voice to keep them calm.
Use a floatation device
Lifejackets aren’t just for people! There are many vet-approved life preservers that will allow your dog to find their sea-paws while keeping them safe in your pool.
Remember that some breeds are more apt swimmers and others naturally may need a little more assistance. For example, dogs without a tail can sometimes struggle to find balance in the water as they effectively have no rudder.
Consult a dog trainer
Many people call Bark Busters to teach their dog to swim! We may start with a kiddie pool and then progress to a larger, dog friendly pool.
Summer and swimming go hand in hand! With a little planning and patience, you can help your dog safely live out their summer dreams and have months of fun in the sun together.