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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Keep Your Dog Safe Around The Pool Lake And Ocean

Keep Your Dog Safe Around the Pool, Lake and Ocean

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Many dogs love the water, but not all dogs are naturally designed for water activities. Whether she's a swimmer or a watcher, your dog wants to be with her family at poolside or at the lake or beach. These water safety tips can keep your dog safe this summer:

  • Never throw your dog into the water. Introduce her to the water slowly. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, especially brachycephalic breeds with short, wide heads and flat muzzles like Pugs, English Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, and many body types are not naturally buoyant. Dog-proof the area.
  • Don't throw a ball into strange waters until you check what lies beneath the surface. Large or jagged rocks, sudden drop-offs, slippery river rocks, and frigid water temperatures could mean a trip to the emergency room for your canine. Use a water safety vest at the lake, river, or ocean. Swimming is exhausting. A life jacket ensures that your dog stays afloat, even in an undertow.
  • Make your dog rest. Most dogs will fetch until they drop.  Just like with kids, dogs must be forced out of the water every now and then to rest. A tired dog is more at risk of drowning. Bring fresh water for your dog to drink. Your dog will be tempted to drink from that large body of water. Fresh water contains parasites and algae, pool water contains chlorine, and ocean water contains salt. None of these are good for your dog.
  • Dry your dog's ears. Moisture in the ear canal contributes to ear infections.
  • Give your dog a quick rinse with the hose after a swim. Chlorine and other chemicals can dry out your dog's skin. Never leave your dog unattended around water - even if she has a safety vest and is an excellent swimmer.
  • Teach your dog how to get out of the pool. Get in the pool with your dog and show her how to reach the steps. Do this several times. If she falls in, she'll know how to get out.
  • Prevent pool accidents from happening while you are away. Install a pool fence with a lockable gate. This will not only block your dog's access to the pool, it will also prevent other pets and children from entering or accidentally falling into it.

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26 Jul 2010 12:27 pm

nadinefay said:

anyone have recommendation for preventing pool-related urinary problems/vaginitis other than keeping the dog out? I have a female boxer/golden retriever mix who loves the water. She has had to go on antibioics and be banned from pool twice this summer.

24 Jul 2010 7:04 pm

checkitout7 said:

This is awesome info. we just put our 9 mo. Lab Mix into our pool today before I read this article, I had my husband carry her into the water slowly, and show her how to get out the chairs.
Then the secondi time he through her in gently, by my surprise and I didn't think that was so good!
I told him not to do that again, now I have thr reinforcement of this article and I just went out to the pool to tell him about it, he felt bad, he won't do that again! Also I like the hint of teaching the dog where the stairs are by putting up a "marker" flag or something they can see!! Thanks!

23 Jul 2010 12:33 pm

Drgnrdr said:

you can add drying type cleaners (powders, liquids, etc..) to your dogs ears to help get the water trapped down in the ear canal, to be sure nothing stays in and festers and causes trouble.
Also, teaching the dog to get out of your pool: since dogs are not able to bounce up and down in the water to see past eye/water level, they are swimming exactly at water level and may have trouble orienting towards the exit steps, put a large potted plant or a flag, something they can see easily and learn, that is the exit area.

02 Mar 2010 4:08 pm

nanaprasongkit said:

my 4 mos puppy Dakota just fell into the pool this morning! This is very informative...thanks.

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