Keeping your dog cool during the summer months is very important to prevent heatstroke, dehydration or even death. Dogs not only need plenty of water to drink to keep cool, many of them like to swim in it too!
Many dogs enjoy swimming, no matter how clean or dirty the water. If your dog has had a dip in a lake or river, rinse him off to avoid ear mites, eye infections and pesky clingy insects which can imbed themselves into his fur.
Some beaches allow pets on the beach during certain seasons (fall, winter) and some all year long. If pets are allowed on your local beach, please follow the beach rules and clean up afterwards. Most pet friendly beaches have trash receptacles located at the beach entry/exit points. Bring fresh/bottled water to keep your pet hydrated and safe. Many dogs love to drink the ocean salt water, but it’s not good for them. Do your best to limit drinking salt water.
Beaches with large ocean waves, boats, surf boards, or jet skis can scare your dog. Try to find calmer water areas.
Dogs can get sunburn, especially if they have light skin and fur or short hair. Focus on the ears and nose. You can even purchase sunscreen made for pets.
Be aware that all sorts of items can be partially or fully hidden in the sand. Broken glass, rocks, hooks, coral, and garbage can pose a danger to your dog. If your dog gets injured, contact your veterinarian for proper wound care.
Be sure you rinse off your dog’s coat to rid them of any sand, salt, and beach germs before you head home.
If your dog loves to jump into your swimming pool, make sure he knows how to get out safely. When a dog falls into a lake or river, his instinct tells him to turn around and get out from the point at which he fell in. However, in a swimming pool, a dog may drown if he follows this instinctive action. Therefore, teach your dog where and how to get out of the pool regardless of where he went in.
To teach a dog how to exit a pool:
- First attach a long leash to his collar.
- Gently place the dog into the pool from the steps. The dog will instinctively turn around and get out from the point of entry – the steps.
- Place the dog in the pool from the steps several times.
- Once he realizes that he can scramble out via the steps, move to the other sides of the pool, and again gently place the dog into the pool.
- Use the long leash to guide the dog to the step area giving him as little help as possible.
Practice as much as possible with your dog, especially with younger pups. When the pool’s water level is full, your dog has a greater chance of being able to get out. Practice three or four entries and exits at any one time. Keep an eye on your dog while he is in the pool, and watch for exhaustion. Swimming can be very tiring for a dog.
Once your dog has oriented himself to the steps in relation to the house and he understands how to use the steps to exit the pool, the danger of drowning in the pool will be reduced.
If your dog has year-round access to the pool area, for your dog’s safety, conduct pool safety in all types of weather, hot and cold.
Not all dogs like or know how to swim. If your dog appears eager to give swimming a try, let him get used to it gradually. Refrain from throwing a nervous, inexperienced swimmer into the water.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery county and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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