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Water Safety for Dogs

Summertime is just around the corner, and many of us are anticipating fun summertime activities, like grilling and swimming. Our canine friends can certainly enjoy some summertime fun as well! Before bringing Fido swimming, you’ll want to read this article by a Pickerington veterinarian about doggy water safety.

Pool Safety

If you have a pool, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that your canine pal knows where the stairs are. That way, he can get out if he falls in accidentally. Don’t just settle for showing him once: test him on different days, to ensure that he truly remembers. We also recommend marking the stairs with a visual landmark, like a potted tree. Senior dogs, pooches with vision problems, and young puppies are at the greatest risk of accidentally falling in, so if your furry friend falls into one of those categories, you may want to fence off your pool. Another thing to be careful of is covered pools: a playful, curious dog can easily hop onto a pool covering, thinking it’s solid.


One fairly common misconception about dogs is that they can all swim. While some pooches take to water like furry ducklings, others need to learn how to swim. Even the doggy paddle isn’t necessarily an ingrained skill. If your pooch can’t swim, it’s definitely worth your while to give him a few lessons. Go into the water with your pup, and support him as he floats. You may need to hold up his back end until he learns to use all four legs. Reward your pooch with treats and praise after each lesson.


Before taking Fido to a lake, make sure he knows the basic commands, which are SitStayHeelCome, and Lay Down. This crucial training goes far beyond simple ‘petiquette’: it will allow you to call Fido back to you if he swims out too far, or wanders into a dangerous area. If you bring Fido out on a boat, make sure he is wearing a doggy life jacket. Always keep a close eye on your pooch when swimming. Even the best canine swimmers can tire out easily and can get into trouble even close to shore.

Do you have questions about your dog’s health, care, or behavior? Contact us, your Pickerington veterinary clinic! We are happy to serve all your pet care needs.

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