Water Safety for Dogs

Now that the weather has warmed up, you might be considering taking your canine companion for a swim. Whether you and your dog go swimming in a backyard pool or a public lake, it’s important to keep a few safety tips in mind. Learn more here from a Pickerington, OH veterinarian:

Can Fido Swim?

First things first: ask yourself if your dog can swim. Contrary to popular belief, not all of our canine companions are strong swimmers! Some dogs, particularly those with a short, stout stature, aren’t comfortable in the water at all. If you’re not sure whether or not your dog can swim, try testing them in the bathtub or a kiddie pool before going for a dip in something deeper.

Provide Support

Even if your dog is a great swimmer, be sure to head into the water with them to provide support. Whether in the pool or the ocean, our four-legged friends can’t touch the bottom once the water gets deeper than a few feet! It’s also important not to let your dog venture too far out from the shore when swimming in the ocean; dangerous currents can easily sweep your dog away, and Fido may exhaust himself trying to swim back.

Don’t Drink the Water

Of course, you don’t want your pet drinking chlorinated pool water or salty ocean water; both will dry out the mouth and irritate your pet’s throat and stomach. Water from ponds, lakes, rivers, or streams can introduce bacteria and other contaminants to your dog. Wherever you’ll be taking a dip with your dog, bring along a thermos of cool, fresh tap water just for your pooch. Offer him sips from the bottle regularly.

Try Floatation Devices

Does your dog need a little help in the water? Try doggie flotation devices. These work just like flotation devices made for young children; they fix to your dog’s torso or limbs to help him stay afloat while paddling. They’re perfect for young puppies or dogs just learning how to swim—ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

The Final Rinse

Once your dog’s swimming session is over, be sure to rinse his coat thoroughly with fresh water from the tub or a garden hose. This will remove irritating salt, sand, or chlorine from the skin and fur.

Would you like more safety tips for swimming with your canine companion? Contact your Pickerington, OH veterinary clinic today.


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