Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Everyone into the pool! That was the shout heard in our backyard as soon as my parents pulled the cover off the swimming pool and it meant summer had officially arrived! We had an above ground swimming pool so keeping our pets out of it was relatively easy to do. Even with an above ground pool though, if your pet can climb stairs, chances are he or she could clamber up and fall into the swimming pool.
Just as not every person can — or wants to — swim, the same holds true for your pets. When it comes to pets in pools though, it’s typically dogs that everyone believes love water and want nothing more than to jump in and frolic with the family. All dogs, even those labelled natural born “water dogs” may not have an affinity for water. Don’t automatically assume that your pet will love water; if she hates it and you force her to join you, she may panic and will become even more fearful. While these tips are aimed at dogs, you may very well have a cat, ferret or other animal that is curious about the pool and you can apply many of these same safety tips.
Consider these #petsafety tips if you have a swimming pool in your backyard:
- Don’t force your dog into the swimming pool. Ease him or her in when she’s a puppy (or whatever age when you adopted her). If you carry her in and she doesn’t seem panicked, let her swim around a bit — with your hands firmly holding on until you’re sure she will be all right.
- Keep a pool cover on at all times when you’re not using the pool. A swimming pool cover will protect your children as well as your pets. Your dog may be running around and be unaware of his surroundings and fall into the pool if there is no cover. Falling into the water and potentially going under will lead to panic and fear and the potential for drowning.
- If your dog is in ill health don’t let him swim.
- Even if your dog appears to love the water and knows how to swim, I suggest she wear a life vest when she’s in the water. Even if you’re right in the water with her — and you should be — she could get fatigued and you may not notice her flailing around until it’s too late. Wearing a life vest will not hamper your dogs’ ability to have fun and it will only lead to her enjoying the water even more. Be advised that even if your dog is wearing a life vest she should never be left in the pool unattended.
- Talk to your swimming pool contractor and have him install a ramp so your pet can get out of the water in his own. Mark the ramp with a flag or some object that is easily visible to your dog and train him to not only recognize the flag, but to recognize that is the way out of the water. Having a ramp and having your dog trained may save his life if he falls into the water when you’re not around.
- If you don’t have a pool cover, it may be best to have your dog wear a collar that will send off an alarm if it comes into contact with water. If you don’t have a ramp, this may be a life saver because the alarm will sound when wet and you can rescue your pet.
- Learn pet first aid and CPR. This could literally be a life saver in myriad situations.
- If you have a pool full of children or adults in a party setting it’s best to keep your pet away from the swimming pool so he doesn’t get hurt during the fun.
- Resist the urge to throw your dog’s toys into the pool to have him retrieve them. If one of them falls into the water when you’re not around, your dog will be so accustomed to the game of fetching them that she may jump into the pool to grab and toy and may not be able to get out.
- If your dog goes swimming with you, make sure you give her a bath once you’re done so the pool chemicals don’t injure her delicate skin.
- Make sure there is fresh water available as well so your pet doesn’t ingest the chemical laden water because he is thirsty.
For some pets, water therapy and swimming may be an ideal way to help them recover from an injury or to even help them get in shape but you may want to check with your veterinarian first to see what he or she says about letting your dog into the pool.