Say ‘No’ to Floating Pool Covers
Floating covers are extremely dangerous in homes with children and pets. Countless dogs, even accomplished swimmers, have lost their lives following an unexpected tumble into a covered pool. Falling underneath or even on top of a floating cover is extremely disorienting and it becomes almost impossible for the dog to find his way out. Invest in a safety cover, which fits over the entire pool and is anchored in place to create a physical barrier between the water and those around the pool.
Dogs can quickly wear their nails down to the point of bleeding as they excitedly race around the pool’s exterior. It’s important to keep an eye on the pads of their feet as well. Repeated launching from the pool steps can tear up paw pads, especially on dogs who spend most of their time on grass. Hot concrete, stone decking, and hot or rough rocks along the lake shore can also tear up or severely burn their pads. Try the dog cooling boots to protect your dog’s paws <br>
It’s also important to teach your dog to remain calm when others are swimming. Many dogs want to excitedly race around the exterior of the pool, barking madly while their favorite humans take a dip. If you don’t want him racing around the pool in bark-fest mode, try not to ever let him practice.
When you want some dog-free pool time, consider confining your dog indoors where he can’t see the pool activity, and give him his favorite chew bone or other consolation prize. Additionally, set up training sessions where one person works the dog (leashed, with wonderful treats in-hand) while another casually enjoys the pool, and reward generously for calm poolside behavior.
Train Your Dog How to Exit the Pool
The key is to make the pool positive and get your dog on the steps. Work with your dogs. When they’re hot, they’re more likely to want to go into the pool. If they’ve been sleeping all day and their core is cool from being inside with air conditioning, they’re not as likely to want to be in the pool at all. <br>
Outfit your dog in a life jacket to help them remain buoyant, which reduces the chance that the dog goes into survival mode, and helps make him more receptive to learning. Physically place the dog on the steps, while leashed, and patiently encouraging him to venture out and explore the pool. As the dog begins swimming, the leash allows you to redirect the dog back toward the stairs if he tries to climb out along the side. Patience and repetition helps condition the dog to return to the steps, bench, or other “safe” area. Reward him for getting out safely on the stairs.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings before allowing your dog in the water
Be sure to take note of (and follow!) local regulations which may dictate whether or not dogs can be in the water and if so, if they can be off-leash. Pay attention to hazards below the water’s surface (such as logs or other obstacles), as well as general water conditions, especially potential rip currents, undertow, or deceptively fast-moving water. Keep an eye out for discarded hooks when near a fishing area, and consider adding a pair of wire cutters to your training bag. Speaking of fishing, pay attention to the birds at the seashore. If the birds are fishing, there are bait fish in the area, and bait fish can often mean that bigger fish, even sharks, are nearby.
Don’t Let Your Dog Drink the Water
Avoid letting your dog drink excessively from the backyard pool. The same goes for rivers, ponds, lakes, and the ocean. Be sure to always carry plenty of fresh water – more than you think you’ll need – when enjoying outdoor activities. While dogs are certainly more resilient to various bacteria in the environment than their human counterparts, Giardia is not uncommon among dogs who visit ponds and lakes. Leptospirosis is also extremely common in the southwest, and according to Benson, has also recently spread to the Midwest and into the north. For this reason, if your summer plans include travel, it’s always a good idea to speak with your vet about diseases that might be uncommon or non-existent in your area, but prevalent throughout your travel route or at your intended destination.
Post-swim Spa Treatments
Be sure to rinse off your dog following an outdoor water adventure. Chlorine and other pool chemicals can dry out a dog’s coat and skin, and swimming in natural environments can result in a dirty dog. Be mindful of areas that tend to remain damp, such as the ears or area under the collar. Ear infections and hot spots are common in water-loving dogs. To help prevent ear infections, Dr. Benson recommends a post-water ear flush with a commercial ear wash or a mixture of half water, half white vinegar to help dry the ear and create an environment that’s not conducive to yeast overgrowth.
Have a Plan – Accidents happen.
Think ahead about what you’d do if you had to rescue a pet from the water. Are you a strong swimmer? Consider bringing a human life jacket so that there’s one less thing to worry about in the heat of the moment. Know the location of the nearest emergency vet, and have a well-stocked pet and human first-aid kit in the car. It’s also a good idea to learn CPR for pets and people.
Be Safe. Have Fun. Love Your Dog.