Article contributed by freelance writer and volunteer dog walker Lucy Wyndham
Nothing says summer like spending sunny days out by the pool with your family and pets. Not only do dogs love swimming, but it’s also a great alternative to walking when temperatures get too high. Tragically, thousands of dogs die from drowning each year, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance. If you have a pool, safety is a must for humans and dogs alike. Many dogs drown simply because they get tired, panic, can’t swim, or are left unsupervised. Commit to keeping your dog stay safe and comfortable by the pool this summer. Never leave him unsupervised, be prepared for emergencies, and keep your pool well-maintained.
Teach your dog to swim
If your dog’s going to be hanging out around your pool, it’s vital they know how to swim. If your dog hasn’t had experience swimming before, gently introduce him to the water. Swimming is second nature for many dogs, but some may need several paddling sessions before they find their feet. Fitting them with a life vest will give them buoyancy and greater confidence.
Supervise your dog at all times when he’s around the pool and in the water — just as you would a child. Dogs are just as vulnerable as children in many ways. You should also be aware of what his energy levels are. Pay attention to signs of tiredness, so you can get him out straight away and back land to rest.
While you should do everything possible to achieve maximum pool safety, you should also know what to do in an emergency situation. There’s always a risk of drowning, slipping, bleeding, broken bones, and other injuries. Learn basic first-aid procedures, including CPR. You can ask your vet for advice, or look into taking local classes. Also keep a first aid kit on hand, as well have the emergency vet number already your phone.
Your dog will also need somewhere quiet and shaded to rest; this is especially important in hot climates. Choose a relaxation spot for your dog which is still within your sight. make sure your pool deck is slip-proof and the kind that doesn’t overheat, or your dog could burn his paws. Fill a water bowl to keep him hydrated.
Make your pool safer
Reducing the levels of chlorine and other chemicals in your pool will make the water safer for everyone. Dogs, however, are especially prone to chlorine irritation as their eyes, ears, and noses are significantly more sensitive than ours. Moreover, fewer chemicals will also lessen the environmental impact of your pool. You could even convert it to a natural pool, doing away with harmful chemicals altogether. Natural pools are the perfect solution for dogs who love to but have skin too sensitive for chlorinated pools.
Lastly, fence in your pool with no gaps your dog can squeeze through. Pool fences are often a legal requirement — check the guidelines for your state. Ultimately, your dog should be unable to access the pool without you there to help him.