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How to Keep Your Dog Safe Around the Pool, Lake or Ocean

Many dogs love the water, but not all dogs are naturally designed for water activities. Whether they’re swimmers or observers, dogs love to be poolside or in the action at the lake or beach.

These water safety tips can help keep your dog safe this summer:

  • Never throw your dog into the water. Introduce him to the water slowly. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, especially brachycephalic breeds with short, wide heads and flat muzzles like Pugs, English Bulldogs and Boston Terriers. Many dog body types are not naturally buoyant. Dog-proof the area surrounding the water.
  • Don't throw a ball into unknown waters until you check what lies beneath the surface. Large or jagged rocks, sudden drop-offs, slippery river rocks and frigid water temperatures could mean a trip to the emergency room for your canine.
  • Use a water safety vest at the lake, river, or ocean. Swimming is exhausting. A life jacket ensures that your dog stays afloat, even in an undertow.
  • Make your dog rest. Most dogs will fetch until they drop. Just like with kids, dogs must be forced out of the water every now and then to rest. A tired dog is more at risk of drowning.
  • Bring fresh water for your dog to drink. Your dog will be tempted to drink from that large body of water. Fresh water contains parasites and algae, pool water contains chlorine and ocean water contains salt. None of these are good for your dog.
  • Dry your dog's ears. Moisture in the ear canal contributes to ear infections.
  • Give your dog a quick rinse with the hose after a swim. Chlorine and other chemicals can dry out your dog's skin. Never leave your dog unattended around water - even if he has a safety vest and is an excellent swimmer.
  • Teach your dog how to get out of the pool. Get in the pool with your dog and show him how to reach the steps. Do this several times. If he falls in, he'll know how to get out.
  • Prevent pool accidents from happening while you are away. Install a pool fence with a lockable gate. This will not only block your dog's access to the pool, it will also prevent other pets and children from entering or accidentally falling into it.

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