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News Splash: How to Keep Your Dog Safe around Water

In the warmer months, there's nothing more refreshing than a cool splash. Whether your dog is a swimmer or an observer, he loves to be poolside or in the action at the lake or beach. While many dogs love the water, not all dogs are naturally designed for water activities; especially brachycephalic breeds with short, wide heads and flat muzzles like Pugs, English Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.

Dogs instinctively tread water if they fall in—it’s called dog paddling–but that isn’t the same as knowing how to swim. Therefore all dogs, even breeds that are known as swimmers, need to be properly introduced to water. The most crucial preparation begins with obedience lessons; a dog that defies you on land will definitely defy you in water.

Here are some important tips:

  • As fun as it seems, never throw your dog into the water. Introduce him to the water slowly.
  • Teach your dog how and where to get in and out of the pool. Get in the pool with your dog and show him where the steps are. Do this several times. That way if he falls in, he’ll know how to get out.
  • Swimming is exhausting, so make sure your dog takes breaks. A tired dog is more at risk of drowning.
  • Not all breeds are naturally buoyant, so use a doggie life vest to ensure that your dog stays afloat.

Your dog may be tempted to drink from large bodies of water, but don’t let him. Fresh water contains parasites and algae, pool water contains chlorine, and ocean water contains salt—none of these are good for your dog. Chlorine and other chemicals can also dry out your dog’s skin, so make sure to rinse your dog’s coat after a swim and dry his ears to reduce the risk of ear infections.

Safety Tips

  • Never leave your dog unattended around water.
  • Fence your swimming pools
  • Invest in a life vest
  • Learn doggie CPR

More on summer safety:

Summer tips for new pet parents

Fourth of July: You Love it, Pets Hate it

Hot Dog: How to Keep Your Pup Cool in the Heat of Summer

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