If you have a pool, you want to be sure that you are providing a safe environment for your dog. Being prepared and knowing how to keep your dog safe from the water can save a life. Of course, many pet owners have pools, and have dogs that love the water. However, even if you have a dog that is an amazing swimmer, there are still some precautions you should take.
Teach Him to Swim
If you want to keep the dog away from the water, you will find that it is a huge responsibility. When you are enjoying your time by the pool, you will have to find ways to make sure the dog stays inside the house. However, when you are not home, you may face the worry of what could happen when you are away. What if the dog gets loose and gets in the water? Being proactive and teaching your dog to swim is an easy, much safer solution.
There are many resources to help you successfully teach your dog to swim. For many breeds, the skill of swimming comes naturally; to others, not so much. If you are unable to teach your dog to swim, or just don’t have the time to train him, there are trainers that can do the job for you. If you are unsure if your dog will even be able to swim, consult with your veterinarian or a dog trainer. They will give you their expert advice, because not all dogs can swim. Short-legged breeds or mixes, such as bulldogs, dachshunds, pugs, and others are non-swimmers. If you have a dog that is unable to swim, there are other options for keeping him safe around the water.
Invest in a Life Jacket
Another option that may work for you is to invest in a good quality life jacket for your dog. Even if your dog is unable to swim, or is just not a good swimmer, having him wear a life jacket can at least keep him afloat if he falls in a deep area of the water. Older pooches that were perfect swimmers in their younger years can tire very easily, thus giving them the need for a little assistance. Large, lean dogs need a floatation device because they have such low buoyancy.
On the other hand, if your dog is a fantastic swimmer, a life jacket for him is still a smart idea. Even the best swimmers can get listless and tired in the water, and a life jacket will make swimming easier for the canine. Dog life jackets are available in many weights, shapes and sizes and when shopping around for one, you will easily find the perfect style and fit.
Get a Proper Pool Cover
Pool covers are a great way to maintain your pool throughout the year. They keep out debris, manage the water temperature, prevent water loss through evaporation, and help control chemical consumption. However, they are not always safe. You must make sure you get a proper pool cover in order to keep your dog (and small children!) out of harm’s way.
Floating pool covers should be avoided if you have a dog or even small children. If the dog would walk onto it, thinking it is a strong surface, he could panic and actually fall under the cover. This could be tragic as he would be unable to find a surface and become trapped. Be sure to purchase a security cover, which is anchored to the outside concrete. Yes, they are more costly then the floating covers, but could prove to be a real life-saver. They have spring straps that are like a trampoline and sturdily cover the pool, and it’s exterior.
Use the Fence
Many states have laws that state a pool must have a fence around it with a secure gate. The height and type of fence varies from state to state, but no matter what, getting a fence is always a smart idea. Even if your dog can swim, a proper fence will keep out the neighbor’s animals, too. Be sure the fence is secured when you are using the pool and that will keep your loved one out of the pool area, and possibly the pool itself.
Locate the Stairs
Mark the stairs where the dog can see them. You can put in a pole that the dog can see, a large plant, or any object that the dog will associate with the steps. When training your dog to use the stairs, every time he uses them, be sure to reward him. When you begin training your dog to swim, always start at the steps and reward him when he successfully uses them.
Once you train your dog to swim, take him out into the water and point to the direction on where he needs to go to exit the pool. When he finds the steps (even if you have to help him in the beginning), praise him with a treat, and repeat. This will have to be done over time and very consistently, but before you know it, your companion will know where to go to get out of the water.
It is necessary to know CPR on a person if you own a pool. For your canine, it is also important. Locate animal CPR classes in your area and invest in the knowledge of animal resuscitation. Successfully learning and being confident in performing CPR will give you peace of mind in knowing that if something happens and your dog needs it, you will be able to save his life. Perhaps the whole family can attend CPR classes, so everyone will know what to do if a drowning were to occur.
Owning a pool has many advantages, especially if you live in an area where it is nice and warm most of the year. Even if you have the definitive four seasons, when summer comes it is so very exciting to open up the pool for your family and guests. Dogs are family, too, and having sound knowledge of safety with your furry family member will give you years of enjoyment with your pool, and with your pet!