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 Your Dog to Swim
If you are a pool owner and want to keep your 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 your dog stays inside the house. This is not an easy decision as many pet owners want their best buddy beside them at all times. And, when you are not home, you may face the worry of what could happen when you are away. What if your dog gets loose and makes their way to 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 them, there are canine swim teachers 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. Not all dogs can swim, and many find it a challenge. Short-legged breeds such as Bulldogs, Dachshunds, and Pugs, are basically non-swimmers. If you have a dog that is unable to swim, look to other options for keeping them safe around the water. Breeds that do not have swimming skills can still enjoy the water with you - hold them around the waist and gently push them though the water. They'll probably love the cooling effect!
Invest in a Doggy 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 them wear a life jacket can at least keep them afloat if they fall 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 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. 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. The cover keeps out debris, manages the water temperature, prevents water loss through evaporation, and helps control chemical consumption. However, they are not always safe. 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 your dog walks on it, thinking it is a strong surface, they could panic and fall under the cover. This could be tragic as your dog would be unable to find the 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.
Install a Fence
Many states have laws that declare 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 not using the pool and that will keep your furry buddy out of the area, and safe and sound.
Locate the Stairs
Mark the pool stairs where your dog can see them. Put in a pole that your canine companion can see, a large plant, or any object that your dog will associate with the steps. Train your dog to use the stairs, and every time they use them, be sure to reward them. When you begin training your dog to swim, always start at the steps and reward them when they successfully use the steps to leave the pool. Praise and treat your dog over and over as you instill this tidbit of safety in their head.
It is necessary to know how to perform CPR on a person if you own a pool. As the owner of a 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 their 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 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!