Many pets love to go for a dip to cool off on a hot summer’s day. Just like people, some are strong swimmers, while others have a hard time keeping their heads above water. It all depends, and there's only one way to find out: by getting them in the water. So if you plan on taking your pet swimming, boating, or near any large body of water, it’s important to practice safety techniques. This helps you and your pet avoid accidents and ensure that your splishing and splashing is nothing but fun.
Start with a Swimming Lesson
An introductory swimming lesson is a great way to tell if your pet is the type to sink or swim. Make sure you start slowly and ensure your pet is not afraid – shock from their first experience can cause a lifelong fear of the water. During this process, make sure they can get in and out of the water with ease, all on their own. If you can, take them somewhere that other dogs will be enjoying the water, like a dog park, so they can see by example that there's nothing to be afraid of.
Keep Their I.D. Tag On
An updated pet ID tag is one of the easiest ways to protect your pal during outdoor activities. If they get lost, caught in the current, or wander off, a helpful stranger will know exactly how to find you. Dog Tag Art has a variety of summer and water themed pet ID tags that will help your dog or cat (yes, there are kitties that enjoy the water) hit the waves in style.
Invest in Safety Gear
If your pal enjoys a ride in the boat, but is not a strong swimmer, a life jacket is a great option. Since it’s impossible to anticipate injury, exhaustion, or water conditions, the support of a life vest can truly be a life saver, even for pets that know how to swim.
Boat with Caution
Boating can be a ton of fun, but a bumpy ride can send everything flying, including your pets. If you are taking them kayaking or canoeing, one of the biggest concerns will be capsizing, especially If you have a pet that enjoys resting its paws on the edge of the boat. While traveling at high speeds or in a vessel that is easily overturned, keep your pet secure and in arm’s reach at all times.
Sadly, family pets drown in backyard pools more often than we’d like to imagine. Sometimes they don't know how to swim, haven fallen and panicked, or have become trapped by a pool cover. In any event, pools can be hazardous. To reduce the likelihood of an accident, always supervise your pets while they are around the pool. Installing a fence or similar barrier can help keep pets and small children out of the pool area. Also, try to teach your pet not to drink pool water – attempting to drink the water may cause them to fall in. Not to mention, chlorine and other pool chemicals can make them very sick.
Be Aware of Water Temperature
If the water is too cold for you, it's too cold for your pet too! Even on a hot day, water temperatures can remain low, making long-term submersion a bad idea. When your pet gets out of the water, make sure they have sufficient time and space to get warm. Pets can lose body heat just as quickly as humans and suffer illness or injury from temperatures that are too cold.
Consider Weather and Water Conditions
There are numerous water sources that are not safe for humans or pets due to bacterial contamination, hazardous or sharp objects, or aggressive wildlife. If you're uncomfortable going into the water, do not let your pet get in either. Furthermore, dangerous weather with lightning and high winds can create volatile water conditions so be sure to check the weather before heading out for a day on the water.
End the Day with Bath Time
After a long day of soaking in the ocean, lake, or pool, give your pet a rinse. This will remove leftover chlorine, bacteria, or debris on your pal’s coat and reduce the likelihood of skin irritation. Not to mention, they will be squeaky clean and in tip-top shape for an evening snuggle!
About the Author: Kirsten Campbell loves to swim alongside her Cairn Terrier, Louie. For a small dog, Louie is a super strong swimmer who will fight through any current to rescue his ball from the waves. Louie never swims without his Winged Pig ID tag and always wears a life jacket on the boat just in case he falls out.