Summer is quickly approaching and you want to have some water fun with your canine companion.  It may be surprising that all dogs do not like the water and not all dogs instinctively know how to swim.

Here are some important tips to get the most enjoyment from your swim time together.

  1.  Check to make sure your dog likes the water and is not scared. You do this by putting a leash on him and introducing him first to shallow water and see his reaction.
  2. Get in the water with him and lift his back legs to show how to float when he starts to paddle with his front legs.
  3. If he does not want to go in, please do not force the issue. Just do what he is comfortable with, praise him for his efforts and try again another time.

A swimming pool, beach or lake are all areas of potential water spots where you and fur baby can have fun. However, each of them has different dangers that must be recognized.

At a pool (either yours or a dog-friendly one), teach your dog where the entrance and exit areas are and how to get in and out safely.  Make sure the water is not too cold as some breeds do not tolerate cold water.

At the beach, be aware of strong currents and riptides that can put you both in danger. Do not let your dog drink the salt water as it can make him sick. Be sure to bring fresh water for him to drink to keep him hydrated. Do not let him eat any fish that wash up on shore.

In a river, lake, or pond, make sure the current is not too strong. Stay away from water with blue-green algae as it will make your dog sick. Keep your pet away from fishing gear and tackle.  It is important for your dog to wear a life vest when taking him on a boat or a dock.

Other tips to keep in mind is to rinse your dog after each swim to remove the chlorine, salt, and other contaminants to prevent damaging and irritating his fur. Dry ears thoroughly after swimming. Remove his flea collar to avoid washing off the active ingredient.

Most importantly, please learn CPR for canines. (Stay tuned for canine CPR instructions in a later post.)  This could save your dog’s life. And never, never let your dog swim alone.

dog swimming

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