Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Swimming Safety Tips for Your Dog

Summer is here! As the weather gets warmer and warmer, a lot of our furry little friends like to find places like pools and lakes to cool off in. Pet owners also will often times want our mutts to enjoy the fun summer activities with them. While having a good time outside can be good physical and mental health, there are still several things dog owners need to watch out for when allowing their mutts to take a dip:
  • Not all dogs can swim well - while a mutt can pick up swimming techniques faster than a human, some dogs swim because they have to for survival and not because they like to. Mutts like American Bulldogs have big bodies but short legs tend to have a harder time paddling in water compared to others. 
  • Wet ears can easily lead to ear infections - keeping your dogs' ears clean and dry after a swim is important so they do not get ear infections. Ocean and lake water usually have many bacteria and bugs that could be a danger to your mutts. Consult with your trusted vet to learn what the best cleaning techniques are for you and your dogs.
  • Watch out for other safety hazards at the beach - if you take your dogs to the beach, keep an eye out for other potentially dangers things like broken shells, jellyfish, and big currents. There are also many parasites hiding in the sand, so keep your mutts close and perform a quick physical check up on them after you leave the beach.
  • Swimming at night is more dangerous than during the day - as a pet owner, you would have to pay even more attention to your mutts if they are swimming at night. Dogs already have bad vision to begin with and their eye sight decreases drastically when it is dark. So make sure you know where and what your mutts are doing when they are swimming, even if it is just in your backyard pool.
  • Know what the temperature of the water is before going in - sometimes the problem with summer is that certain waters can vary in temperature drastically. Make sure you know how warm or cold the water is before allowing your dogs to go in. Dogs can also suffer from hypothermia so just be aware if your dog is shivering or not.
  • Teach your dogs to swim one step at a time - throwing your mutts into the pool or lake for fun will only create trauma for them, specially if they haven't really swam before. So make it a game: throw their stick or ball in for them to fetch is a good start and then increase the fetch distance slowly. Also train them so they know where is the best spot to get out if they are swimming in a pool. If your mutts start to panic, the best way is to use a calm voice to tell them to swim back to shore. You might put yourself in danger by jumping in to help a panicking dog (specially if they are big dogs)!
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!