Pets And Water: How To Have Fun In The Sun And Stay Safe

It’s officially summer. Taking your furry friend to the beach, the lake, or the swimming pool can be a great way to help them beat the heat. Most dogs love to swim and it’s great exercise. But, it’s important to keep your pets safe in the water.

Don’t assume your dog can swim.

While it may seem like second nature, it is called a doggie paddle after all, don’t assume your dog can swim. I have a pointer, a pointer, y’all, who cannot swim. His paws may be webbed, his fur may be completely water resistant, but that doesn’t mean he knows how to swim. The first time you take your dog out, keep them in shallow water and mimic dog paddling; just make sure they have a firm handle on it before you venture into deeper water.

No shame in the life jacket game.

Maybe your dog loves water and swimming, but isn’t the best at it. That’s fine. Doggie life jackets are not only adorable, they’re very, very useful. Especially if you have a flat faced dog like a French Bulldog or a pug. These cute, but oddly shaped dogs, are not suited for swimming. Get them a life jacket and let them go crazy.

What should you pack for your dog?

Just like when you take your dog to the dog park, taking some frisbees, tennis balls, or buoyant toys will help your dog feel more at ease and have the most fun.  Take along some of their favorite treats and food, and don’t forget the towels. The last thing you want is a an extremely happy, but wet and dirty, dog in your car.

What you should know before you go.

If you plan on taking your dog to swim in fresh water, talk to your vet first. Many offer additional vaccines against pathogens that thrive in fresh water. It can be administered right along with their yearly rabies vaccine and protects against potentially harmful organisms. The last thing you want is to end your swim with a sick pup.

Swimming with your pet should be fun for everyone involved. If your dog isn’t a swimmer or doesn’t seem to be enjoying themselves, don’t force the issue. Take them to the dog park instead.