It’s summertime. It’s time for family trips to the beach, lake, pool, and pond. Just like any member of the family, you want to be sure your puppy is as safe as possible. While most dogs love the water, some don’t. Some, in fact, are poor swimmers.
You can keep your pooch safe and healthy by the pool, in the water and after a swim by keeping a few guidelines in mind.
Take it slow if you’re swimming for the first time with your puppy. Stick to the shallow water. You can use toys to coax him into the water, but stay close. Support him as he starts paddling. This is especially important with younger dogs.
Remember, not all dogs can swim. Some are just poor swimmers, such as senior dogs, small-breed dogs and dogs with short legs or double coats. Often, dogs with heavy chests and short muzzles make poor swimmers — think pugs and bulldogs.
For some dogs, if you plan to be near the water at any time, you might consider keeping a flotation device specifically designed for his size/weight on him for safety’s sake.
If you have a pool, or live at the lake you need to ensure ‘first timers’ and ‘senior pets’ know how to get in and out, and that they can do it under their own steam. Remember, swimming can be very tiring; for puppies and senior dogs you need to exercise caution and not let them overexert themselves.
Make sure you keep all pets away from pool chemicals and that your pool is fenced off, so there are no accidents. Try to keep your pets from drinking pool water, which can cause an upset stomach. The same goes for pond or lake water, which can be infested with parasites that can cause diarrhea, vomiting and other health issues.
Ponds, lakes, and other standing water, can become a breeding ground for parasites. Check with your veterinarian about applying topical anti-parasite medication well ahead of activities in or near water. Consult your medication’s directions; you may need to apply a treatment as much as 24 hours in advance to protect your dog from flea, tick and mosquitoes.
At the beach, keep plenty of fresh water available for your dog to drink. Never leave your dog unattended in or near water, but particularly in the surf, where waves and the undertow can put him at greater risk. Out of the water, keep an eye on your dog’s paws, taking care that the sand doesn’t rub them raw. Applying a paw-pad balm before and after wouldn’t hurt.
If you’re bringing your dog boating, be sure to have a pet-safe flotation device and ensure it fits properly and is in good shape. You’ll want plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink — particularly if he doesn’t go in the water, but stays on board, where temperatures can get quite warm. And once you’ve made sure his hydration needs are met, you’ll want to arrange for a place for him to urinate — either a litter box or “puppy pads.”
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