If you’ve got a dog that loves water, consider yourself lucky! Having a dog that likes to swim and get wet can be a real treat. If you take him to the beach, he’ll run into the waves, and if you visit a lake, he will jump right in. That means plenty of fun in the sun for both of you as you watch him fetch toys from the water and splash to his heart’s content.
Keeping your dog safe around water is important. Know that some breeds aren’t good swimmers—like Bulldogs and Pugs. Some dogs just don’t like water and shouldn’t be forced to go in. Others are natural water dogs, like Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands. Whether he’s tentative about water or an expert swimmer, you should take precautions to make sure he doesn’t run into trouble.
At the Ocean
Plenty of dogs love the beach. In fact, many seaside communities have set aside beach areas specifically for dogs to play.
Here are some ways you can keep your dog safe while he’s enjoying the ocean:
- Check surf conditions before you allow your dog into the water. You want to make sure the water is safe. Rip tides and high waves can be dangerous to your dog, even if he’s a strong swimmer.
- Keep a close eye on your dog when he’s playing in the ocean. Some dogs are particularly brave and will swim far out in order to retrieve a toy. You want to make sure your dog stays fairly close to shore.
- Bring fresh water along on your beach outing, and offer it to your dog frequently. You don’t want him to get so thirsty that he drinks salt water; it can upset his digestive system.
- Rinse your dog off after he’s been playing in the ocean. Salt water can dry out his skin and coat if allowed to stay on too long after it dries.
At the Lake
- Lots of dogs enjoying jumping into placid lake water in pursuit of a floating toy. If you’ve got one of those dogs, consider these safety tips:
- Make sure dogs are allowed to swim in the lake, and that it’s safe before you let him go in. You don’t want your dog to get tangled in plant growth, or come into contact with a poisonous snake or water predator.
- If you’re planning to be out on the lake in a boat, fit your dog with a canine life jacket. This is especially important for dogs that like to jump off the boat into the water, since they may have hard time getting back in.
- Keep an eye out for loose fishing line when your dog is playing in a lake. He can easily get tangled in discarded fishing line.
If you have a swimming pool and your dog likes to use it, keep these points in mind:
- Before you let your dog swim in the pool, make sure he knows how to get out. Get in the pool with him, and show him where the steps are located.
- Don’t let your dog go into the pool unsupervised. If he’s a water crazy dog who is always trying to go into the pool, you may need to put up a pool fence so you can restrict his access.
- Rinse your dog thoroughly to remove chlorine from his coat after he’s been in the pool. Chlorine can dry out his skin and coat if left on for too long.
- When selecting a pool cover, make sure you pick one that is solid and can bear your dog’s weight. Dogs can drown by walking on a soft pool cover that sinks down around them.
Whether your dog is swimming at the beach, in a lake or at the pool, pay close attention to what he’s doing so you can step in and help him if he needs it. Always dry him thoroughly after he’s done playing, making sure you get the water out of his ears so it doesn’t cause an infection.
Most importantly, have fun watching your dog while he’s having fun. Few things are as joyful as seeing a happy dog playing in the water.