Swimming pools are a wonderful source of fun and amusement, not to mention a great way too cool down. The whole family can enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool, including your dog.
Pools are a great addition to our backyards but they can also be dangerous. Pool safety is not only for people, dogs and other animals can drown in pools. The following are some important tips on how to keep your dog, and other animals, safe when they are in or around a pool. Remember, dogs often don’t see the same dangers as you do, so for them jumping in the pool is just fun and not potentially life threatening.
Keep them safe when unsupervised
Dogs are often left unsupervised for long periods of time which allows them to get up to mischief. If a dog feels like going for a swim or wants to get in the pool area they can often find a way. Dogs can dig under a fence, jump over or push through a fence if they want to. Ensure that the pool fence is safe and well maintained to hopefully prevent this from happening. Make sure there is nothing on or close to the fence that they could climb on and then jump over the fence. Some dogs might like to dig under a pool fence so they can squeeze their way into the pool area. Be sure to check around the edge of the pool fence daily to see if your dog has been busy digging. Do not leave toys in or around the pool as your dog may be attracted to them.
If you bring home a new puppy or kitten make sure they can not get through the pool fence and/or don’t have access to the area at all. They are so tiny that they can often squeeze through the standard pool fencing. If they out exploring they may just end up falling in the pool.
A pool alarm is a good last line of defence for the pool. These are designed to go off when something like a pet or even a fallen branch breaks the water surface.
Keep them safe while swimming
If your dog goes swimming or has access to a pool make sure they know how get out of the pool safely. Teach them to use the pool steps or ramp and make sure that they are easy for them to use. Depending on the size of your dog you may need to alter the steps. Sometimes making more steps can help the. get out easily. A ramp, like a Skamper Ramp, is often the easiest and safest way for your dog to exit the pool. Ensure that the steps or ramp are not slippery as you don’t want them sliding and hurting themselves.
Invest in a flotation device or life jacket to help keep your dog afloat. There are a few options available like the EzyDog DFD Life Jacket or KONG Sport AquaPro Flotation Vest. They are a great idea if your dog is not a confident or very capable swimmer. Although these make it safer for your dog you still must not leave them unsupervised.
Teach your dog to swim
The other most important pool safety rule for your dog is to teach them how to swim. Not all dogs are good swimmers or even naturally know how to swim. Teach your dog to swim in a controlled environment when you are in the water with them supervising and able to help if needed. Not all dogs can swim, so you need to show them the basics and help them until they get the hang of it. For tips on how to teach your dog to swim we have a blog post full of help here. If you are not able to or want a bit of help you should speak to a local dog trainer, they may be able to come and assist.
Learn doggy CPR
As a pet owner knowing Doggy CPR is a useful tool. Hopefully you will never have to use but it could possibly save your dogs life. Some local animal organisations, shelters, trainers or your vet may run classes or be able to teach you the correct CPR techniques.
Keep in mind that cats can also drown in pools although most cats don’t like water some breeds like Bengals actually love water. Cats are able to easily jump a pool fence. They may be attracted to a swimming pool for a drink or just to look at, which then makes them at risk of falling in.
Wildlife can also drown in a pool. They may go looking for a drink or to cool off or just fall in. Making sure that there are appropriate steps or a ramp to assist wildlife is a good idea. Even a sick leaning into the pool can help birds, frogs or reptiles to get out of the pool or at least to keep their heads above water until you can help.
Never leave a dog unsupervised or with free access to a pool. Even if a dog can swim, they should never be left alone in or around a pool as accidents can happen. Please make sure that your pool and pool fence are safe and you follow the above tips to help to avoid any tragedies.
Until next time,