Summer is almost here and many of you will take your dog to the beach, lake, river or even the pool. Water is one’s favorite place to beat the heat on a warm summer day, and is also one place to have a lot of fun with your pooch (if he likes water of course!). But you have to be careful, each year around 40,000 pets die in drowning accidents.
Keep in mind that what can harm you at the beach can also harm your pet, so protect Fido from high temperatures, riptides, sunburn, jellyfish, sharp shells or broken glass, and aggressive dogs.
Here are a few tips to ensure a perfectly safe time at the beach!
Sun Protection: Some breeds – hairless, short-coated, light colored breeds and dogs with pink nose – are more prone to getting sunburn. Pet sunscreens can be found at most pet stores or online. Be careful, don’t buy sunscreen that contains zinc! If ingested, it can be toxic. Your dog might also be tempted to lick the sunscreen. To avoid that, avoid products with fragrance.
Sea water and fresh water: Many dogs will find drinking saltwater very enjoyable but it can lead to stomach irritation, vomiting and dehydration. Teach your dog not to drink seawater or discourage him by offering him a bowl of fresh water. Also, when leaving the beach, an immediate fresh water rinse will wash off the sand and salt and help keep your pooch’s coat and skin healthy.
Is your pup under voice control? If you let your dog wander off leash, make sure he is under firm voice control and will come back to you as soon as you call him. This might keep your frolicking dog from harm if you see a danger he hasn’t noticed.
Waves: Unless your pup is the Kelly Slater of canines, he’s probably not a great surfer! Make sure you are aware of rip currents and undertows. Even if dogs can be great swimmers, water currents can be very strong and put them in danger.
Boating pets: Wishing to go on a leisurely cruise with your dog? Make sure he has a life jacket and that there is a secure area available, away from the edge of the boat, where you can keep your pet safe if the ride gets ruff! Secure your dogs so they don’t get overboard!
Pool Party for Pooch: pools are much more dangerous for dogs than they appear at first sight. Your dog will probably merrily jump (or accidentally fall) into the cool water for a swim, but if he doesn’t know where the stairs are, he’s in trouble! A dog will instinctively swim to the nearest edge and try to get out. If no one is there to show the pup where the stairs are or to lift him out of the water, he might struggle to tread water until he is exhausted and can eventually drown. Don’t let your pet play near a pool if you’re not a 100% sure he knows how to get out on his own. Visible pool ramps are also a good idea and can be purchased online and in most pet stores.
Don’t force it: dogs are like people in so many ways. Some love water, some hate it. Don’t insist if you’ve got a pooch who refuses to go for a swim. Also make sure he doesn’t have any major health issues or physical limitations what would make swimming more difficult.