Everyone seems to have developed a notion that dogs are natural-born swimmers. In reality, not every dog can swim. When they fall into unfamiliar waters, their initial instinct prompts them to start paddling, something that’s completely different from swimming. Thousands of pets die each year from drowning and other water-related accidents (riptides, jellyfish sting, poisonous fish, etc.), so the last thing you’d ever want is a seemingly good day turning into a complete nightmare.
That said, introducing your pup to water is a must before anything else. This is one of the most important tips for dog owners and even for those who have had pets for a while now. Getting your pets comfortable around water requires a lot of obedience training and of course, a sense of trust between you and your dog. Keep reading to know what to keep in mind before go swimming with your dog.
Swimming with Your Dog: What Owners Should Do to Prevent Water Accidents
- Don’t ever throw a dog into a body of water. You never know when a riptide hits or if there are large predators lurking down below.
- Learn more about your dog’s breed. Medium to large breeds like the Newfoundland dog and golden retriever are excellent swimmers. On the other hand, “top heavy” and brachycephalic breeds like the pug, dachshund, boxer, and bulldog are generally not able to stay afloat due to their large chest and small hind side. The abnormal structure of a brachycephalic dog’s respiratory system also makes him susceptible to drowning.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended when around water. You can always install a fence around your pool, if you don’t have one yet.
- Have them wear a dog-specific life vest. Whether they’re swimming in the water or riding on a raft, it’s always recommended to have your dog wear a life vest for an added layer of safety.
- Keep your dog close! Even the most skilled canine swimmer tires quickly. Because these animals don’t quite understand the concept of water, they’ll just drop everything they’re doing all of a sudden and end up sinking. To prevent them from drowning, make sure you keep them close and within sight.
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Other water safety tips:
- Your dog may be tempted to start drinking swimming water. To prevent this, prepare a glass of fresh water for your pet in case they start becoming dehydrated.
- Chlorine from pools and salt water should be rinsed off immediately. Like human beings, you need to help your dog get a good rinsing before and after they swim in the waters. Make sure you get to those ears to prevent any infection from happening.
- Pack on that sunscreen. There are specially formulated sunscreen built for dog breeds that are prone to getting sunburn. Just make sure that none of the ingredients includes zinc as this could be toxic to dogs once ingested.
Despite the fact that some breeds are built for the water, you still need to help your furry friend grow comfortable around water. Make sure you take your time in doing so to avoid traumatizing the dog. It is also important to know the conditions of the water before you go swimming with your dog. Parasites, bacteria, and large predators tend to lurk around bodies of water, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.