Let the summer activities begin! Spending time in the water with your pup can be a fun way for them to cool off during the hot season of the year, especially in Texas! Knowing the basic rules of water safety is a must for all PAWrents, because without the proper knowledge, a day of fun could quickly turn into a dangerous situation. Here are some tips so you CAN go chasing waterfalls—or you can stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to.
1. The most important water safety rule is to always watch your pup any time they are near water.
This includes pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Never allow unsupervised swimming as accidents can happen very quickly.
Most dogs can swim, but not all of them enjoy it and some dog breeds are naturally better swimmers than others because of their body style. Poodles and Retrievers are known to be excellent swimmers. However, brachycephalic breeds (flat nose faces) such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih-Tzus are known to not be the next Michael Phelps. Their flat faces and big chests cause them to tire more quickly while swimming and put them at increased risk of sinking. Keep a close eye on puppies, although they are energetic, they tire easily and are clumsy which can cause falling into the pool a dangerous risk.
2. Access To Fresh Drinking Water.
Make sure your pup has access to plenty of fresh drinking water. It’s dangerous to let your pup drink lake, river, pool, or ocean water because it can make them severely sick as it can contain bacteria, algae, parasites, chemicals, or salt.
3. Check Water Conditions
Always check the current water conditions before taking them to the ocean or river. Rip currents, undertows, or fast-moving currents can be extremely dangerous for people and pups. Check for high levels of bacteria in natural bodies of water to avoid the risk of GI illnesses. Also pay attention to the temperature of the water. A general rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pup. Only a few double coated pups can handle cold temperature water.
Here are some websites to check water conditions:
- Tides & Currents
- CDC-Water Quality Information for Oceans, Lakes and Rivers
- San Antonio River Watershed Water Quality Viewer
- Water Quality-Bacteria Dashboard
4. Play it safe!
When out on a boat or in deep water, your pup should wear a life vest. This not only helps them stay afloat, but makes it easy to spot them and pull them out if they were to fall off the boat or get too far away. Your pup should be able to get out of the water easily. Have climbable stairs or a ramp for them
to get out. Have a tall enough fence around your personal pool to keep them from any unsupervised swimming.
5. Rinse-Off Afterwards
Wash or rinse your pup after a fun day of water activities. Salt or pool chemicals can irritate your pup’s skin. Rinsing them off helps prevent them from licking their fur and ingesting anything harmful from the water.
As a FURiendly reminder, not all pups like to swim or are good swimmers. If your fur baby is more of a land lover, try introducing them to baby pools or spraying them with a hose as an alternative outdoor water activity!