Dog Water Safety: Tips for Splashing Safely
Summertime is just around the corner! The sun is high in the sky, and the temperature is steadily climbing! That means the days are longer and hotter, and you’re gonna want to cool off by taking a swim, but before you and your pup go for a refreshing dip, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure the two of you are as safe as can be while in the water
You will want to make sure the water is warm enough for you and your dog. Even with their fur coats it is still possible for dogs to get hypothermia like humans do when they are too cold. However, unlike a human, a dog won’t understand that the freezing water is the cause. Generally water at or below 50 degrees is too cold to go swimming. Remember, if you are getting out because the water is too cold for you, it is definitely too cold for your dog to swim in.
Once you’re sure the water is a safe temperature for your dog, then you need to figure out if your dog actually likes to swim or not. Many smaller breeds of dog that have short legs don’t swim for fun, but will do it for survival. Never assume your dog will enjoy swimming, and never try to force a dog into the water. If your dog seems hesitant to go for a swim you could try using a toy to entice them into shallow water at first.
The Swimming Eddy Water Toy from Major Dog is a great choice for something like this because the product’s natural rubber construction allows it to float on the surface of the water. It is durable, waterproof and easy to see! The attached cord on the end will allow you to easily throw the toy into the water.
Before venturing out into deeper water, you should make absolutely sure that you can handle your dog’s weight both in and out of the water. When a dog’s fur gets submerged in water, it adds water weight. Basically this means that a heavy dog, when wet will become a much heavier dog. You should never jump into deep water to help a dog swim to you. This could cause an already panicked dog to become even more panicked, and could lead to you getting hurt in the process. Instead, move to a place where your dog can see you and guide them to you using a calm voice.
Once you know your dog is comfortable in the water, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. For many dogs, simply seeing the water so close to them in an open invitation to jump in. When your dog is in the water, it is important that you stay close to them. Even the strongest of swimmers eventually gets tired, and something could happen in an instant. Though you may think you can handle your dog, and that your dog can handle itself in the water it is very important that your pet always be outfitted with a life preserver in deeper water, or when on a boat or a raft.
The Dog Life Vest from Dogline is a great option for this sort of product. It is constructed from durable nylon and breathable mesh which make this life jacket much lighter and cooler on your dog’s body than many other options. The mesh underbelly allows for proper draining and quick drying. Reflective strips on the sides make the vest easy to spot, and the handle on top will give you better control over your dog in the water. The additional chin and nose support will help to keep their noses out of the water as well.
A second option for life vests comes from Alcott. The Water Adventure Dog Life Jacket is constructed from breathable, non-chafing material so it will be soft on your dog’s skin. It also features a durable handle on the top of the jacket, and reflective strips as well for visibility. The Water Adventure Jacket also features a floating support for the dog’s chin and nose.
Since you should always have your dog's identification tags on them, you may also want to use a waterproof collar, or harness. Wigzi makes a great line of harnesses, collars, and leashes that feature reflective strips, and bright colors for easy visibility and durable nylon construction.
The nylon fibers allow the collar to repel water so it doesn’t stay wet, and it more easily repels dirt and grime. If the collar does get dirty, it is as simple as using soap and warm water to clean. The Wigzi harness features the same specifications as their collars. They even make waterproof gel leashes to complete the set.
Finally, when the two of you exit the water, and you are drying off, make sure to check your dog’s ears. You want to be certain that there is not any water that remains trapped inside their ears. Ocean, river and lake water can be dirty and full of bacteria. Failing to check your dog’s ears could lead to a nasty ear infection due to the contaminated water.
So, before you go bounding out into the water for a swim with your dog, double check to make sure all of your safety needs have been met. Make sure you can handle your dog, and in deeper water make sure they have some form of flotation device. After swimming, do the due diligence required to make sure they are dry, healthy, and happy. Follow these steps every time you go to the water and help to ensure swimming is a fun activity for both you and your dog for years to come!