I know summer is sadly coming to a close but that doesn't mean it's not still my job to share what I know about animal safety in the warm months. So today, we're going to talk about some safety tips for when your pet is likely to be spending large amounts of time near bodies of water! OK so take a minute and think about the last time you tried to go swimming with your dog. Whether it was a pool, a lake or even a bathtub, some dogs LOVE the water while others hate it and will do everything they can to avoid it at all costs.
But whether your pup is a landlubber or loves the doggy paddle life, it's a good idea to make sure your pet knows how to survive in the water. According to an NYTimes article by Jen Miller: "The most common setting where dogs drown is in swimming pools" because most people forget that just like little kids, dogs need constant supervision when they are near bodies of water—especially when they're near unfenced pools. While some dogs are great swimmers, others, especially certain breeds are...less so and falling in could result in your pet panicking—or worse.
Dr. Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club, said "Dogs with short legs, like dachshunds, can have trouble paddling. Dogs with short snouts, known as brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and French bulldogs, may have a hard time breathing. Dogs with heavy coats, like komondors (which look like mops), can also be weighed down quickly in water, and stocky dogs like bulldogs can have trouble swimming because of the way their body weight is distributed."
Fortunately, even if your dog is scared of pawing the water at first, there are plenty of places that offer doggie swim lessons. Even if it's just to get your dog to a place where they are a bit more comfortable around water, it could make all the difference in the world.
Doggie swim lessons basically entail starting off slowly and easing your pet's way in. First, they might begin by just pawing the water and then using treats and other forms of encouragement (training, much like you would do in order to train your pet to do anything else—sit, stay, roll, play dead anyone?), your pet will slowly but surely acclimate until they are hopefully as comfy on the sea as they are on land.
So even if the first thought of swim lessons for your pet makes you laugh and feel like a ridiculous, obsessive pet owner, truth is, lessons like these could make or break your dog's ability to sink—or swim.
Til next time,