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Splish, Splash, Safe: Dog Water Safety 101

Dog Holding Onto Poolside After SwimSummer may be halfway over, but that doesn’t mean we’re packing up the sunscreen or covering the grill just yet. Spending the day at the lake or pool is still on the agenda for many families, and bringing a water-loving dog along adds another layer of fun.

Even if your dog is a true beach bum or poolside pup, good dog water safety is a must. Keep the following tips in mind for a fun, safe, and successful day on the water with your four-legged family member.

Dog Water Safety 101

Protecting your pet against drowning and other water-related dangers form the basis of dog water safety.

  • Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and even those who are can get overly tired, swim too far out, or get trapped in the water. Always supervise your dog while in or around water; consider using a canine life vest for added safety.
  • Deep water, such as Lake Erie, is often quite cold and can be dangerous to dogs. A good rule of thumb: if the water’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
  • Lakeshores, river beds, and even pool decks can be littered with refuse that can injure your pet’s paw pads. Keep an eye out for broken glass, fishing hooks, sharp rocks or sticks, and other debris that could pose a danger.
  • Parasites and contagious diseases are seemingly everywhere. Make sure your dog is current on vaccinations and parasite prevention prior to taking a dip.

The Heat is On

Although being in the water helps your pet stay cool, they’re still at risk for heat-related dangers. Protect against dehydration and heatstroke with regular breaks in the shade. Also provide plenty of cool, fresh drinking water (discourage drinking from the lake or pool water, which can be toxic to pets). If you notice any signs of heat-related illness, such as excessive panting or drooling, weakness, lethargy, or pale/bright red gums, give us a call immediately.

Keep “Petiquette” in Mind

Whether you’re in the water or not, a little bit of basic courtesy goes a long way toward keeping your dog and others safe:

  • Keep your dog leashed at all times when out of the water. Don’t allow them to investigate wildlife or other people or pets.
  • Keep people food away from your dog, and dispose of all food-related trash immediately.
  • Last but not least, scoop that poop!

Packing Up

Dog water safety doesn’t end when it’s time to pack up and go home. Before you jump in the car, rinse your pet with clean water, and towel dry their fur thoroughly; pay special attention to the face and ears. Check your pet’s skin for any external parasites, and inspect their paw pads for injuries.  

Please let us know if you have additional questions about dog water safety. We hope you have a wonderful summer!

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