Dog Swimming Safety

  • Make your dog feel comfortable in the water 

    • Dogs need to learn to swim just like humans do. Although your pooch will likely be doing laps in far less time than it took you, making your dog feel comfortable in the water is an important step that you should not skip over.

    • Playfully tossing your dog into water can be traumatizing and is never a safe or smart way to introduce a dog to the water.

    • Tossing a stick or a ball in the water, progressively further from shore or shallow steps is an easy way to teach him to feel comfortable in the water.

  • Not all dogs are natural swimmers

    • Don't assume your dog can swim; many dogs will never feel comfortable in the water.

    • Dogs with large bodies and short legs don’t swim for fun; they will swim to survive. American Bulldogs are an example.

    • For those that have mastered the doggy paddle, you should be aware that a dog’s vision decreases dramatically at night and with advancing age.

  • Clean your dog's ears after a swim

    • Moisture in a dog's ear can set the ideal stage for an ear infection, so make sure to clean your pooch's ears thoroughly after each romp in the water.

    • Ocean and lake water can set up nasty bacterial infections rapidly which can eat through your dog’s ear drum, giving an ear infection a whole new meaning.

  • Use caution when taking your dog to the beach

    • Though it sounds great in theory, the beach is not always the best playground for a dog. Sand can be disastrous to get out of a long coat, and dogs don’t know to avoid stepping on jellyfish or broken shells.

    • Dog beaches may also be teeming with roundworm eggs, among other parasites. Use caution when taking your dog to the beach and never let your dog swim out far enough to be taken by the current. 

    • Remember, if it’s not safe for you to swim, it’s not safe for your dog either. Keep the wave height, currents and bacterial levels in mind.

  • Invest in pool and water safety products for your dog

    • Baby fences are among the simpler barriers but there are more advanced options such as pool alarms that sound when anyone falls in.

    •  Life vests for dogs are readily available and affordable. Life vests can be used for dogs learning to swim, as well as dogs who may have trouble staying afloat.

  • Train your dog to know how to exit the pool should they fall in

    • Teaching your pup where the steps or ramp are is something that can be easily done. Provide a refresher course each swimming season.

  • Don't let your dog swim in water that's too cold

    • Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from hypothermia in cold water, but they won’t understand the water is what is making them cold.

    • The general rule is that if you need to get out of the water because you are getting cold, your dog is at risk of getting cold as well.

  • Dangers of stagnant water

    • Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is most likely to thrive in bodies of fresh water when the weather is warm (over 75 degrees) and sunny. Algae intoxications happen more during the summer because weather conditions promote the growth of cyanobacteria. These organisms are incredibly toxic and are known to cause poisoning in dogs, cats, livestock, wildlife, birds, fish and even humans.

    •  Although many dogs drink from lakes and streams with no ill effect, microscopic organisms in that water can make you and your dog quite sick. Giardia and cryptosporidium are two of the bugs that can mess with the gastrointestinal system.

    • Symptoms of intoxication in dogs are: panting, excessive drooling, respiratory failure, diarrhea, vomiting, disorientation, liver failure, seizures, and sudden death.

    • If you are concerned your dog is suffering from toxic waters, call your veterinarian immediately!

2019 E White Ave

PO Box 8847

Moscow, Idaho 83843

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© 2020 by Humane Society of the Palouse.