Some dog breeds are more excited about swimming than others, like water-loving retrievers, while others may be wary of the pool at first. But every dog can enjoy taking the plunge if you show them the ropes the first few times they venture into the water.
You will know fairly quickly if your dog enjoys going in the water. To encourage a safe experience for your dog in and around the pool every time, here are some helpful pool safety tips:
- Teach your dog to swim: As a first step, the American Kennel Club(AKC) recommends that you carry him into the pool and lower him into the water gently. Your dog may be unsure of what to do next, so you can help him swim to the steps, praising him for his efforts.
- Familiarize him with the pool: You can guide your dog a bit further into the pool, then assist him back towards the steps. With some practice, your dog will start swimming for the exit on his own.
- Ensure your dog learns how to safely exit: Another important element of pool safety for dogs is reaching the steps and finding the exit from any entry point. The AKC suggests putting him in the pool from different points and guiding him towards the exit. Knowing how to get out of the water will help eliminate panic in case of an accidental fall.
- Confirm your dog is comfortable: If your dog seems to thrive in the water and is physically healthy enough to swim, you are all set to go. If he seems a bit unsure of the water after the first introduction to the pool, try again next time. You’ll be surprised at how much more comfortable he may be during the second or third try.
- Always supervise: Even if your pal is a strong swimmer, you can never know when an emergency situation in the water may arise. By always keeping an eye on your dog while playing in or around the pool, you can be sure he is safe.
Does my dog need a life vest or flotation device?
Have you ever heard of the doggy paddle? Dogs are natural swimmers, so once they get used to being in the water, they’ll be able to move themselves around. By teaching them basic dog water safety from their very first encounter with a pool, you can be certain that your dog will know how to handle himself in the water.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider getting a life vest for your dog. Do you notice your pal needs a bit of help getting around, gets tired when swimming for long periods of time, or simply still seems a little unsure in the water? By aiding your dog’s ability to float in the water comfortably, a dog life vest can give every dog the confidence to swim and play in the water.
Another option, if you have a water-loving dog who tires easily or would rather relax than swim non-stop, is a flotation device. A flotation aid, such as a pool float or doggy raft, can be a great way for your dog to spend more time in the water without overtiring. A human pool float will do the trick, though an actual dog pool float may be better suited to withstand wear and tear from your dog’s nails.
Keeping your dog safe in the water
In addition to life vests and floats, there are some other great tools to ensure pool safety for dogs. A dog pool ramp is designed to help dogs exit the water safely while swimming with you, or after accidentally falling in the pool by themselves.