When Your Dog Goes Swimming, Keep an Eye Out!

“Mom is in the kitchen with my smallest biped brother. Dad is at work. It’s a beautiful fall day, and I was left in the backyard to play, how cool is that? Wait! What is that shimmering thing at the bottom of our pool? I bet it’s a toy! I need to get it! Wee! Splash! Whoa, swimming is hard! I’m trying to move my legs and my tail, but my paws are getting heavy. Why is the pool trying to eat me? I’m getting tired, and I can’t get any closer to the stairs. Mom! Brother! Woof woof! Help!”

Approximately 5,000 pets drown in backyard swimming pools every year, as Pet Place reports. Reasons for drowning vary. It could be anything from a pet left alone outside, one who is prone to seizures, or just a dog who isn’t built for swimming. Awareness is key when your beloved pet is around a swimming pool.

What You Can Do

Physical pool barriers are the best way to prevent drownings. Pool fences can save lives of humans and pets alike, and in many states, are mandated by law. There are many options for pool fences that can be installed by a business, and the price ranges from around $900 to more than $2,000, not including the cost of installation or labor, Homewyse reports.

DIY options for pool fencing are also available and can be found at hardware or pool stores, typically costing around $100 per section. Invisible “barriers” such as pool alarms are used in many homes. Pool alarms will alert members inside of a house if a moving person or thing crosses a sensor that is placed in or near the pool. If you do have an in-ground pool, steer clear of pool nets and solar covers, as they’re extremely easy for your dog to get caught up in and may make your pooch unable to escape.

An above ground pool selection is a great alternative to installing a pool fence. Above ground pools create a natural barrier animals cannot cross, and have stairs that can be detached during non-use periods, or that fold up onto the elevated pool deck. Above ground pools cost less than in-ground pools, with pricing for the entire pool being less than that of a typical fence, according to In the Swim.

Dogs Who Need Lifeguards

As we all know, not all dogs are created equally. Just like humans, some have an athletic build, while others may be more short and stout. Breeds such as Labrador retrievers are built to swim, while many bulldog breeds are heavier on top, with shorter legs that are not made to tread water. This also causes breathing issues in the water, as well as exhaustion.

Dogs with health issues like seizures should not be allowed near any water. If you want your dog to be near the water and able to go in it, the first thing to do is teach it to swim. Get in the water with your dog, and help it float and tread water on its stomach. Also, show your dog where the stairs are located. You can do this by swimming with the dog and moving it from the middle of the pool toward the stairs.

Having other pets in the pool who are good swimmers can also help show your furry friend how to swim. There are doggie flotation devices that make your pup more buoyant in the water. These devices range from $15-$100, but who can put a price on your fur-kid’s life?

Authour: Everett Malone
Everett works at an animal shelter and blogs about pet care.

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