3 Tips for Dog Safety in the Water

  • December 05, 2013
  • By Dr Mark Perissinotto
  • 0 Comments

The moment you yell “Marco Polo” your pet dog may just decide to jump into the pool. This is why there are a few important tips for safety you need to put into effect as some breeds of dog are able to swim naturally while others are not able to.  Not all dogs love water, but for their own safety they should definitely be exposed to it. With some safety devices and training, you can protect your dog this summer and ease your mind in the process.

Baby Steps

You can gradually introduce your pooch to the lake or the pool by snugly holding him and walking slowly into the waters. A little bit at a time, let him get wet and let him swim a little eventually. Make this experience something positive with a lot of praise and encouragement.

The Right Techniques

The proper techniques for swimming will be something to teach your dog. Instinctively, all dogs paddle when they are under water. Swimmers who are not experienced however will have the tendency to rely on their front paws and do hardly anything with their rear paws. The result of this is loads of splashing and a swim technique that is almost vertical. It is very easy for a dog to become exhausted doing this. With the right training, many swimmers who are vertical can learn to use their hind paws to even out their swimming style to something that is safer. You need to watch your dog safely and if you start seeing signs of fatigue or over-stimulation, you can then call them to shore. Also, take note that advanced dog swimmers that lower their lower back is a sign of fatigue as well.

Depth Perception

A pool with steps should be marked with potted plants as dogs tend to have poor perception of depth in a swimming pool. If there are no steps, provide a ramp with a non-slip surface to server as an exit. Spend enough time to help him exit at the ramp if he is by himself in the pool. It is a good idea to keep safety devices for floatation not too far away, in case of emergency.

Mark Perissinotto has been a practicing veterinarian for over 20 years, 14 years of which he was the owner and principal of a busy multi-vet mixed animal hospital. One of the two co-founders of Vet Shop Australia, graduated from the University of Queensland with Bachelor of Veterinary Science and one of the best retailer of pet supplies Australia.

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