It’s summer! That means hiking, camping, barbeques, and pool parties. The heat and fun also bring up the topic of water safety. Before any of us paddleboard with our pooches, we’ve got to soak up some safety tips. Ocean, lake, pool, river, pond - if we follow these water safety tips, we’ll all have a fun summer together, especially our pups.
Dogs and swimming
Believe it or not, dogs DON’T naturally know how to swim. They will naturally make a running movement if they are in the water, which can slowly get them to shore in very calm water. But that’s just doggy paddling. Dogs need to be gently introduced to the water so they can learn to swim. Otherwise, many dogs end up traumatized and it takes much more effort to help feel as comfortable and outgoing around water as they would if they had been introduced to the water at a pace they can enjoy.
To teach our pup to swim, we can begin with a quiet, shallow area of water that is protected from any current. We need to keep Fido on a leash while he’s learning to swim. It helps to get into the water with him. If he doesn’t want to get in the water, we don’t need to force him. Instead, we can play in the water, call him to us while we sit very close to him, and coax him in. When he does decide to get in and begins to paddle, all we need to do is stay positive and encouraging. It can be especially helpful to keep close and make games to help him learn to swim from point to point and to shore.
Some dogs can benefit from a doggy life vest. For others, life vests add an element of uncertainty and can cause panic and discomfort. As long as we pay attention and watch for signs of distress while staying close to our pup, we can keep the experience positive and make any adjustments we need to keep water time fun for everyone. For those who don’t need a vest, be sure to add a bright, visible harness so they are easy to spot.
Dogs and water
There are some dog breeds who love water, and others who aren’t built for water. Labradors, Goldens, and Chesapeakes are famously known as water dogs. Springer, Irish, and American spaniels also acclimate quickly to the water. There are many more, such as Portuguese water dogs who love the water and are built for playtime around water. Other breeds with short snouts, like pugs and bulldogs, are prone to drowning, so we need to keep a closer eye on them.
Regardless of how much or little they love the water, we all need to remember just how exhausting water sports can be, even swimming. We should bring them in for breaks fairly often and always keep fresh drinking water available. We can’t keep them from drinking lake and river water, but we can’t leave it as their only water source either. These water sources contain parasites and bacteria. Our canine companions need a freshwater option to help keep them healthy and hydrated.
Dogs and fun in the sun
One of the biggest concerns we should have about dogs around water is the sun. Dogs are susceptible to heat stroke. They do get sunburned. And they can end up dehydrated. It doesn’t hurt to invest in a pet first aid class. Those of us who end up needing it will be glad we bothered to learn the basics. Also, when setting up our pup’s area, we need to make sure they have shade and fresh water available at all times. We should offer them a little more food than usual because swimming and playing take more energy and calories than usual. And we can towel them dry if there’s a breeze or cool weather and at the end of the day. That way they aren’t trying to air dry as the day is cooling off, which can be uncomfortable and diminish their immune system.
Summer is a great time to get out and play with our pups. But we need to remember that it’s also a time for new stressors, like heat, sun, mosquitoes, ticks, and bacteria. To keep our pups in tip-top shape, add a little EcoImmune to their dinner. EcoImmune is a premium supplement formulated to boost our dog’s immune system. It’s all-natural and packed with powerful antioxidants.
Summertime is the best time to explore the great outdoors with our fur-friends. And nothing pairs better with warm weather than water sports. As long as we’re aware of the hazards, careful to keep our pups safe, and ready to keep our canine companions comfortable and healthy, we’re in for an amazing, adventurous summer.