Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dog Safety For Summer Swimming Fun

Dog safety around swimming pools is not unlike safety rules for children. Pools can be fun and refreshing, but dangers lurk for the untrained dog.

One dear friend of mine had an old dog of hers drown in her pool. She felt awful and voiced over and over how she could not imagine how the dog got out of the house and into the pool.

She had several dogs, so I brought them all out. First, I had them placed in the deep end one at a time, and made them swim to the steps and climb out by themselves. Then we had them all at once, so they would get used to the chaos without panicking, and still head to the steps to get out.

If they don't know to go to the steps, then they will try to get out the sides. Then they can become vertical in the water and drown.

For short-legged dogs, you may want to install a little ramp, or put blocks on the steps to make it easier. Consider this also for older dogs whose hips are getting weak.

I also had my friend install a self locking gate on the pool fence to insure safety.

Don't let your excited dog get over tired, either. Especially an older dog, whose hips simply are not as strong as before. And just because you have a canine, do not automatically assume he can swim, or swim well without tiring. Watch your dog as you would a child.

Pool safety rules for children should always include no running on the pool deck. It's slippery when wet, and someone could slip and be hurt badly on the deck or into the pool. The same holds true for dogs, with broken bones and other freak accidents that you cannot undo.

You also need to remember that chlorine is toxic for dogs. Do not let your dog drink the pool water. It's hot, so be sure to have fresh drinking water available at all times on or near the pool deck, and show your dog where it is. Also, the dog's eyes can be irritated by the chlorine, so after the swim time is over, rinse them thoroughly with fresh water.

So have fun in the pool, and keep your children and dogs safe!

Rena Murray

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