Pool Safety for your Pets

07/27/16 at 12:21 PM | Published Under Dog Behavior by Cristen Underwood

It is so much fun to swim in the summertime with your pet! You know the rules of safety for you and your children, but there are some rules for your pets and wildlife, too. Ensure that everyone is safe this summer by knowing pet pool safety. 

Your cat will probably avoid the pool due to an innate distaste for swimming. But unfortunately there is no way to train wildlife to stay away from your pool. While some dog breeds are good swimmers, others are especially prone to drowning. Dog breeds with large heads tend to have a difficult time swimming. The best line of protection is secure fence around the perimeter of your pool. An added safety measure is an alarm such as a “safety turtle” that makes a noise when an animal enters the water.

Consider training your dog what to do if he is in your pool when you are not there. Teach your dog where the steps are. Create a visual mark where the steps are by placing something there that is highly visible. In teaching your dog to enter and exit the pool in the same spot, he will most likely remember the location even if he accidentally falls in.  Consider using a dog toy that floats in the water. Each time you throw the toy in the pool, make sure your dog enters and exits via the pool steps. Even if your dog does not like the water, it is important that he knows how to find the steps in the event of an accidental fall in the pool. Be patient and gentle. If you find the task too difficult, a trainer can help.

For small dogs, there are escape ramps available for installation on the steps. Or, a couple of cement bricks can add a booster step. Older dogs who suffer from arthritis or have vision loss may have extra difficulty getting out of the pool. Senior dogs should never be by the pool without supervision.

While some pets can be natural swimmers, all pets need practice in the water just like humans. By training your pet in the water, you are helping to ensure his safety in the event of an accident. Everyone needs to know how to find the pool steps in order to have a safe and enjoyable summer in your pool! 

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