Swimming should be a fun, exhilarating experience for dogs as well as their owners. It can be a wonderful way to make lifelong memories and bond with your pet in a new way (see Parts 1 & 2). Some dogs get so comfortable in the water that they advance to learning how to fetch and do tricks in an aquatic environment. Here are a few more pointers for ensuring that your dog has a safe, happy time with you in the pool.
Monitor How Comfortable Your Dog is in the Water & Respond Accordingly
Pay close attention to how your dog seems to be doing emotionally while in the water. If your dog is showing signs of discomfort or stress after the first few minutes of swimming, it may be time to call it a day. If your dog feels like she is being forced into surroundings where she feels uncertain, she may be turned off to swimming for a long time to come. If, however, you respect your dog’s skittishness of the water and promptly take her to the exit if she seems to want to leave the water, she’ll learn that you want to protect her. This may make the difference between a dog permanently fearing the pool and a dog learning to love the water after initial hesitancy.
Look for Ways to Keep Dogs Safe In the Pool & Ease Their Fears of the Water
For dogs who are scared to enter the water, a pool ramp is a great option. These ramps make it easy for dogs to get into and out of the water on their own. Consider also investing in a pool fence and cover to prevent your dog from getting into the water while unsupervised.
Some dogs, just like some people, feel better being in the water if they have a flotation device. There are life vests on the market that are made especially for dogs. This list of 25 dog life vests contains recommendations by Pet Life Today. Some of the best vests come with pet-friendly features such as rip-resistant materials, handles for pulling a dog out during an emergency, adjustable straps for a secure fit, and neck floats to keep a dog’s head safely above the water. You and your pet can get some extra peace of mind with one of these safety vests. They’re ideal for dogs who are unsure of themselves in water, aren’t strong swimmers, or who tire quickly while swimming.
Another handy tool for dogs who could use some help staying up in the water would be a flotation raft. Just like with dog life vests, there are pet-friendly flotation devices that tend to be made from sturdier, more rip-resistant materials than those intended for human use. These are great accessories to have around the pool for older dogs, small puppies, or dogs with physical problems who may get weary while swimming.
If you take the time to plan in advance and invest in dog safety swimming pool equipment, you can greatly enhance your dog’s enjoyment of the water this summer. In our last article of this series, we’ll take a look at keeping chemical levels optimal for your dog as well as some extra precautions you can take for keeping your pet safe in the pool.
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