Water Safety Tips

by Nancy Boland

Swimming is a great all rounder when it comes to exercise. It uses every muscle in the body with little impact on the joints. Many dogs like spaniels, retrievers and Newfoundland’s love the water and have been adapted for swimming with their webbed feet, extra thick coat and rudder like tails. However, not all dogs are blessed with the swimming gene. Some dogs are just not the right size or shape for swimming, like the bulldog or greyhounds. This may not stop them being intrigued by the water or attempting to swim, but whatever your breed of dog, it’s important to be mindful of the potential dangers of swimming and being around water in general.

water safety tips

Start Young

Introducing a puppy to water gradually is the best way to make sure they aren’t afraid in the long term. Initial water introductions should be conducted in shallow water or a river with no strong current. Do not force or push your dog into the water as this could lead to fear later in adult life. Coax your dog with toys and generally try to create a positive attitude around water, but don’t force them if they seem disinterested. Let them investigate in their own good time.

Water Safety Tips

Different areas will have different safety cautions. For example; a trip to the beach or the river is fun for all concerned, but a few things to be mindful of, for your own safety as well as your dogs, include:

  • Strong tides and rip tides
  • Strong currents
  • Waterfalls and weirs
  • The weather conditions such as strong winds
  • Jellyfish and other stinging fish
  • Submerged rocks and sharp rocks and reefs which could cut your dogs paws

In addition, if you decided to take a trip on a boat with your dog, lifesavers jackets for dogs are available, helping to provide extra buoyancy and come with a grab handle so you can keep a hold of your dog if they slip. These are also great to keep your dogs core temperature up so that they can spend even longer enjoying themselves in the water.

Further Tips

  • Hypothermia can still be an issue even if the weather is warm. Signs to be mindful of include; excessive shivering, shallow breathing and blue or pale gums.
  • Rinse your dog off after being in the water to remove salt, algae or chemicals thus minimising the risk of any skin irritation.
  • Always call the lifeguard or coastguard if you get into trouble. Do not put yourself in any danger.

A few minute forward planning and adequate organisation is all you need to take the necessary precautions for safety to ensure that you and your dog have fun in the water.

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