Monday, May 24, 2010
By Suzanne Alicie
When you think of water safety for a dog, more than likely the cute image of a doggie with a life jacket sitting on a boat pops into your head. While this is a safety measure for dogs when boating or swimming, it is only one of the things that a responsible pet owner must consider to keep their dog safe in and around water.
So, Fido is wearing his life jacket as he rides on the boat for your big fishing trip, but there are other dangers that lurk in that idyllic activity. Fish hooks, bait, and other fishing paraphernalia can be quite dangerous to your canine friend. Make sure to keep these harmful items away from your dog while he’s on the boat with you.
The life jacket is a smart decision whether boat riding or just hanging out around the pool, at the beach or the lake. No matter how well your dog swims, currents, tides, and even his energy level can lead to drowning. Any time your dog is going to be around a body of water, it is advised that you have a canine approved life jacket on them.
Swimming pools present other dangers besides drowning. There are chemicals in pool water to keep it clean and good for swimming, but if your dog drinks the chlorine and other chemicals he can become very sick and even die. The same can be said for the ocean, ponds and creeks; while not treated with chemicals, these bodies of water can be contaminated with parasites and bacteria. Always make sure your dog has fresh drinking water nearby. It is always smart to rinse your dog off and even douse him with vinegar after swimming to kill bacteria, and to remove harmful agents that he may ingest while grooming. Vinegar is also effective at removing that “wet dog” smell.
Frolicking on the beach and running through the surf may be your dog’s idea of a perfect day. He may love the warm sand, cool water and playtime, but there are dangers to be found here as well. Sea lice and jellyfish can ruin your dog’s day and cost you a pretty penny at the vet. If your dog drinks too much salt water while playing in the surf, he could become sick. Again, it is important that your dog wears a life jacket when dealing with waves and undertow at the beach. A strong wave or a quick undercurrent can sweep your dog away right before your eyes; a life jacket will help him keep his nose above water until he can find the shore and you again.
Most dogs can swim, or can be taught to swim. Do not, however, throw your dog into the water and assume that he will be able to swim. He may be surprised and swallow water, choke and drown before you can get to him. Lead your dog into the water in a safe area and let him swim on his own. Once he is used to the water and enjoys swimming he may jump in eagerly. Swimming is excellent exercise for dogs and also provides them with relief from the summer heat. However, just as with children pet owners should pay close attention to their dog when in and around water. Make sure that summer fun doesn’t lead to tragedy by following all safety precautions for your four legged friend.
Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie