Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Keep Fido Cool in a Doggie Pool

By Ruthie Bently

I’ve used a kiddie pool for my chickens and geese for several years. I originally got it to provide my geese with a place to swim, as our property wasn’t near water. I began to rethink its use the day my dog Katie plunged into it after a play session. I’m not a neophyte when it comes to dogs. I’ve been involved in the pet industry since 1976 helping other pet owners solve problems with their pets, and I’ve owned dogs since 1981. My problem was that I never thought outside the box.

I didn’t consider the benefits of a kiddie pool for dogs until that day when Katie jumped into it. Katie was too warm for her comfort, and that’s why she went for a swim. For me it was an “Ah Ha” moment. I decided to get a second pool that the dogs could utilize without competition, and never looked back.

So why would you want a pool for your dog? You might be amazed at the answers. I found the pool I purchased for my dogs to be an invaluable asset in their caretaking. Smokey Bear met a skunk one evening on a ramble around the property and got sprayed. The odor was so strong I didn’t want to bring him in the house before trying to alleviate the odor, so I bathed him in the pool before I brought him in the house. He still smelled like skunk but not as bad as if I had brought him into the house and had to deal with the smell inside.

What else can you use your dog’s pool for? If your dog has gotten into your garden or flower beds, it’s a great place to wash muddy feet before letting them back in the house where they can track their paws across your rugs or furniture. I live in an old farm house and it doesn’t have a bathtub; instead, it has a shower stall with a plastic shower curtain. While Skye is great about being bathed, I can’t imagine washing a large wriggly dog in my bathroom. I use the pool outside for regular baths during nice weather and have used it for flea baths when necessary. Another benefit of washing Skye outside in her doggie pool is that after the bath she can shake to her heart’s content and doesn’t splatter water all over my bathroom.

I have a garden pond in my yard, and before I set up the pool, Skye would go diving in the pond. Now she leaves it alone. A friend’s mother had a problem with one of her dogs diving in her fish pond. Even though I thought the dog was diving for the fish, I suggested a kiddie pool for the dogs to play in. While she was skeptical, she tried it and the dogs have left the fish pool alone.

If you’re training a puppy to retrieve, a kiddie pool is a great place to toss the dummy to get them used to water retrieving. You can control the water temperature so they won’t get too much of a shock. You can also control the depth of the water so they won’t plunge in too deeply on their first retrieve and become afraid if they go in over their head. You will be better able to discern if they will make a good retriever as you can watch their reaction to the water.

Even if you’re just trying to get a dog used to being around water, a kiddie pool is a great way to start. You don’t have to worry about waves overtaking them and it is a good way to teach them water sports if that is an activity you want them to participate in with you. While most dogs don’t swim as we know it, this is also a good place to teach them how.

As Katie demonstrated to me, a kiddie pool is a great place for your dog to cool off after an exercise session, a walk, or on a hot day. It helps keep your dog from getting heat stroke and you are able to cool them off gradually. Because you’re in control of filling it, you can be sure it won’t have chemicals in it, and you won’t have to worry about your dog getting into bad water. A kiddie pool for your dog can be a great tool; by thinking outside the box you can discover lots of ways to put it to good use!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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