Summer and swimming go hand-in-hand. And if you have pets, you want them to be part of the fun. But contrary to popular belief, not all dogs can swim or even if they do, may not know how to get out of the pool on their own. To get the most enjoyment – and peace of mind – follow these tips to have fun with your pets while keeping them safe.
First of all, if you don’t already have fence around your swimming area you should strongly consider installing one. Yes, it can be expensive. But there’s no better way to ensure pets who roam freely in your backyard – even if only for a few minutes at a time – don’t have access to your pool.
If you have a pool cover, that’s not enough for safety. Covers themselves can hold inches of water, which can be enough to drown a small pet. And they can become a hazard, too. Heavier pets have been known to walk on covers, detaching them and becoming entangled, leading to disaster.
If a fence is out of the question right now, consider keeping your pets leashed or under your watchful eye whenever they are outside.
Secondly, there are products on the market designed with pet water safety in mind. Specially designed ramps allow your pets to exit the water on their own. Similar to the pool alarms designed to alert you if a child falls into the water, small alarms that attach to your pet’s collar can trigger an alarm when they become wet, alerting you to a potential problem.
Finally, for those times when you’re swimming with your pet, consider investing in a life jacket. Typically sold by size and weight, life jackets can help your pet enjoy the water with you, while giving you peace of mind, especially if your pet isn’t a strong swimmer. Features to look for include a small flotation pad under your pet’s chin that will help keep their head above water with less effort, and a well-attached handle on the back that will help you remove your pet from the water if there’s trouble.
With a little planning, you can keep your pets safe around your pool and have fun together in the water.