There’s nothing like a dip in the pool on a sizzling summer day, but hundreds of pets are injured – or die – each year due to drowning. In fact, the pop singer Pink lost her beloved bulldog Elvis earlier this year when he drowned in her pool. She had left the house for only an hour to run an errand.
Despite what you may have heard, swimming does not come easily to every dog. More importantly, many dogs don’t know how to get out of the water once they’ve taken the plunge. If you plan to put your pooch in the pool, be sure to follow some basic safety measures.
Simple safety rules
The pool area should be securely fenced in (a requirement by law), and you should never leave your dog unsupervised inside the fenced area. Even covered pools can be hazardous. A dog can drown in the few inches of water that collect on top of the cover. Pets can also become trapped under the heavy cover.
Dogs should also be taught to avoid getting too close to backyard garden ponds. Curious pets will be fascinated by the activity in the pond, and could fall in. If the sides are too steep, the pet may not be able to climb out. Many pet drowning deaths are attributed to exhaustion; dogs frantically swim to get out of the pool, until they can no longer continue, and collapse.
If you own an indoor pool, be sure your dog cannot access it without your supervision. In addition to drowning risks, indoor pools are warmer than outdoor ones and dogs can overheat if they enter the pool and begin to panic.
Keep rescue devices on hand and take the time to learn pet first aid, including CPR.
There are several products available that were designed with pet water safety in mind. One such device, the Skamper-Ramp, allows pets to easily exit the water. If your dog or cat accidentally falls into the pool or pond, he can use the ramp to climb to safety.
Several companies manufacture pool alarms that sound the instant a child or pet falls into the water. Another type of alarm is a lightweight device locks onto the pet’s collar. When the device gets wet, it activates a remote alarm.
If you’re not confident about your pet’s swimming ability, but want him to join you in the pool, invest in a pet lifejacket. (For more information on these and other products, visit our online store.
As always, your best bet is to keep your dog leashed during walks, confined to your property, and under your watchful eye.