Swimming with Four-Legged Friends

Swimming with Four-Legged Friends

Many people today consider their dogs to be members of the family. And in this case, it’s natural that they’d want to include their furry family in a day of poolside fun. While some dogs naturally take to water, others may need some gentle encouragement to get used to swimming. However, for safety, a pet that is often in the backyard with access to the pool (and without constant supervision) should know how to swim or at least get himself safely to the steps and out of the pool if he slips in. Aquaman Pools LLC shares some tips for swimming with Fido this summer.

Introduce Them Early — Dogs seem to either love the water or not — there’s not much in between and they should never be forced into the pool if they just don’t want to. However, if they become accustomed to water at an early age, they will feel more comfortable with some pool time as they age. The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests dogs always wear a pet-specific lifejacket with a handle as well as D-ring for a leash. That in itself can take some getting used to so start with some practice time wearing the lifejacket prior to introducing the dog to water. Once Fido is comfortable wearing the lifejacket, the AKC says, “Start in shallow water with your dog on leash, ideally, where you too can enter the water. Wade in a few steps and encourage your dog to follow with some tasty treats.”

Start Small — It’s also a good idea to introduce puppies to water on a smaller scale than a swimming pool for their first pool experience. This can be done in a bathtub or a small baby pool. The owner can simply carry the puppy into the pool and guide them back to the step, getting farther away from the step with each lap.

Add Some Incentive — In addition to offering treats (which are typically great motivators for dogs when training in any capacity!) to encourage Fido into the water, make the introduction fun by throwing a favorite ball, Frisbee or even a new toy into the pool. This can be just the thing to help the dog “forget his fears” and jump in paws first! When attempting this with a dog that is learning to swim, someone should be in the pool already to assist. And don’t forget that doggie life vest.

Don’t Worry — New dog owners may be concerned about their puppy being exposed to chlorine and chemicals in the pool water, especially if Fido likes to take a few laps of the water. However, Chief Veterinary Officer of American Kennel Club Dr. Klein says, “As far as chlorine: the amount in a pool is negligible, but the toxic concerns are with dogs getting into chlorine tablets, so they should be put in a safe location where a dog cannot ingest them.” Dr. Klein also suggests pet owners give dogs a rinse off after a swim to help remove excess chemicals and pat their ears dry with a towel to prevent dampness and infection.

So while making a splash this hot, hot summer, why not get Fido involved in the family fun? And remember, for any cleaning, service and repair needs, give Aquaman Pools a call!