Summer is here, and people are flocking to pools and beaches. Many dogs also love swimming. However, you’ll need to take steps to keep your furry friend safe near the water. Read on as a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses taking your canine buddy swimming.
Should Fido Swim?
Although many dogs—such as Water Spaniels, Labradors, Retrievers, and Poodles—are natural swimmers, this isn’t always the case. In fact, some of our canine pals will basically sink like a stone in water. Small dogs and brachycephalic dogs, like Boxers, really aren’t well-suited to swimming, and can quickly get in trouble. If you aren’t sure if you should take Fido swimming, check with your vet first.
When you take Fido to a pool, the first thing you want to do is show him where the stairs are. This is absolutely crucial for safety reasons. If your furry pal slips and falls in, you want to make sure that he can get back out. Test him by going to the opposite end of the pool and calling him to you.
If your pooch doesn’t know how to swim, take time to teach him. Put a doggy lifejacket on your furry buddy for his lessons, and then gently support him as he’s learning. Encourage him with praise and ear scritches. (Treats should come later, after Fido’s out of the pool.) You can also try finding a friendly pup that already knows how to swim.
Dogs’ paws are very delicate when they are wet, much like human skin is after a bath. Don’t let Fido run around on harsh surfaces right after swimming. He could get painful blisters and abrasions!
Never leave Fido alone near the water, even for a minute. Even pups that can swim well can get in trouble if they fall into a pool and can’t get out. We recommend fencing off pools when they aren’t in use. This goes double for people with senior dogs and/or pooches that can’t see well. Pool covers are also dangerous, as dogs sometimes try to walk on them.
After Fido gets out of the water, rinse his fur to get the chlorine, salt, and/or sand out of his fur. Later, when he’s dry, give him a good brushing.
As your Fort Collins, CO vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care. Contact us anytime!