When you think of pool safety, it’s normally about keeping kids safe – but there’s another important member of the family that needs protecting too! Dogs and other family pets love to wander the yard and explore. Unfortunately the pool looks like a giant plaything to them and that could cause trouble unless you take precautions to keep them safe.
Never Leave Pets Unattended At the Pool
Just like kids, you should never leave your pets unattended at the pool. It’s just asking for trouble since what looks like a safe situation can quickly turn dangerous if their curiousity gets the better of them.
Proper Maintenance and Housekeeping is Key
Equally important to keeping an eye on your dog while at your pool this summer, is mitigating any safety hazards such as hoses, chemicals, or loose stones and steps.
While we all know that those pool chemicals aren’t safe, to a curious puppy it may seem otherwise. Similarly, if you have agrotto or steps as part of your landscape plan, make sure that it’s in perfect condition. Dogs are pretty surefooted, but on a potentially slippery surface it’s important to reduce the chance of accidents – no matter how slight the risk.
Have a Good Pool Fence
Your dog probably loves to explore the yard and you don’t want to have to watch him all the time, so make sure you have a good pool fence. You’ll want to make sure that the fence is high enough that the dog can’t easily jump over and has a good base that isn’t easy to sneak under. It’s also important to make sure that the slats in the fence are close enough that the dog’s head can’t get caught in it should he try to stick his head through should something catch his eye.
Introduce Your Dog to the Pool Gradually
Your dog will probably love the pool and I am sure she will get super excited the first time you show her all the water to splash around with. However, it’s important that you introduce her to the pool gradually and show her how to get in and out easily.
Train Your Dog to NOT Drink Pool Water
Your dog may not recognize the difference between the water you put in the bowl and the water in your pool. A little bit generally won’t hurt the dog, but you want to make sure they are trained to understand that they shouldn’t drink the pool water at all.
Consider Doggie Floatation Devices
Most dogs love to swim but unless they are in good shape and trained to do so, a long stint playing with the family can get tiring. This is especially critical for older dogs and those that may lead a more seditary lifestyle, it’s important to consider strapping them into a floation jacket to reduce fatigue while swimming.
Watch For Exhaustion and Overheating
One of the most important parts of pool safety is diligence, so make sure to watch for signs of exhaustion and especially overheating. Under the hot summer sun, your dog can heat up quickly, especially when combined with the physical activity of swimming.
Choose a Pool Design That is Easy to Walk Out Of
Dogs are typically good swimmers, but it’s important to consider having pool design features that make it easy for the dog to enter and exit the water. These would incude gradual steps or better yet a beach entry to make for a safe and easy exit.
Make Sure There is a Shady Spot for Fido
Under the table works too, but you should consider making sure there is a shady spot for your dog to relax while you are hanging out at the pool. This will give him his own spot if he wants some “alone time”.
Keep Fresh Food and Water By The Pool
Remember how I said you should train your dog to avoid drinking pool water? Well, make sure to provide her with some cool fresh water and food as an alternative. Just like with humans, swimming is excercise and you want to make sure that your dog doesn’t get dehydrated.
Take a Shower After Swimming
Finally, it’s important to recognize that just like with your hair and skn that it’s important to have your dog take a shower before leaving the pool area. Chemicals from pool sanitization systems can cause them to itch leading to skin damage as well as other issues. Even if you have a UV pool sanitization system in place, it’s a good idea to have them rinse off since they may have other stuff from the pool on their skin.
Above all – make sure you have fun with your dog in the pool this summer, but keep him safe! These safety tips are meant as a guide to help you do so, but if you would like other ideas and questions please let us know.