Pool Safety and Your Dog

Nice specimen of dog of the race Golden Retriever swimming on a swimming pool
IMAGE: myvettwintowns.com.au

Humans aren’t the only ones who love to go swimming on a hot summer day. Many dogs also love to go for a dip in the backyard pool, and are attracted to pools in the same way that kids are.

All dogs can swim, right? To an extent, yes – but just as kids need adult supervision at all times while swimming, so do your pets. Not all dogs are good swimmers, and some dog breeds will drown very easily if not supervised closely. Pets who can’t get out of the pool easily or who are stressed get exhausted very quickly, and this is how they drown.

Some basic rules for canine pool safety include:

  • Teach Your Dog to Swim. While many dogs do naturally know how to swim, being a strong swimmer may save your dog’s life. He will also get a lot more enjoyment out of swimming if he can do it well.


  • Never Leave Toys Floating in the Pool. This is just too tempting for a dog and if he jumps in when nobody is around, he may get into trouble.


  • Teach Your Dog where the Steps and Ramps Are. Pets need to be able to get out of the pool quickly and easily – so making sure he is trained to know where steps and ramps are located is very important. Non-slip surfaces for exiting the pool easily are best.


  • Some Dogs need a Life Jacket. Some dogs, like people, just aren’t great swimmers. A life vest is a great idea. Your dog will stay afloat better and be easy to see.


  • Senior Dogs Need Extra Care. Older dogs get tired more quickly, as well as confused, and they can suffer from compromised vision, arthritis, and other health problems. Check with your vet if your dog is still OK to enjoy the water.
  • Pools Must Be Fenced. This goes without saying – but make sure that dogs can’t squeeze through or under fences.


  • Learn Canine CPR. All pet owners should know canine CPR, but especially if they also own a pool. Your vet can advise you on proper CPR techniques for the size of your dog.

Always watch your dog closely when he is swimming. If he seems tired, distressed, or cold, it’s time to get him out for a drink and a rest.


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