Splash Into Summer: Swimming Safety Tips for Pets

Warm weather weekends at the beach, lake or pool make as big a splash with pets as with the rest of the family. But before diving in, every doggie paddler in the family can use a few poolside precautions to get a head start on swimming season.

For example, Banfield’s database of pet health records indicates swimming pools are even more dangerous for pets than rivers or lakes. Drowning can occur if pets jump or fall into the pool and cannot climb back out. Following these basic swimming safety tips will help you and your pets make a safe splash this summer.

  • Never leave pets unattended around a pool.
  • Fence your pool with a secure gate, and never leave your dog inside the fenced pool area unsupervised.
  • Make sure pets can get out of the pool. If dogs jumps or fall in and don’t know how to get out without help, they may panic and drown.
  • Not all pets are excellent swimmers, so if water is a big part of your family life, introduce pets to water gradually.
  • On boats, make sure pets wear flotation devices (available at most boating stores), and consult your veterinarian if you think your pet needs seasickness medication.
  • Try not to let pets drink pool water. Chlorine and chemicals used to keep pools free of algae and contaminants can cause pet health problems, such as dry mouth or gastric distress.
  • Try not to let pets drink pond, puddle or lake water, a common source of the Giardia parasite. Giardia is not life threatening, but it causes diarrhea and there is a small possibility that it could be passed to other members of the family.
  • Don’t allow pets to wander river and lake shores alone, where they may find and eat dead fish (smelly, but tasty!). If eaten, your pet may develop serious stomach or intestinal upset.