Swimming pools are fun and refreshing, but they can pose a risk to humans and pets alike. Knowing how to stay safe will ensure that everyone has a good time.
Even if your dog hates everything to do with water and stays well away from the pool itself, it’s still a good idea to keep the following tips in mind.
The 9 Tips for Pool Safety for Dogs
1. Restrict Access to the Pool
Limiting how much access your dog has to the pool in the backyard can go a long way toward helping them stay safe. If you have a sturdy fence and a lockable gate surrounding the pool, your dog is less likely to accidentally fall in when they’re playing fetch or during a bout of the zoomies.
A good fence won’t just protect your dog either. It can also help keep children and adults from plummeting into the water when playing games outside.
If you can’t afford to build a wooden or chain-link fence, try a reliable temporary measure like a heavy-duty safety fence instead. It might not be aesthetically pleasing, but it’ll keep your dog away from the water when you’re away from the house.
2. Supervise Your Dog
Looking after dogs is like looking after children. You need to supervise them whenever they’re in a situation that has the potential to be dangerous.
Whenever you’re by the pool, it’s tempting to stretch out on a sunbed and nap the afternoon away, lose yourself in your favorite album, or watch a movie on your phone. However, if your dog is with you, you need to remove your headphones and pay attention.
Even if your dog is an adept swimmer, they might not realize that they’re feeling tired from all the activity. You might need to end the pool playtime before they get into trouble.
If you’re busy working, it’s tempting to send your dog outside alone if you have a secure yard. Unless you have a pool fence, though, you should spare a few moments to make sure your dog doesn’t stray too close to the pool, just in case.
3. Get Swimming Lessons
Swimming lessons might seem unnecessary for dogs, but not all dogs are natural swimmers. Many breeds aren’t naturally drawn to water and find it difficult to swim due to their body shape or the length of their legs. While breeds that were developed for water retrieval — like the Labrador Retriever — might love splashing around in the pool, breeds like the Dachshund might not.
Taking the time to teach your puppy how to swim is a lifesaver when it comes to pool safety. Not only does it ensure that your dog knows how to move in water — even if they’re not a fan of it — but it also informs you of their capabilities and how much assistance they’ll need if they ever fall in.
4. Invest in a Doggy Life Jacket
A canine life jacket can be a lifesaver for many dog breeds. If your dog is an adept swimmer, they likely won’t need a life vest unless it’s their first time around water. However, dogs that have more trouble in the water should always wear a life vest whenever they’re near deep water, even a backyard pool.
A life vest designed for dogs also gives you a way to grab your dog if they need assistance. Most life vests come with sturdy handles that you can use to help support your dog.
5. Use a Pool Alarm
Although a pool alarm won’t keep your dog away from the pool, it will alert you if there’s a disturbance other than the normal movement of the water. If your dog falls in while you’re still in the house, you’ll be alerted to the situation and be able to see if your dog is okay.
Keep in mind that a pool alarm should never replace proper supervision or a pool fence. It’s intended to be a way to alert you to a potential problem so you can act as soon as possible, rather than be the only means of keeping your dog safe.
6. Follow Pool Rules
When it comes to pool safety — for everyone, not just your dog — a set of pool rules can make the difference between a fun day out or an emergency trip to the hospital or vet.
Pool rules should include things that cover both you and your dog. No running by the pool and no diving are two common pool rules. If your dog likes to hang around the pool, you should add a rule that everyone must remember to shut the gate, if you have one, or a reminder to always supervise your four-legged friend around the water.
7. Learn Canine CPR
Knowing basic first aid is one of the best ways to prepare for any eventuality, and your dog can benefit from you knowing how to treat their scrapes and bruises. One essential first aid technique to know if you want to prepare for accidents is CPR.
If you have a pool in your backyard, the chances are that you already know CPR in case you ever need it for your human family members. There is a canine adaptation to the technique. Even if your dog doesn’t spend much time around the pool, taking the extra time to learn canine CPR might save their life one day.
8. Provide Dog-Accessible Exit Routes
Swimming pools are relatively easy to lift yourself up and out of, even if you don’t have a ladder. Dogs, however, aren’t physically capable of the same movement to lift themselves out of the water. Therefore, you must create a way for your dog to easily exit the water whenever they need to.
If you don’t have a pool that has built-in steps, setting up a ramp is a simple but effective solution. It might take up space in your pool, but it serves as a way for dogs — and any other animals in your neighborhood — to clamber out of the water.
Once it’s installed, spend time teaching your dog where the ramp is, so they always know how to get out of the water.
9. Know the Dangers of Pool Covers
A pool cover is a useful way to save time cleaning debris out of your pool, but it can also be a recipe for disaster. While some pool covers are solid and can hold a significant amount of weight, most are simple mesh covers that won’t hold you or your dog at all.
In fact, mesh covers are among the most common reasons that many dogs drown in backyard pools. If your dog falls in when you’re out of the house, the pool cover can make it next to impossible for them to climb out again.
Unless you have a solid pool cover that your dog won’t fall through, never leave the pool covered if your dog has a chance of falling in. Either invest in a fence to keep your dog away, or spare a few minutes cleaning the water of debris before you swim.
How to Tell When Your Dog Is Tired
It’s always fun to spend a day with your dog splashing around in the pool. In summer, it’s also the perfect way to cool off. However, there comes a time when the fun and games should be set aside to give your dog a break from swimming. While you know when you’re getting too fatigued to stay in the water, your dog — especially one who adores swimming — is more likely to swim until they simply can’t anymore.
Part of your responsibility as a dog owner is recognizing when your dog is getting tired. This is another reason that supervision is so important. By paying close attention to your dog when they’re in the water, you’ll be much more likely to notice when they’re fatigued.
Notice how your dog is swimming. Adept swimmers can often swim around without getting their backs wet at all. When a dog gets tired, though, their rear end will start to sink into the water. This is a sign to call it quits for the day.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Your Dog Safe Around the Pool?
Although it might be easier to choose the best tip from the ones listed and only rely on that to keep your dog safe — like supervising them at all times when next to the pool — a single precaution is not always the best solution. Each of these tips works best when they’re all used to keep your dog safe.
For example, if your dog loves water so much that they’ll break through the pool fence to go for a swim, a pool alarm will give you an alert.
You may also be interested in:
Keeping your dog safe around the pool might sound like a great deal of work, but taking extra precautions is the best way to keep them safe. Accidents can happen even if your dog prefers to stay away from water. Following these tips will help you prepare for potential disasters.
Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory