The pool is one of the fun “hubs” of family activity, so it’s natural you would want your pets to experience it, too. However, not all pets are safe in and around the pool, and having a pet inside the pool can make swimming and other aquatic activity dangerous. Today, we’ll discuss swimming pool pet safety so you will know how to keep yourself and your pets safe in the pool area.
Keeping Dogs Safe
One common misconception about dogs is that they can all dog paddle and will come out of the pool when they are called. In reality, not all breeds can or should swim. In particular, here are some types of dogs to keep out of the water.
- Broad or deep chested (corgi, pug, Irish setter, bulldog). Too much water can cause chest and lung problems.
- Heavy sight hound (greyhound, whippet, basset hound). These dogs have plenty of muscle but little body fat, so it’s harder for them to stay afloat.
- Pit bull, German shepherd, or any other “bully breed.” Again, these breeds have too much muscle mass to swim well without a few lessons and the support of humans.
If you want to teach your dog to swim, ask your veterinarian for a consultation first. Keep in mind that most dogs are front-end only swimmers, which can be ineffective. You may need to encourage them to use their back legs with support on their back end. Keep your dog well-hydrated before and after a workout, and consider using specialty “doggy ramps” to help your canine friend easily enter and exit the pool.
Keeping Cats Safe
Most cats won’t jump into a pool like a dog will, but some breeds do take to water. That being said, don’t expect your cat to love the pool at first sight. All pets should be introduced to water slowly, but cats even more so. Again, ask your vet for a consultation if you want to bring your cat into the pool. Keep your cat in shallow water at first. Don’t let him or her drink the pool water, and clean his or her ears thoroughly after water time. As with dogs, keep your cat well hydrated. Finally, make sure your pool covers are tight – cats can walk over them, trip over loose edges, and fall into the water.