Pro Guide to Swimming with Man’s Best Friend

by admin on July 18, 2012

Everything You Need to Know for Swimming with Your Dog!

Now that your pool is up and running, Doheny’s has decided to dedicate this blog post to man’s best friend: your dog! Many pet owners have questions regarding the necessary safety precautions to allow their pooch to go swimming with them in the pool. Here is a common list of FAQs and tips to keep your pup happy and healthy in the water!

Q: Do dogs like to swim?
A: It depends on the dog! Some breeds were born to love swimming and some are not as familiar with the water. If your dog doesn’t know how to swim, then try testing the water by carrying your dog (supporting the midsection) in the pool and gradually letting them paddle on their own. Keep the initial swimming lessons short. Be sure to praise your pup and make the experience as positive as possible. If you sense that your dog is having problems swimming, then you may want to purchase a canine life jacket until he/she is more comfortable in the water. NEVER THROW YOUR DOG INTO THE POOL! They are easily traumatized, just like us!

Q: Will having my dog swim in my pool damage the equipment?
A: No. You will have to clean your skimmer and pool filter more often; however, a little dog hair will act as a natural net to collect bugs and debris in the pool! Doheny’s recommends hosing your dog off before swimming to prevent dirt from tainting the water. If your dog sheds excessively, then you will also want to brush him/her before entering the pool.

Q: Is chlorine bad for my dog?
A: The majority of dogs can tolerate chlorine if it is properly regulated. As with humans, chlorine can exacerbate a dog with preexisting skin conditions. You want to be sure to wash your dog off after each swim and condition their hair to prevent dryness. Be mindful to check skin for rashes or irritation. Veterinarians suggest adding fish oil to a dog’s food if they have dry skin. Like people, dogs’ eyes can get irritated by high chlorine levels. If redness is present, then rinse eyes with non-chlorinated water. Opt for bromine as a water cleanser if you notice skin issues with your dog after swimming. Make sure that your dog does not drink the pool water. It is extremely toxic for animals.

Q: Is there an ideal water temperature for dogs?
A: Humans don’t like freezing cold water and neither do dogs! The suggested temperature for dogs is between 80-100 degrees.

Q: Is swimming painful for dogs?
A: Swimming is a low-impact activity. Many veterinarians suggest “canine water therapy” since it alleviates stress and strain on their joints.

Q: What is “canine water therapy?”
A: Canine water therapy (or “canine hydrotherapy”) was designed to help dogs who suffer from chronic disabilities like arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, neurological conditions and spinal injuries. Canine hydrotherapy enables dogs of all ages to get necessary exercise under low-impact circumstances. Like with humans, running and walking exacerbates muscular and skeletal problems. Water acts as a natural cushion to protect aching bones and joints, and the resistance helps to tone your dog’s muscles. Canine water therapy is also an exceptional way to rehabilitate your pup after surgery!

Q: Do you have any additional tips for my dog’s safety?
1) Always supervise your dog while swimming. They may not be able to bark when they are in trouble, so be sure to keep an eye out!
2) Plan your dog’s exit strategy. If you only have a ladder, then you may want to consider purchasing pool steps so that your pooch can get out without issues. Make sure that you guide your dog around the pool a few times to teach him/her how to exit.
3) Do not let your dog drink the pool water! Keep fresh water bowls near the pool. Pool water makes dogs sick.
4) Check with your veterinarian. If your dog is old or overweight, then be sure to check with a veterinarian before allowing him/her to enter the pool.
5) Dogs get tired too! Watch for signs of physical exhaustion. If you notice that your dog is slowing down or struggling, then remove him/her from the water.
6) Dry your dog’s ears after each swim. Ear infections start because of water and moisture, not chlorine.
7) Keep a life hook handy. Life hooks can help save a dog’s life, too!

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