Do you enjoy swimming in summer? Many of our canine patients also enjoy cooling off by going for a refreshing dip on hot days. Swimming can be great exercise for Fido, but it can also be dangerous. A Hope Hull, AL vet offers some advice on taking Fido swimming in this article.
Many pooches are natural swimmers. However, don’t assume that your canine pal will take to the water like a furry, barking duck, even if he is a breed that normally loves water. Dogs have to learn to swim! When teaching Fido, keep a doggy lifejacket on him, start in shallow water, and support him as he learns. Encourage him with praise. Never throw your pup in: that may traumatize him.
Choosing the right spot is also very important. Don’t take your pooch anywhere with steep drop offs, strong currents, or heavy wakes. Shallow lakes and ponds should also be approached cautiously: blue-green algae blooms are becoming quite frequent, and can be deadly to dogs. Spots that may be housing snakes or gators are also unsuitable.
In general, you’ll want to use the same safety precautions for dogs as you would for young children. The most important thing is to never leave Fido alone near the water unattended. This applies even if your furry friend is a great swimmer. If you go to a pool, it’s also crucial to make sure that your canine buddy knows how to get out. Take some time with this training. Test your dog out a bit, and make sure that he remembers where the exit is. (Tip: marking pool stairs with a visible landmark, such as a potted plant, can help with this.)
Dogs’ paws get very delicate when they are wet, just like our skin does. That means your four-legged pal can easily get burns, cuts, or blisters from running around on hot and/or harsh surfaces after going swimming. Use paw balm or wax to protect your pup’s cute toe beans, and keep him on soft grass when he gets out of the water.
Speaking of water, make sure Fido always has plenty of fresh H20 by the pool. Don’t let him drink pool water or slurp from ponds or puddles!
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your local Hope Hull, AL animal clinic, anytime!