Tips for keeping your dog safe around the water in the summer

Heading off to the beach, lake or lounging poolside are great ways to beat the heat and enjoy quality time with your dog. But each year approximately 40,000 pets die in drowning accidents.

 Anything that can harm you at the beach can also harm your dog. High temperatures, sunburn, riptides, sharp shells or broken glass, jellyfish, and aggressive dogs are all potential hazards to help your dog avoid. Here are some tips to safeguard your dog for a fun filled summer near the water:

SPF ASAP – Hairless breeds, short-coated, light-colored and dogs with pink noses are more prone to getting sunburn.  You can find sunscreen specifically formulated for pets at most pet stores or online. Make sure not to use sunscreen that contains zinc, as it can be toxic to dogs if ingested. To avoid licking, avoid sunscreens with fragrance.

“Come here boy!”- Make sure your dog has a firm grasp of the recall command before you allow him to go off leash near any body of water. This means your dog comes to you when you call him, every single time.

Fresh Water: Drink. Rinse. Repeat. – Sun, sand and saltwater is a delight for your dog’s senses, but can leave him with a nasty “beach hangover.” Discourage your dog from drinking seawater by offering fresh, cool water often and by removing him from the water if you see him drink it. Seawater can irritate their stomach, cause vomiting, and is very dehydrating. A fresh water rinse immediately after the beach will help keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy.

Surfs up! – Unless your dog knows how to “hang ten” on a surfboard, chances are he isn’t on the lookout for the perfect wave. Make sure you are aware of rip currents and undertows.

Smooth sailing – Going for a leisurely cruise on the lake or along the bay? Bring your furry friend along, just make sure he has a life preserver vest and a secure area away from the edge of the boat to keep safe in rough waters.

Pool Party for Pooch – Even dogs who are seasoned swimmers can get into trouble around pools. Dogs don’t automatically know where the stairs are in a pool. So if they jump or fall in, their instinct is to swim to the nearest edge and tread water. If no one is there to redirect them, or lift them out, they’ll struggle to tread water until they are too exhausted and can drown. If you allow your dog to play near a pool, make sure to teach them where the stairs are. Visible pool ramps are also a good idea and can be purchased online and in most pet stores.

When it comes to swimming and fear of water, dogs are just like humans. Many love it and seem to have a natural ability. Others do not. Before taking your dog on your next trip to the beach or pool party, make sure he is well acquainted with the water and doesn’t have any major health issues or physical limitations what would make swimming more difficult.