Play it Safe: Is Pet Water Safety a Big Concern?
While few pets seek to get wet when it’s cold, the majority of dogs crave time in and around the water all summer long. A powerful element, water has the capacity to excite and amuse pets, but it also plays a major role in reducing the risk of heat stroke. To be certain, water play is fun, but without pet water safety measures, it can quickly turn perilous.
An Obvious Choice
Swimming, splashing, running through the sprinkler, boating, and other water sports are perfect summer options – and they’re all more fun with a furry friend in tow. Many pets are bred for water recreation while others (like the typical feline) don’t take to it quite as naturally. Also, brachycephalic breeds, those with shorter legs, and big barrel chests are not designed for swimming.
Prepare for Pet Water Safety
One of the best tools in your pet water safety arsenal is a well-fitted life vest (personal flotation device or PFD). Even the most aquatic pets get tired after paddling for a while in the surf, pool, or river – even more so when the sun is beating down.
Once your pet is comfortable in his or her own PFD, our staff recommends these precautions:
- Supervise your pet’s water activities from the moment you arrive until he or she is safely sleeping at home or in the car.
- Teach your pet how to enter and exit the pool or other body of water. Install a ramp off your boat or have one at one side of the pool.
- Invest in a security fence, gate, or sturdy pool cover that inhibits pool time without your presence.
- Watch your pet’s behavior closely. Fatigue, stress, anxiety, or overheating can all occur when out in the water.
- Pay close attention to how the water is moving. Currents and undertows are especially dangerous to pets that aren’t strong enough to stay close to shore.
- The sun plays a major role in how your pet feels. Take shady breaks regularly and encourage your pet to take in lots of fluid.
- Do not allow your pet to drink from fresh water sources as they can contain giardia and leptospirosis. Also, chlorine-filled pools can cause problems for your pet if he or she drinks the water.
- Use pet sunblock. It’s specially formulated to protect your pet’s delicate skin from the hot summer sun.
- Hot sand, wood decks, gravel, and other surfaces can get extremely hot under the sun. Please keep a close eye on your pet’s soft paw pads.
- Have a place for your pet to relieve him or herself if you spend a long day on the boat. You wouldn’t want your pet to eliminate in the water, hold it in, or make a mess on your feet as you’re steering the boat. Puppy pads, a grass patch, or whatever your pet is used to will come in quite handy.
- When on the boat, attach your pet’s leash to an area away from exits or other dangerous areas. If your pet is crate trained, invite him or her to spend time there out of harm’s way.
- Is your pet microchipped?
Stay Safe and Carry On
Pet water safety is absolutely critical when out and about this summer. Beyond our suggestions, please ensure that your pet’s parasite prevention is complete, vaccinations are current, and all other points of wellness are addressed.
As always, your friends at Highway Veterinary Hospital are here for you and your pet. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. Happy summer!