As often as you like to go swimming, your furry best friend might want to as well! Swimming with your dog can be a great way to have fun and exercise at the same time. Here are a few tips to consider before jumping in that can make the experience as safe as possible.
Promote a love of swimming.
The first step in making the pool a fun, safe space for your dog is to show them just how enjoyable swimming can be! If you’ve never taken Fido swimming, you may not know… but the doggy paddle really is an instinctual move dogs do when they’re in the water! But even though they naturally know the basics of swimming, they may not know how to best stay above water and how to enjoy the pool. You can help them get used to the activity of swimming by exposing them to it often—as often as you go in for a dip! You can also enlist the help of a dog trainer who’s worked with dogs and pools before… there may be more specific tips you can sue to instill a love of swimming in your furry best friend.
Give extra help and attention to slow swimmers.
Dogs that are especially old or young, or those who have unique conditions, can usually go swimming but may need some extra help. Pay special attention to these dogs while they’re in the pool to make sure they are comfortable. If you need to, you can also pick up a floatation device for your pool—whether it’s a life jacket (yes, they make them for dogs, too!) or a simple raft, your dog may benefit from some extra help in the water.
Watch your dog in the pool.
Whenever your dog is in the pool, you should be, too. Even if your dog is an experienced swimmer, they may need help staying above water or getting out of the pool, so you want to be sure you’re there for them if they need help. If you have an open access pool, don’t let your dog go out near the pool unattended. Even if they aren’t huge fans of the pool, they may be tempted to jump in if they see a critter or other object in the water.
Install a fence around the pool.
Installing a fence and security setup around the pool can keep your dog safe from jumping or accidentally falling into the water when you’re not there to watch them. Ideally, this would be a fence that they can’t scale or find a way through—much like the child safety fences parents are advised to install for their children.
There are a few more optional things you can add to the pool to make it safer (and more enjoyable) for your dog. One may be an easy exit ramp that leads from the water to the deck—this may be ideal for dogs who spend a lot of the time in and out of the water.