Beware the Danger of Pet Drowning in Swimming Pools

While temperatures outside continue to rise, pet dogs may look for ways to cool off when they go outside. Even when it's not very hot out, adventurous dogs may find any body of water irresistible. If you have a swimming pool, or even if you take your dog to visit a home that does, please be aware of the potential for dogs to jump or fall into a pool but not be able to get back out.

This danger became a horrifying reality for a pet lover whose dog drowned in a friend's swimming pool during a pool-side party. It can take only a few moments for pets to drown, especially in the case of particular breeds and pets with certain conditions. Even excellent swimmers may not know how to get out of a pool and will swim until exhausted and drown. What can you do to ensure the safety of your pets?

Never assume that your dogs' familiarity with the pool area will keep them safe. Accidents can happen, especially at night when vision is diminished, or with advanced age. Dogs with medical conditions such as arthritis, dementia, seizures, and vision loss are also at higher risk. These factors can not only increase the likelihood of accidental falls, but also can make it more difficult for pets to swim to safety. Even well-trained dogs may succumb to disorientation and panic after an unexpected slip into the water.

The first and best protection is to never leave your pet unattended when around a pool (or any body of water). If you have protective "baby" fencing around your pool, that's great. Make sure your pets can't get over, under, or through the fence. It's easy to forget to close the fence after time in the pool. Remember to check it often for openings or needed repairs. If you have a sensor alarm (floating, mounted, or wearable) that detects water, or motion in or around the pool, remember to keep it powered and maintained...and within ear shot!

If you don't have a fence around your pool or a sensor alarm, you can still help protect your pets by teaching them how to swim. (A dog trainer can do so if needed.) When your dogs are still young, let them get familiar with the water. Don't assume they can swim. Even if pets are strong swimmers, they may not be equipped to pull themselves over the side of a swimming pool. So besides teaching them to swim, teach them to swim to the steps of the pool where they can get out on their own if needed.

Granted, some breeds, like the bulldog, may find it a challenge to swim. In cases when you plan on being at the pool with a non-swimmer, a dog life vest can do much to keep your pups above water long enough for you to fetch them if they go in or too far. But remember not to rely on the life vest; supervision is still required.

Help Prevent Pet Drownings with a Dog Life Vest

What if your pool doesn't have steps but has a ladder instead? You can invest in a pet-safe pool ladder, or ramp, to help your pets climb out of the pool. But check product reviews before you buy. If you buy and install one, make sure your dogs can use it with proper training. Even the best equipment is not guaranteed to work for your dogs.

What if you have a pool cover or blanket? These can be deceiving because dogs may perceive them as solid surfaces. If they venture onto a blanket or unsecured cover, it may give way under their weight, wrap around their bodies, and pull them underwater. When you know your pets will be in the pool area, remember to remove the blanket and maintain vigilance, or secure the cover to the proper degree to prevent them from falling in.

Vigilance is the key to ensuring the safety of others, whether children or pets. With these tips and reminders, we hope you and your family members enjoy any time spent in the water this summer...and stay cool!

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