Swimming Safety Tips for Dogs

As summer approaches, many of us are looking forward to summertime activities, such as swimming and grilling. Our canine friends often enjoy these fun times just as much as we do. When it comes to dogs and water, there are a few precautions you’ll want to take to keep your canine pal safe. In this article, a local Shawnee vet discusses water safety and dogs.

Swimming Lessons

Don’t assume that Fido automatically knows how to swim. Some dogs take to the water naturally, but for others, it isn’t quite so easy. Your canine companion may need to learn to use all four legs to power himself through the water. Try supporting his back end while he floats, until he gets the hang of it.

Pool Safety

First and foremost, make sure your dog knows where the pool stairs are. Let Fido into the pool, and stand near the stairs and call him to you. When he swims to you, offer treats and praise. Do this several times, until you’re sure he can get out on his own. That way, if he ever falls in, he’ll know where the exit is. It’s also not a bad idea to mark the stairs with a visual landmark, such as a potted tree. Covered pools can also be dangerous, as your pooch can hop onto the covering, not realizing that there is nothing solid beneath it. If your dog is a senior or has poor vision, we recommend putting a fence around the pool.


Make sure your dog knows the five basic commands, which are Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. Stay and Come can be critical here, as they can keep Fido from jumping off a deck, or allow you to call him back to you if he’s in a dangerous spot. A doggie life jacket is a good idea if you are taking your pooch out on open water.

Paw Care

Immersion in water will make your pup’s paw pads very tender and delicate. When Fido’s feet are wet, they can get burned, blistered, or scraped much more easily. Be very careful about bringing your canine buddy onto hot sand or tar, or walking him along rocky shores, after he has been swimming.

Does Fido need shots or an examination? Call us, your local Shawnee veterinary clinic, anytime. We at Perimeter Veterinary Center are always happy to assist!

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