There are no reliable statistics as to how many accidents involving family pets and swimming pools happen each year since most go unreported, but Veterinary Pet Insurance puts the number in the thousands, with many of these incidents being preventable.
Pool owners need to be familiar with their pets’ physical capabilities along with proper safety measures involved with having a swimming pool and pets in the same household.
These three tips will ensure a safe summer of sun, fun and relaxation with your pets around the pool:
Despite the common belief that dogs have a natural swimming ability, many breeds simply are not built for the water. Some dogs have obvious characteristics that are not conducive to swimming, while others just aren’t born swimmers.
Brachycephalic dogs are those with flat-looking faces, or a short snout that doesn’t extend their noses very far out. Bulldogs, pugs and Griffon Bruxellois fall into this category. These breeds can only keep their noses above the waterline by being vertical with their heads extended, which typically results in sinking. Many of these dogs also have short legs that aren’t good for swimming. Basset hounds and Dachshunds are short-legged, non-Brachycephalic breeds that also aren’t good swimmers. Dogs with disproportionately large heads, like Dogue de Bordeauxs, are also bad swimmers.
Most cats hate water because they’re only exposed to it at bath time. But, the species itself can actually swim quite well. Ancient Egyptians even used cats to help them catch fish. But unless you’ve specifically acclimated your cat to the water, it’s probably best to keep him or her dry.
Safety Equipment and Precautions
If you want to share the pool with your dog, make sure to take the necessary precautions. Get a dog life preserver and demonstrate to your pooch that it keeps him or her afloat. Hold on to your dog before letting go until he or she feels comfortable and safe in the water.
Keep in mind that dogs’ noses, ears and eyes are far more sensitive than human sensory organs, particularly when it comes to chlorine. Though a little ingested chlorine won’t hurt your pet, discourage him or her from drinking pool water. Rinse your dog off with a garden hose when you’re done swimming.
Get a doggydock for the pool to provide an easy way for your dog to get in and out of the water when he or she is ready. Use anchored pool covers versus the floating ones. An accidental fall when you’re not around can cause your dog to panic, become disoriented and suffer serious or fatal injuries.
Emergency Medical Care
Accidents happen and you may only have seconds to save your dog. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) differs a bit for small and large dogs. Little dogs (those under 30 pounds) and cats should be cupped between your palms for chest compressions. For larger dogs, chest compression are done in much the same way as you would for humans, according to PetMD.
Mouth-to-nose is how you perform artificial respiration on dogs and cats. Cup their muzzle with your hands and blow into the nose once for every five compressions. Continue this process for 10 minutes to see if the dog or cat starts breathing on its own again.
Safety should always be the top priority when it comes to pets and pools. Exercising due diligence means more fun for you and your furry best friend.