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99 percent of dogs are excellent swimmers, yet 5,000 family pets drown in backyard swimming pools every year. This is due to infrastructure that is not dog-safe and because dog owners can easily get distracted while outside in the warm sun. With Memorial Day around the corner, many dog owners and their four-legged friends are opening up their family pools and heading out to the water to enjoy the warmer weather.  Others are packing their bags with their dogs and heading to the Hamptons.  However, it is important that we also recognize May as National Drowning Prevention Month and do all we can to protect our loved ones, whether they have two or four legs.

Give Your Pool Walk-In Access

Even Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps tires out. So, although most dogs will naturally “doggy paddle” in water, they can get tired and become unable to get out of the water. Therefore, you should make it extremely easy for a dog to get out of the water if he or she falls in. This can be done by ensuring that the water in your pool is filled to the brim and add a ramp so that your pet can simply walk out of danger. It would also be good to place a large, noticeable object around the entry/exit points of a pool so that Fido can easily find this marker if he’s in danger.

Add Borders Around Your Pool

In most areas, the law actually requires you to block off your pool with a fence or barrier. This is typically done with a backyard fence, but you can also decorate the shimmering water with rocks and bricks. Another fantastic way to protect your dog is to add removable pool fencing that encloses the immediate pool area when you aren’t using it. This is a lot better than a pool cover, as this can lead to suffocation if your dog accidentally falls in.

Tips for Water You Can’t Control

Pools aren’t the only place your doggie can get into the water. During the summer, we like to spend time on boats or hike to the lake with our four-legged friends. However, these areas are especially dangerous because we can’t do anything to prepare our dogs ahead of time. Therefore, you might consider giving your dog a life vest whenever you believe you will be around water. Just like the human versions, doggie life jackets come in all shapes and sizes so you can find one that fits your pooch. You can also strap on an alarm to your dog’s collar to alert you when he gets wet and consider other protective hiking gear for dogs. And have a doggie life preserver on hand so that your dog can easily climb on in case he gets trapped in the water.

Hiking Off Leash with Your Dog

The tri-state area is abundant in dog friendly trails that are just a short train ride away. With more and more pet parents enjoying the great outdoors with their dogs, keep in mind that many trails are intertwined at times with streams, rivers and swamps that may not necessarily be immediately detectable to the human eye. Be sure your dog doesn’t accidently slip over a ravine into a swap by pre-checking the water routes and taking hiking precautions specified for hiking with dogs etc in a rush to explore the new area! If you are concerned about a possible mishap, then be sure to look up some local veterinarian clinics beforehand (as sometimes being in a hiking area is less reception) and pre-program it into your waze or google map just in case.  If you really want to plan ahead, you can use a tele-vet service which offers discounts to in-network providers just by signing up with the plan. Regardless, be sure to check out hiking with your dog tips ahead of time.

Always Supervise Your Pet

Drowning is known as the silent death because most of the time, you can’t hear someone drowning. This is particularly true for dogs. So, whether you’re at the pool or boating on a lake, it is important that you keep a close eye on your pooch. You should also always ensure that your dog is hydrated. Many dogs jump into pools or lakes simply because they’re trying to rehydrate themselves. Therefore, keep a water bowl to hand and be sure to keep it away from the lake or pool. This way Fido can stay hydrated and safe while still having fun in the sun.

It’s important that we prepare to enjoy the summer months safely. Be sure your pool is dog-friendly and pay close attention when you and Fido are out having fun in the sun.

Now that you’re confident in your dog’s paw-sitive experience around water, here is a great article by our friends and the camping blog Venchas on How to safely go outback hiking with your furry friend’.

This article was contributed to Jane Wood.  If you have a great idea for an article or content, please contact us today!  

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