Keeping Your Dog Safe at the Pool

When you think of dogs and water, the image of a happy pup paddling away in a pool might come to mind. While it’s true that most dogs have a swimming instinct, not all do—plus, they may not be a good judge of what’s best for their own safety once they're in the water.

Fortunately, there is lots you can do to keep them safe and happy while swimming!

Make a positive introduction

If your dog has never been around water before, take the time to introduce them at their own pace. Use lots of praise, and don't force it if they are showing fear or resistance; you will want them to have only positive associations with the pool.

You could even enroll them in doggy swimming lessons, if they need the extra guidance.

Stay nearby and pay attention

Even if your dog can get into the pool by themselves, that doesn’t mean you can leave them unattended. Dogs tend to try to exit a body of water at the same point from which they entered, so if your dog has jumped in from the side, it may be too steep for them to climb back out.

It’s best if you introduce your dog to the pool first—at the steps if possible—and encourage them to come back to that point to exit. You can do this either by swimming with your dog and guiding them to the steps, or by attaching a recall leash to your dog’s collar. Use the leash to guide your dog back to the steps when it’s time to exit the pool.

After your dog begins to go to the steps on their own, you can try putting them in at other spots around the pool, then calling them toward the steps if needed.

Make sure you are watching for fatigue

Dogs can tire very quickly. If they don’t know how to get out of a body of water, they can drown. If your dog’s swimming becomes slow or laboured, pull your pet out of the water.

Look out for hidden dangers

If your pool has a floating chemical dispenser or other floating toys, make sure your dog doesn’t try to chew on them. Pool chemicals can be lethal, and the pool floats and toys are a serious choking risk.

Also, watch to make sure your pet doesn’t get pulled into the drainage apparatus, or trapped behind any ladders on the side of the pool!

Above all else, you want your dog to love swimming and feel confident, so keep things light and positive. As always, if you need some one-on-one help, get in touch with your local Bark Busters trainer.

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Want to learn more, or begin training? We can help, let us find the trainer nearest you so that you can reach out to them directly.