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Pool Time | Dog Wellness

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What You Need To Know Before Your Dog Dives In

At some point this summer, many dog owners will allow their pet to take a swim. And that’s great. After all, a dip in the pool is just as refreshing for your dog on a hot day as it is for you. In fact, you may even want to make swimming a more consistent part of your dog’s summer. That’s because as Philly.com explains swimming has incredible health benefits for your dog—it’s low impact so it’s easy on your dog’s joints, while also being a great way for them to burn calories and build muscle.

That said, there are a some things you need to know before your pet takes a plunge. Here are a few tips to consider:

Consider having them wear a life jacket. Especially when your pet is just learning to swim or if he or she will be swimming in a natural body of water, a life jacket can be a huge help. LoveToKnow.com provides a few other scenarios in which you might want to put a life jacket on your dog. For example, if your dog has low body fat, it may need the “extra buoyancy” the jacket provides to stay afloat. A jacket also provides support to your dog for when they get tired in the pool or other body of water.

Show them the stairs. The first time your pet gets into a pool you need to teach them how to get to the stairs. The stairs are the only way your dog can get out of the pool on their own. If they become disoriented and can’t find the stairs, they may panic and use up their energy trying to climb out on one of the sides. This can be very dangerous for them and could cause them to drown.  The American Kennel Club provides easy-to-follow instructions to help you teach your dog how to find the pool stairs.

Know the signs of heat stroke. Swimming is a great way for your dog to exercise and you should definitely give them plenty of opportunities to take advantage of it. But keep in mind that the extra time outdoors could take a toll. Time in the hot sun is just as taxing for your dogs, if not more so, as it is for us humans. Make sure they’re staying hydrated by keeping a bowl of fresh water by the pool. And keep an eye out for signs of heat stroke. PetAdviser.com explains that heat stroke symptoms might include, “heavy panting, drooling, rapid breathing, bright red gums and tongue, lack of balance,” etc.

Rinse them off after the fun. The chemicals used to keep pools clean are essential, but they can also be quite hazardous. This pool chemical safety checklist explains how toxic chlorine can be when it isn’t properly handled. When used in the proper amounts in a pool, chlorine is safe, but there is still the possibility that your dog could have a reaction. To be safe, always rinse your dog off with fresh water when they’re done swimming for the day. That way you can wash away any chemical residue right away.

Summer is a great time for your dog to enjoy swimming and its many benefits. But make sure they can do so safely. When you keep these tips in mind, you can ensure that your pet can take advantage of all the positives that come with swimming.

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Vee Cecil loves sharing her passion for wellness through her recently-launched blog. She is also a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. She lives in Kentucky with her family.

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