Thursday, 19 June 2014

Summer Series Part 3: Open water and dog safety

Summer Safety Part 3: Open water and dog safety spaniel's tail

Now we all love a good splash around in the summer time when it's hot.  I actually like a splash around at any time of year, the muddier the better, but that's another issue.  And splashy areas can be anything from little puddles, to ponds, lakes and rivers, through to vast ocean.  As with Hoomans, there is always a few safety precautions that you can take, to keep your furry friend safe!

  • We know some dogs love leaping into water without a care in the world, but make sure they can also get OUT safely.  When I was a mere 14 weeks, I saw a lake which was a disused quarry with steep banks and leapt straight in.  Hooman was about to leap in after me, but I managed to struggle out.  I might not have been so lucky...  The above pic was about 15 seconds before I leapt in!
  • This goes equally for swimming pools - make sure you have a way your dog can get out.   Even swimming for 5 minutes for a dog is exhausting, so if they were on their own and they couldn't get out, it could have tragic consequences.
  • If your dog isn't very good at swimming (not all dogs can swim!), or you are spending time around deep water (for example, on a boat / narrow boat), you can buy life vests for your dogs.  Additionally they tend to have handy handles on the back, so you can easily lift the dog out of the water.  Though this might not be so easy with a Great Dane...
  • Keep an eye out for warnings in your local area about water quality.  Blue-green algae is a particular danger, not only to dogs but to humans as well, as the algae can produce nerve or liver toxins.  Symptoms to be aware of after swimming are vomiting, diarrhoea, bloody or black tarry stools, seizures, unconsciousness, drooling, tremors, difficulty breathing and pale gums.  Veterinary treatment should be sought immediately.
  • Keep your dog close to you at all times around open water.
  • Don't try to make your dog swim.  Some dogs just don't like getting their paws wet, and forcing them in if they don't want to could lead to a fearful dog.
  • Do not let your dog swim where there are risks of strong currents - there are normally warnings displayed.  Make sure you read them.
  • Where around seawater, stagnant, polluted or chlorinated water, ensure your dog does not drink from it.  Even flowing, seemingly clean rivers can be high in nitrates from agricultural fertilisers that have drained off into the river.
  • If your dog does seem unwell after swimming, seek veterinary advice.
  • After your dog has had a swim, make sure you have some fresh drinking water on hand - important after any type of exercise, but also can be useful for washing your dog down.
  • After swimming, clean and dry their ears carefully to prevent any ear infections (just like Hoomans, dogs can be prone to ear infections and swimming can exacerbate it)

Finally, KEEP YOURSELF SAFE!  If your dog is in trouble, it can be all to easy to throw caution to the wind and hurl yourself in to save your pet.  Don't become a victim yourself.

Lottie x

Summer Series Part 1: Recognising and treating heatstroke
Summer Series Part 2: Keeping dogs cool
Summer Series Part 4: Does your dog have hay fever?
Summer Series Part 5: Pests and other pesky things! 


  1. Great advice and tips. We have had in previous years one pond in our park that was out of bounds because of polluted stagnant water. Luckily it is OK but some people found it difficult keeping their dogs away from it. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Great tips. We don't like the water. Our issues are just slightly less than the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz.

  3. Great advice!
    We're used to taking the pups swimming in local lakes and rivers which are all fresh water, so the first time we took them to the coast, Moses thought he could drink the saltwater. He eventually caught on, but not before barfing once or twice. lol

  4. Great information here!! And thank you for joining the blog hop!

    Sampson was used to rivers when we rented a house with a pool. He entered as he usually did and it panicked him, it took a few days before we could convince him to use the pool again.

    I've also heard of people who wallowed in after their dog and ended up drowning, while the dog managed to make it to safety, but I can't imagine standing by watching my pup struggle.

    1. It would be difficult. I guess the point is not to act rashly - think about your actions before leaping in.

  5. Thanks so much for joining the hop and sharing such great tips. Blue green algae can be a real issue once the weather warms up. Something to keep an eye out for. I'm sharing this to FB. :)

  6. That was a great post!
    Thanks for sharing your tips!
    Also, I wanted to stop by and say a big congrats for being featured on our Pet Parade blog hop this week!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  7. Thanks for the post! We live right beside the sea and I must admit, my chihuahua won't even go near a rock pool, never mind the sea! BUT my parents black lab will go straight in for a swim, even in the middle of Winter! He adores the sea but luckily he doesn't go out too far or too deep.