Riverside, CA dog swimming in water.

Summertime is perfect for fun days out by the pool, a swim in the lake, or a beach trip. The team at The Pet’s Place Animal Hospital has put together some tips to ensure water safety for your pet for summer fun:

Common Misconception: All Dogs Know How to Swim 

Unfortunately, dogs are not born with the natural ability to know how to swim. While many dogs are proficient at swimming, every dog’s ability is different. It’s best to introduce your pet to the water with these careful steps to gauge their swimming ability: 

  • Choose a shallow, quiet spot to introduce them to the water 
  • Get in the water with them 
  • Start at the edge of the water, don’t push them into the deep end 
  • When your dog starts to paddle with their front legs, gently lift their back legs to show them how to float and continue to swim 
  • Don’t force it—if your pet is nervous or scared, let them get out of the water 
  • The younger your pet is when you introduce them to water, the better they will be with it

Keep an eye on your pet the first time you introduce them to water, and help guide them back to the edge of the pool or the exit if they are ready to get out. It’s important to keep swimming and water time as stress-free as possible.

Life Jackets Save Lives 

If you’re traveling to the beach or a lake, a life jacket is a must. The life jacket can save your pets life if they swim too far out in the water or become fatigued, and is an important part of pet water safety. Water currents and deep water can also be dangerous to your pet. Life jackets are still important for preventing drownings in dogs, even those who are strong and experienced swimmers. 

Pool Safety Tips 

  • If you own a pool, put a fence around the area to keep your pets safely away when you are not there to supervise or swim with them
  • Too much chlorine can cause an upset stomach. Make sure your dog is only swimming laps, not lapping up pool water to quench their thirst 
  • Supervise your dog at all times, even if they are a strong swimmer 
  • Teach your pet how to get in and out of your pool. Consider getting a dog pool ramp so they can easily get out of the water 
  • If you’re concerned about your pet’s swimming ability, a dog life jacket or vest can be a great option even for your house

Fun in the Sun 

Consider using some pet-safe sunscreen on your dog before they set out for a day in the sun. Just like people, pets can get sunburn and are susceptible to skin cancer. Yes, even through their fur! Protect them with a layer of pet-safe sunscreen and be sure to reapply every few hours. Also, be sure to keep clear drinking water nearby so your pet stays hydrated and does not drink too much pool, lake, or ocean water. 

Rinse and Repeat 

As a best practice, it’s always good to rinse your dog off after they’ve spent time in any kind of water to remove chlorine or other impurities from their skin and ears. We also offer pet grooming services to keep your pet clean after a day outdoors. 

Always follow the above safety tips for fun in the sun and water with your dog. The team at The Pet’s Place Animal Hospital is always here for your pet wellness and safety needs.