During the hot summer months, your pets may enjoy pool time just as much as you do–not only because it’s a great way to cool off but also because it gives them one more wonderful opportunity to spend time interacting with you.  However, despite the fact that most pets seem to automatically know how to swim and seem to enjoy the water, there are many who are not natural swimmers, and some that can even drown if left unsupervised.  This means that just as is the case with children, pools can be dangerous places for our pets, and we must take precautions for pool safety.

Pool Safety Tips for Your Pet

1. Teach your pet how to swim.  Even though many pets may automatically perform the “dog paddle” stroke when placed near or in water, they may not actually know how to swim well, especially if they are at all afraid of the water.  If you aren’t quite sure how to go about teaching your pet to swim, you can enlist the help of an animal trainer.

2. Always use a pet life vest. Some pet breeds, like the bulldog, are just not built for swimming, and may never do well in the water as a result.  However, they may love the water and wish to get in with you, in which case it is a very good idea to invest in a pet life vest.  But while the life vest will certainly help them to stay afloat, it does not automatically guarantee their safety, so make sure they are always supervised in the water.

3. Be watchful of older pets.  Older pets are more likely to suffer from health conditions such as arthritis, vision loss, seizures and other health issues that can make swimming even more dangerous for them.  It is best to check with a veterinarian before allowing your older pet go swimming, and always supervise them when they are in the water.

4. Learn pet CPR. There are some animal organizations and shelters that offer classes in pet CPR, which can come in very handy if your pet ever encounters breathing problems while in the pool.

5. Keep a fence around your pool. It is important to ensure that your pet does not have access to your pool while you are away, especially if they come to recognize that they are sometimes permitted in the pool and they enjoy the pool.