Water Safety for Pets: Tips Every Pet Parent Should Know

Dr. Keith Mihansky

Jun 29, 2021

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With the summer months just ahead, it’s time to start thinking about spending some time enjoying the water with your furry friends. However, as a responsible pet parent, it’s also important to educate yourself on the safety guidelines recommended for pets in and around sources of water.

Read through the article below to find out more information about some water safety tips for your pet. With the help of this information, you can prepare more than ever before for the summer months and get ready for a fun and safe season with your pet.

Below are some water safety tips that every pet parent should know/keep in mind:

Make Sure Your Pet Knows How to Swim

First and foremost, your pet should be taught how to swim. Swimming is fairly instinctive for most animals, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice with your pet before you go into any large, deep, or intimidating bodies of water.

Take your pet into the water with you and stick to a shallow area with little to no current. Wait for your pet to start paddling, then support under your pet’s chest and abdomen so he can learn how to float properly. It may take a few tries, but your pet will become a natural at swimming in no time.

Pay Attention to Currents and Tides

Currents and tides are just as dangerous to pets as they are to humans, and even pets who know how to swim very well can be swept away by rip tides or strong currents if you aren’t careful. Due to this, another important water safety tip to keep in mind is to pay close attention to any tide warnings for your destination and always check the current strength in any body of water before letting your pet swim.

Do not let your pet go out too far from the shore in any body of water. This way, he will still be able to make his way back safely if the current becomes too strong.

Only Let Your Pet in the Water with Supervision

Never leave your pet in the water unattended for any period of time. Only let him swim when you can keep a close eye on him. And of course, if you yourself cannot swim, make sure to have a family member or friend with you who can, just in case an emergency should occur.

Also, if you have a swimming pool in your backyard, make sure to keep it covered or install a fence around the pool to make sure your pet does not fall in or attempt to swim without supervision. This can prevent serious accidents, including drowning, which can be life threatening.

Use a Pet Life Vest

Any pet who is going to be spending time in a body of water that they cannot stand up in easily should wear a life vest. This way, the pet will be able to stay afloat even if something goes wrong.

A pet’s life vest should also have a built-in handle on top of it. This makes it easier for you or any other humans to grab hold of the pet and hoist him out of the water if they become fatigued, stressed, or experience difficulty. Easy pet retrieval in the water can help prevent accidents and can even save a life.

Rinse Your Pet Off After Being in Any Body of Water

Your pet’s fur and skin health both rely on your pet staying dry and free from exposure to harsh chemicals, minerals, and contaminants. However, when your pet swims, he is exposed to all of these and much more, so he will need to be rinsed off well after playtime is done.

Ideally, you should give your pet a bath after spending time in any body of water. If this is not possible—for example, if you are camping or on vacation and can’t bathe your pet easily—a thorough rinse will work in a pinch. Be sure to avoid the face, eyes, mouth, and ears when bathing.

Keep Your Pet Away from Dead Fish, Algae, and Fishing Gear

While not directly caused by the water, bodies of water can be sources of dead fish, algae, and fishing gear. All of these pose potential hazards to your pet and should be avoided.

Dead fish may be tempting for your pet to eat but could cause illness. Algae can cause pets to get sick, and fishing gear may cause injuries and can be life threatening if ingested.

Talk with a Vet for Other Water Safety Tips for Your Pet

Now that you know more about some safety tips on how to keep your pet safe in and around the water, you can feel more confident spending time with your pet this summer. Pets enjoy playing in the water during the hot summer months just like humans do, but it’s important to pay attention to their health and safety needs when they do so.

Always make sure you know how to get in touch with your vet or with a quality emergency vet if anything should go wrong with your pet while in the water. This can give you more peace of mind as well.

If you have any questions or want additional advice on water safety tips for your pet, VEG has locations all over the country that each have a team of highly qualified emergency vets you can call who are always willing to help you and your pet. When you call any of our locations, most of which are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, you’ll be able to speak directly with an emergency veterinarian who will be able to guide you on all the necessary precautions you should keep in mind when taking your pet around water.