Pools and Pet Safety Tips


A pool is something the whole family can enjoy together, dogs included.  However, pet safety, the same as child safety, around the pool is essential for dogs.  People often do not consider the risk to a pet until something tragic happens.  Use some simple pet safety tips to ensure you have an accident and incident free summer around your pool.

pet safety tips


Can’t all Dogs Swim?

Despite popular belief, not all dogs can swim, and of the dogs that can swim, not all are good swimmers.  Bulldogs, for example, can swim, but not very well and can easily drown.  Many dogs are also scared of the water.  Consider swimming lessons for your dog.  If you do not feel equal to the task, you can hire a trainer to introduce your dog to the water, as well as teach the dog how to swim.

pet safety tips

If your dog is not a strong swimmer, there are life jackets on the market just for dogs, so if your bulldog loves the water but you want him to be safe, consider this alternative to keeping him high and dry.  Life jackets are also ideal for helping your dog learn to swim.  Many dogs don’t automatically use their back legs when swimming, but it is necessary for them to do so in order to keep afloat.  You can help by holding the back end until your dog gets the hang of it, or allow the lift jacket to this job for you.

How Can I Keep my Pool Off Limits?

If your dog spends time around the pool unsupervised, a fence will be just the thing to help keep him safe from drowning.  There are invisible fences on the market that use radio frequencies tuned to a collar that beeps when the dog gets too close, and deliver a mild shock should the beep not suffice.  Another type of invisible fence uses buried wires and functions the same as the radio collars.


Are there Special Rules for Older Dogs?

Older dogs should be evaluated by your vet to determine if he or she is healthy enough to swim.  Medical conditions such as arthritis and loss of sight may prevent your dog from swimming safely or necessitate constant supervision while in the water.  As a rule of thumb, dogs should never be left alone while in the water.

Make sure Dogs can Get in and Out of the Pool Easily

Dogs have trouble seeing through the water, so make sure to teach the dog where the steps are and how to go up and down safely.  Many dogs, especially small ones, will not be able to exit the pool at the side and may drown.  Placing an easy to see marker to identify the location of the pool steps also helps dogs quickly find where to exit.  A large planter, or other colorful, stationery article will suffice.

What Other Cautions Should I Keep in Mind?

Chlorine in the water will cause your dog to have dry skin the same as you, so hosing him off after a swim is necessary.  Be aware your dog will also be subject to red, irritated eyes from pool water.

Overweight dogs who lead a sedentary lives should build up the amount of time they swim gradually to avoid sore muscles from over exertion.

Our dogs love to be with us and, as a part of the family; we love to include them as much as we can.  There is no reason the pool should be off limits when some careful planning, and following some simple guidelines for keeping your dog safe this summer will ensure hours of family water fun and play for everyone, pets included.

Images: Thinkstock

WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.