Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural-born swimmers, and even the best ones need training in the beginning. With the summer heating up, the American Kennel Club offers the following tips to help dog owners keep their four-legged companions safe in the water.
Supervision. Always keep a watchful eye on your pup when he’s in the pool. He may need your help and be unable to bark to get your attention.
Slow and steady. Even natural-born swimmers tend to be afraid the first time they go in the pool, so be sure to take it slowly and enter in shallow water. Praise your dog every step of the way to build up his confidence around water.
Moderation. Swimming is great exercise, but as with any workout it should be increased in small increments. Your dog is using new muscles and may get tired quickly.
Locate the exits. It is important to teach your dog how to use the pool’s ladder to exit the water. Using a ladder can be scary for your four-legged companion, but it is an important skill to assure his safety.
Rinse off. Wash your dog off with fresh water after he gets out of the pool to rinse away any chemicals from the pool water.
Don’t forget the ears. Some special attention is required for your dog’s ears. Gently dab your dog’s ears with a dry towel or use a blow dryer on the “cool” setting to get rid of excess moisture. Most ear infections in dogs with floppy ears are caused by water getting trapped in the pup’s ear canal.
For more tips on dog ownership, visit akc.org.