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Water Safety Tips for Your Dog's Summertime Fun

Shelley Frost has worked for and volunteered in animal protection organizations for 30 years.

Jessie, ready to dive in.

Jessie, ready to dive in.

Water Safety for Dogs

With summer days heating up, your dog(s) feel the temperature change too. Just as we enjoy the cooling relief of floating or swimming, some dogs can’t get enough of bodies of water. Whether your dog has his very own kiddie pool to splash around in, or he has access to a lake, river or even the ocean, here are some tips to ensure his safety for a fun day frolicking in the waves.

  • If your dog is a beginning swimmer, you will need to keep a close eye to ensure he doesn’t become overtired in deep water.
  • Always keep a leash on a dog who is dipping his toe in for the first time.
  • Keep him in the shallow end and be sure to get into the water with him.
  • If he decides this swimming business is not for him, don’t force him back into the water. This could develop a fear of water and distrust of you.
  • As your dog gets the hang of swimming with his front paws paddling, support his belly to ensure that his back legs get into the rhythm too.

Pools, Lakes, Rivers, and the Ocean

If your dog is lucky enough to live in a household with its own cement pond (swimming pool) the first thing to do is to make sure he knows how to enter and exit the pool safely. Once he knows where those stairs are, and should he decided to take himself for solo swims, it may be time to invest in a safety fence around the pool so that he can’t tackle the water unsupervised.

If you plan to visit a lake, river, or pond, a fun and lifesaving piece of equipment for your dog is a life jacket. Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets come in all sizes and colors. They even have a handle on top so that you can easily grab your dog in case the current becomes a bit too strong.

In fact, before you allow your dog to make a beeline to the water’s edge, make sure the currents are manageable. Also, look out for abandoned fishing gear such as sharp hooks that could pierce your dog’s pads. If you are at a pond or lake, double-check that the water is clear of blue-green algae which could cause health issues if your dog ingests it.

And for the big kahuna of swimming, there’s the beach and the ocean! All dogs love the divine smells percolating all through the sand. Keep an eye out for dead fish or birds as these could sicken or injure your dog should he manage to take a bite or two.

Beware of hot sand too. While your feet are safely tucked inside sandals or athletic shoes, burning hot sand can be painful on a dog’s bare paws. Next, notice the water’s energy. Are the waves large and forbidding? Are there warnings of riptides or strong currents? If so, then maybe a game of frisbee on the beach is a better choice for your dog’s safety.

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Kellie ready to tackle a buoy.

Kellie ready to tackle a buoy.

Important Water Safety Tips for Dog Owners

  • Use clear, fresh water to rinse off ocean water, chlorine, or pond water to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy.
  • Check your dog’s ears for wetness, and dry them out with a soft towel to avoid infections.
  • Bring fresh drinking water for your dog. Discourage him from drinking pool, sea, pond, or river water.
  • Become trained in canine CPR. Just like humans, canine CPR involves chest compressions and artificial respiration. Here is a video that will guide you on how to give CPR to a dog. (See the video below).

Water Sources Dangerous for Dogs

CanalsReservoirsFlooded RiversRough Seas



fast currents

crashing waves

toxic waste

unseen objects


strong currents


typically cold

typically cold

cold temperatures

Protecting Your Dog Means Fun for Years to Come

As your dog’s guardian, it is up to you to be their protector and guide ensuring their safety. Sometimes dogs just don’t know when they are tired or cold.

Keep an eye out for a dog who is shivering, tail tucked, or is uninterested in walking. This could be a sign he is too cold and could use a vigorous rubdown with a beach towel.

An overly tired dog might become irritable, might limp when walking, or just appear a bit spacey. Encourage your dog to settle down. You might have to hide the tennis ball or frisbee too!

Dogs who love water and swimming are fortunate to have this joy in their lives. But just as humans must practice safety measures for ourselves and our human family members, the same goes for our canine family. This way you and your dog will have many summers filled with sun and water for years to come.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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