Your fur babies deserve to enjoy the swimming pool, too, but is it safe for them? Pets are members of the family and you want to ensure they have access to the pool, so it’s a valid question.
It is a treat your pets can enjoy with the rest of the family, but there are safety precautions that must be observed to keep your pets safe in the pool. Approximately 5,000 dogs drown in swimming pools each year, and knowing the reasons is a good place to start taking those precautions.
There are three primary reasons for pet deaths in swimming pools:
- Exposure or ingestion of pool chemicals
- Heat stroke
In this article, we will dive into these three reasons and provide some tips to help keep your pets safe while they enjoy their time in your pool with the family.
Pool Safety Tips For Pets
There are many ways to prevent accidents from happening, so let’s look at each hazard in more detail. We will also discuss some specific actions that will keep your pets safe in and around the pool:
#1 – Preventing Accidental Drowning
Both dogs and cats instinctively try to swim when in water, so you may think the instinct will protect them adequately, but it won’t. So treat your pets like your children when they are around the pool and in the water. The key word is supervision.
Very young animals, as well as elderly pets, will need even more attention. They may not have adequate strength yet to swim on their own or they may become disoriented in the pool. Older pets may also have medical limitations such as vision and hearing loss and seizures that put them at higher risk in the water. And, as with your children, accidents happen and they may panic if they fall into the pool. For all these reasons, it’s necessary to be with them and ready to help if the unexpected happens.
Now that you know the risks associated with pet drownings, here are some specific ways to prevent your pet from becoming a statistic.
Conduct a Swim Test or Lesson:
– Remove the pool cleaner or any other devices that may startle the pet. Turn off the filter or pump during the lesson or test.
– Remove pool covers, solar panels, floats, or anything else in or around the pool.
– Put a life jacket on the pet.
– Go slowly! Introduce the swimming pool to the dog gradually and make sure they feel safe in the water before proceeding.
– Don’t force an animal into the water. Begin in shallow water and stay with them. Hold them up and speak quietly, using positive reinforcement.
– If they act anxious or fearful, remove them from the water. Don’t act annoyed or yell. Just be patient and try again another time.
– Stay with your pet each time until you feel they are enjoying themselves and able to swim longer and longer distances in the pool.
Additional Safety Actions to Keep Pets Safe From Drowning:
– Install a safety fence and pool alarm.
– Teach pets how to use the steps to get out of the pool.
– Learn pet CPR.
– Continue to supervise even when they are swimming on their own.
By taking these steps, you will be protecting your pets as much as you can from accidental drowning.
#2 – Preventing Exposure or Ingestion of Pool Chemicals
You spend a lot of time keeping your swimming pool clean and safe for your family. Many of the chemicals you use, however, are toxic to both humans and pets if not used and stored properly. Here are the most common categories of chemicals that are used to clean pools and how to observe safe pool maintenance with dogs and other pets:
– Sanitizers: Used to kill bacteria and rid the water of algae and microbes. Sanitizers include chlorine and bromine.
– Balancers: Work with sanitizers to clean the water, stop bacterial growth, and balance out the pH level of the water.
– Algaecides: Some pool owners use algaecides to deal with persistent types of algae that resist chlorine and standard sanitizers.
Here are some tips on keeping your pets (and your humans) safe from chemicals in and around your pool.
– Lock up chemicals, cleaners, and testing supplies in a designated shed or storage container.
– Keep pets (and children) inside while you are using these products.
– Read and follow all directions carefully.
– Keep pets and people out of the pool for 24 hours after shocking it.
– Train pets not to drink pool water; keep fresh water available for them outside at all times.
– Rinse pets off after swimming.
– Check into safer chemical alternatives that are pet-safe.
The use of chemicals is necessary to keep your pool clean and safe, but follow the tips above so your pets aren’t the victims of accidental poisoning.
#3 – Preventing Heat Stroke
During the hot summer months, heat stroke is a danger to pets and people, especially when everyone spends hours outside. Heat stroke, also known as heat exhaustion, happens when your pet’s body temperature rises to 102.2. Once temperatures rise above 80 degrees, there is a significantly increased danger of heat stroke, especially if the humidity is high. And since neither dogs nor cats have many sweat glands, they can’t regulate their body temperature.
Watch for these signs of heat stroke in your pets:
– Excessive panting or drooling
– Difficulty breathing
– Vomiting or diarrhea
– Weakness, stumbling, or disorientation
If you see these signs in your pets, cool them down as much as possible and get medical attention for them immediately.
Tips to Prevent Heat Stroke
It can happen quickly, so be observant and take these actions to prevent heat stroke:
– Monitor the time outside: Use an umbrella or tent for the pets to take a break out of the sun.
– Avoid the hottest part of the day: Midday is the harshest, so schedule swims in the morning and early evening.
– Hydration is critical: Keep fresh, cool water available at all times, for both pets and people.
– Keep an eye on pets at all times: If they fall into the pool and are lethargic from the heat and dehydration, you may not notice right away.
Creating a Pet-Safe Swimming Pool Environment
Your pets are members of your family and deserve a safe pool environment, too. The three major hazards for pets are drowning, exposure to and ingestion of chemicals, and heat stroke. By understanding each of the hazards and taking some proactive steps, you can prevent many tragic accidents involving your pets.
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