If you’re like many pool owners, you see your furbaby approach the edge of the water with curiosity and possibly, even excitement. Our canines love to splash around in the water to cool off in the summer heat just like we do. While some breeds are natural swimmers, others may need a little guidance when learning how to swim. There are many helpful products out there to aid in your pup’s poolside summer fun; everything from floating toys to safety vests.
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Swim Safety for Dogs
Is the Pool Safe for a Dog?
Swimming in the pool is perfectly safe for your furbaby. Keep in mind that not all dog breeds are good swimmers, so you may have to monitor your pooch or help them along with a dog safety vest. As long as your chlorine levels are at a normal level for human swimming, they will not harm your dog either. An exception may be if Fido has an existing skin condition; chemicals of any kind tend to agitate the affected areas.
PetMD recognizes that ear infections can form from too much water in a dog’s ears. Symptoms of dog ear infections may include: scratching in the ear, colored or bloody discharge, ear odor, redness, and swelling. For a complete list of symptoms, you can check out https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/dog-ear-infections#1.
Above all, observe how your furbaby behaves in the water. They can become fatigued, just like you and me. If you notice your dog coughing or having trouble breathing, pull them from the water immediately.
What Makes a Dog a Good Swimmer?
There are three main factors that can make it extremely difficult for your pup to doggy-paddle their way around. First and foremost includes their body type. Large heads and barrel chests are not the most buoyant features when it comes to the water. For this reason, breads like bulldogs are not exactly avid swimmers. Extra weight on either end of a canine’s body could throw off their balance needed to properly tread through the water.
The type of hair a dog has is also a factor to consider when thinking about pool safety. Picture your fluffy shih tzu fumbling out of the pool soaking wet after going for a swim. Their hair has turned from a well groomed coat to a dripping mop. Just like human hair, a dog’s hair will soak up moisture; adding weight to their body mass. Carrying all that extra weight around in the water will make it more difficult for the dog to keep afloat. For example, a poodle’s course coat does not soak up water, allowing this certain breed to easily swim.
Another factor that may contribute to swimming ability are their type of whiskers. Whiskers act like nerve signals, telling Fido when he or she brushes up against something. Longer whiskers help with a sense of direction, which provide dogs with guidance to keep their head above the water. Therefore, if your pooch has longer (and a larger quantity of) whiskers, they are more adapt to swimming.
What If My Pup Can’t Swim Well?
The Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket is a high-quality, dependable jacket your furbaby can wear if they have trouble in the water. It is also a great idea to have one as a preventative if they are frequently in the water. While your pup is swimming, its extra padding provides more safety with a higher lift . No matter what size dog you have, the Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket will keep your pup secure and protected . They offer 5 sizes, ranging from extra small to extra large. When purchasing on Amazon, you can view the handy sizing chart to ensure you purchase the correct size. It is recommended that you order a size up if you are in between sizes. The adjustable straps allow you to size it down if needed.
The Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket is fully equipped with safety features, which is why it made our top pick. Velcro around the belly and neck secure the jacket and the durable quick-release buckles make it simple to remove. A sturdy handle on top of the vest makes it easier to remove your dog from the water in emergency situations. Want to attach a leash? No problem! This nifty vest has a D-ring for that very purpose.
After making pet products for a decade, Vivaglory offers a variety of options including 8 bright, reflective colors to choose from! Feel safe knowing the product comes with a 90-day warranty so you can return for a different size if needed. Before letting your pup bound into the water, have them sport the vest around the yard to get used to it.
Getting In and Out of the Pool
Escape Route Importance
Pools differ vastly from the shoreline. Whether it’s an above-ground or in-ground pool, there is no smooth entry or exit for your canine to access. While this might not be an issue if you have built-in steps, dogs are not able to use ladders like we do. Without a proper exit route, your furbaby may feel trapped causing them to feel anxious and become frantic in the water.
Dog Pool Steps
Instead of barring your pup from entering the pool, consider purchasing dog pool steps. The WAG Boarding Steps for Above-Ground Pools (model XPM-6) work wonders as an escape route. They allow your dog to easily climb in and out of the water. While the name states it is for above-ground pools, the company suggests they can be used for in-ground pools as well. All you need is an area to mount the steps; at least 16 ¾” wide and 18” deep. Because the steps do not touch the inside of your pool, it is safe to use with vinyl.
The WAG Boarding Steps are easily pulled out of the water when not in use and you can remove them for simple storage in the winter. The steps are extremely sturdy and will hold up to 130 pounds. With a 4” step height and 45-degree angle incline, they will be comfortable for your pup to use. We recommend purchasing two bolts to help assemble the stairs.
There are some other exceptional options for dog pool stairs and ramps. Instead of going through each and every one here, we created an entire article dedicated to these helpful products. To learn more about dog pool ramps and view our reviews on more options, visit A Dog Pool Ramp Worth Your Money.
Cooling Down in Hot Weather
Dangers of Over-Heating
Hopping in the pool is not only fun for Fido, but it offers many other unique benefits along the way. On those super-hot dog days of summer (pun-intended), your dog is prone to overheat. Panting, disorientation, and speedy breathing can be a sign of overheating. To prevent heat-exhaustion or heat stroke, you can give your dog shaded areas in the yard and an opportunity to cool off in water. During runs or walks, allow your pup to take breaks to cool down their body temperature.
Mini-Pool to Keep Cool
If you do not have a pool in your yard but want to cool down your Fido,, there are a variety of pet or mini pools on the market. The Lalawow So Cool Foldable Pet Swimming Pool is perfect if you are looking for an easy, yet durable, solution. Made of PVC Cloth, it will hold 26.4 gallons of water and is fit for dogs under 28” long. At 32” in diameter and an 8” height, this portable little pool will stand up even without water in it.
The Lalawow So Cool Foldable Pet Swimming Pool has drainage holes at its base for added easy cleanup. When you’re ready to go, just fold it up and bring it along! Or tuck it away for storage during the off season. It measures 32” in diameter and 8” in height, perfect for small and medium sized dogs. Larger dogs will absolutely love laying in the cool water, a waiting pool just for them! We love this mini pool because you can also use it to bathe your furbaby.
Click the Amazon link below to view this doggie swimming pool.
Swimming as Low Impact Weight Loss
Swimming encourages your pup to get in a good work out while having fun. It can be helpful for recovering injuries or senior dogs due to the “resistance and buoyancy that water provides,” mentions PetMD. Therefore, these low impact workouts are also perfect for pups experiencing joint fatigue. Using fetching toys that float is a great way to encourage exercise in the pool. The goal instilled for your dog to retrieve a fun, brightly colored object creates a bond between owner and dog.
Great Floating Disc Dog Toy
To get the best water toy for your dog, you will want something bright and light enough to float. These days you can find many options that float, but they may not have the best qualities to be tossed in water. Our dogs are huge fanatics for the West Paw dog toy company. The company makes a tough flying disc that is great for water play.
The Zogoflex Zisc by West Paw comes in five colors: red, blue, green, orange, and white. For water play and exercise, you will want to go with the blue, green, or orange because they are easy to see in the water. The last thing any owner wants is to loose their pup’s brand new favorite toy!
The disc itself is made from a BPA and Phthalate-free squishy material that will feel great in your pup’s mouth. Unlike harder water toys, a soft disc is the safest option for your pup to retrieve. The squishy material allows them to close their mouth and not swallow any nasty chemical water.
West Paw’s Zogoflex products are fairly durable and will hold up well in water. But, for those more aggressive pups, it may not last too long. It’s softer material is definitely designed for low or moderate chewers. On the bright side, the floating Zisc comes in two sizes: mini and large. First, the mini is 6.5″ in diameter. Second, the large is 8.5″ in diameter.
If you want a safe water toy for your dog, this is the way to go. Plus, as an interactive dog toy, you get to join in on the action!