Teaching your dog to swim could save its life. Around 18% of homes in WA have swimming pools, our coastline is dotted with dog beaches and new suburbs are popping up everywhere, landscaped with lakes and ponds. We regularly discuss the risks of children drowning but very rarely the risks of dogs drowning, this may be because dog drownings are not reported in the media? While we are struggling to find accurate statistics on dog drownings in WA, this report by perthnow.com.au from 2013 stated – ‘While no exact statistics are available, Pauline Wilson from Perth Pet Cremations reports that it is cremating on average two dogs a week after they drown in pools.’
So, what are the do’s and don’ts of introducing your dog to water and teaching your dog to swim? What are the do’s and don’ts of keeping them safe? Let’s start off with the do’s…
Doggy Swimming Do’s
- Do ask your vet at what age you can start teaching your dog to swim
- Do teach basic obedience on land first
- Do introduce your dog to shallow water initially
- Do supervise your dog around any body of water, much like a small child
- Do fence your swimming pool properly
- Do fit your swimming pool with a drowning alarm (you can also get alarms which attach to your dog’s collar)
- Do teach your dog to exit the pool via the step or a dog ramp
- Do educated guests at your home about your dog’s safety around the pool
- Do learn basic dog first aid
- Do visit a dog pool or hydrotherapy centre and get professional help!
Doggy Swimming Don’ts
- Don’t assume your dog has natural swimming ability, some breeds are very bad/incapable swimmers! Dogs do have some genetic preprograming to paddle water if they fall in, but this isn’t the same as swimming
- Don’t over task your dog in the water, swimming is hard work – build up slowly one minute at a time
- Don’t force a novice dog to swim by throwing it in the water, tossing a toy in the deep end or calling it in
- Don’t take a puppy to the beach that can’t swim, rough seas/waves/surf could cause it to drown or inhale water
- Don’t put a novice dog in the water with other dogs, they can drown one another
- Don’t put dogs in spas/hot tubs
- Don’t leave dogs unsupervised around the pool! Don’t get mad at us for repeating this now!
After a little research, we found these two options for dog swimming in the Perth, WA region –
Teach your dog to swim, secure your swimming pool and enjoy the rest of summer.