Water Safety

As we start to enter the warmer months of the summer, pools, beaches, and lakes become a great pastime for families and their pets.  Before venturing into the deep blue sea, make sure you know how to keep your pets safe.

While swimming may seem like something that is natural to most dogs, this is not always the case.  With leash laws being more strictly enforced, it is easier to keep an eye out on your pet from a close distance.  However, for those that are not leashed, it is important to always keep your eyes on them.  If your pet does not want to go into the water, do not force the issue.

Currents can be very strong along rivers and beaches, especially for small pets.  It is important to consider this before allowing your pet in the water.  Unfortunately, there are no standards in life jacket design for dogs.  It is up to you, as a pet owner, to find a jacket suitable for your dog.  While pet life jackets do not come with buoyancy ratings, as they do for humans, that does not mean they could not save your pet in certain situations.  Even dogs that are considered the best swimmers could have an unforeseen accident.  It is important to be proactive and use precautions.  Research flotation devices and utilize reviews before making a decision.

Backyard swimming pools are another summer favorite.  However, when it comes to some of our elderly and visually impaired pets, they can be a danger as well.  Many accidents occur right in our backyard.  It is important to consider a safety fence when the pool is not in use.  Pets should be thought of as small children and should never be left unattended.

Important Safety Tips:

  • Never let your pet drink from an unknown source of water – This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and, in some instances, severe dehydration.
  • Always check the current / weather – Even the strongest swimmers can succumb to rough seas.
  • Never leave your pet alone or unattended when near the water.
  • Research flotation devices for your pets.
  • Always rinse your pet with fresh / clean water to ensure their skin is not irritated.
  • Some dogs are prone to ear infections, if exposed to water – Always be proactive and discuss with your veterinarian if your pet will be partaking in any water activities. An ear cleansing solution may be needed to help keep the ear canals healthy.
  • Learn canine CPR – In the event of an emergency, it is best to be prepared.


Always seek veterinary assistance if a traumatic event occurs.  If your pet ingests chlorinated or salt water, contact Pet Poison Helpline® to determine if a poisoning has occurred.  If your pet ingests too much saltwater, it may be necessary to seek medical attention, as dehydration and salt poisoning may occur.  In the event of a drowning incident and you can successfully perform CPR, secondary complications can occur.  It is vital to contact your veterinarian or veterinary emergency clinic for guidance.