Taking our dogs with us to the beach can be a source of great pleasure. Not only do we get to enjoy the sunshine and sea but our dogs can also jump and splash to their heart’s content. While it might seem incredibly natural to encourage our dogs to enjoy such bodies of water, including rivers and lakes, there are a number of considerations that should be made before we let our four-legged friends revel in the wet.
Some may assume that all dogs are capable of swimming or that their pet is already comfortable and adapted to the ways of water. Both of these, however, are misconceptions. Not all dogs are capable or confident enough to swim. And, while your pet may currently love to splash about in the local lake, they may not be ready for all types of water. Here’s how to better understand the ways in which to keep you and your dog safe around water.
Don’t Drink Seawater
While the dangers of drinking seawater may seem clear to us, or at least they are only a sip away, dogs may not have the same self-control or discipline. This means that, when they become overly hot or exasperated in the sunshine’s heat, they will head to the sea for a refreshing drink gulping away without being deterred by its saltiness. It does not take much for a dog’s body to become quickly poisoned by the sodium and, unfortunately, it can be fatal for many pets.
While our dogs may have assured us they can swim, it is still worth considering buoyancy aids or flotation devices, especially when visiting new bodies of water. Currents, tides, flows, and even unexpected depths, can each easily overwhelm an animal, which is why safety devices are as important for dogs as people. Their bright colours will also help you to locate your pup more easily.
Check Water Temperature
Without realising it, your dog may jump into an especially cold patch of water. If you are not intending on joining them, the water’s temperature may go unnoticed. Your dog, however, will struggle and, beyond the initial adrenaline, they may soon become overly cold and sick.
Learn The Wildlife
Dogs may not know how to interact with or take caution against animals, especially those hidden in the water, in the same way we do. If you are bringing an animal companion to a body of water it is paramount that you familiarise yourself with the wildlife that can be expected. It is not uncommon, as an example, for seals and jellyfish to swim near beaches, both of which can cause significant harm to dogs.
Help Them Out
A dog’s ability to leave a body of water can vary and while some are able to leap onto banks or scramble out of swimming pools, others will struggle, leading them to become stressed while also risking their drowning. Ensure that, wherever you are, your dog has access to enter and, more importantly, leave when they wish. If not, be sure to help them out!