Helping your pet stay cool in these sweltering summer months can be tough, and staying indoors all summer long is a drag. Going for a swim or romp at the beach or lake can be so much fun, but it’s easy to forget that safety is still key. Pet water safety is super important to keeping your swim session enjoyable. 

pet water safety - go for a dip

If your pet loves to play in the water, have at it! It’s not only a great way to keep your pet cool during the warm months, and can help your fluffer get in their daily exercise while you spend time playing together. If Fluffy is not a fan of swimming, you can even give them a shallow pool or puddle of clean, cool water to dip their paws in (Did you know dogs sweat through their paws? Wetting their little feet simulates the evaporation that cools them!).

Brush up on these simple tips on pet water safety, and get your cannonball ready.

Be mindful of water safety - be aware of wildlife

Alligators and crocodiles usually keep to themselves, but if your pup wanders (or swims) into their territory, a hungry gator may think that his lunch delivery has just arrived. Pay attention to posted signs, and if you’re unsure, err on the side of caution. Snakes also tend to hang around fresh water sources, so just keep an eye out on behalf of your furry friend.

I’ve heard of far fewer incidents of pets being bothered by sharks in salty bodies of water, but it does happen. Let Fido have fun, but keep him out of the waves at dawn, dusk and at night. Your visibility will be less, and some shark species tend to move inshore to feed at these times.

We see the undertow, and we say heck no!pet water safety - avoid currents and tides

Large waves and swift currents may be fun for some extreme sporting types (people, not pups). But chances are good that your pet doesn’t know how to navigate them. Pets become easily exhausted when trying to swim out of a tough curent. If you’re in the waves or on a boat with your pet, a lifejacket is always a good idea. That way, if your furball falls in, they’ll be able to stay afloat until you can safely retrieve them. Attaching a harness and leash to your pet as they explore is a good way to keep them nearby. 

Ward off skin and ear water safety - dry your pet!

Pet water safety goes further than keeping watch during play. After your pet takes a dip in any body of water, it’s usually a good idea to bathe them afterward. If you don’t have access to grooming supplies (like shampoo), a thorough rinse with clean water will still help. Salt water, chlorine, and bacteria found in lakes and ponds, can get trapped in your pet’s fur and cause irritation to their skin. Afterward, make sure all bathing furballs get thoroughly dried with a clean towel.

If Fido’s ears touched the water, you might want to give them a once over with a good ear rinse, and be sure they get thoroughly dried. Wet ears can lead to an overgrowth of yeast and/or bacteria, and an ear infection on the road will ruin your vacation vibes really fast.

If you keep up with regular post-swimming hygiene, and your pup still seems to have recurring skin or ear problems, it may be time to search for a different answer and solution to their discomfort.

Don’t forget clean drinking water!pet water safety - bring clean drinking water

The water your pet is playing in may not be suitable for drinking. Salt water is an especially bad idea, as ingesting it often causes diarrhea in pets and, thus, dehydration. Remember that your pet is exercising as they play in the water. They will need to replenish those fluids and stay well hydrated on the inside as well.

Outdoor water play is a favorite way to to cool down and let loose for so many pets. And it’s is something the whole family can enjoy. Always keep a close watch on your furry friend when you’re outdoors, and don’t forget to have fun!

Dr. Ruth Roberts DVM, CVA

Dr. Ruth Roberts Holistiv Vet

Dr. Ruth Roberts is The Original Pet Health Coach, and has supported thousands of dogs and cats to overcome health hurdles like kidney disease, GI Illness, allergies and cancer. Her natural approach to healing creates a gentle yet effective path for your pet to take on their journey to wellbeing. Dr. Ruth created The Original CrockPet Diet, a balanced home cooked diet for pets, as the foundation of health. Dr. Ruth is now training passionate pet parents, and pet professionals to be Certified Holistic Pet Health Coaches so that more pets can be helped holistically.