On a stifling hot Southern California summer day, having a pool is a life savior.
So, enjoy it, but just make sure if you have a dog you practice some safety tips, which can help avoid injury and in extreme cases drowning.
The first thing to do when you have a pool and a dog is teach your dog how to safely get in and out of the pool. To train this, start in the pool with your dog and teach the dog how to get to the pool’s steps from a short distance away. As your dog completes this training task, increase the distance from you and your dog inside the pool to the steps in small increments. Do this until you can be anywhere in the pool with your dog and he or she can make their way to the steps.
Don’t feel like getting in the pool with your dog? Put a harness on the dog with a leash and guide the dog on how to get out from the side of the pool, rather than the steps.
Have a scaredy cat? You can also help break your dog’s fear of the water by using a favorite toy and encouraging the dog to come to the side of the pool without getting in. Then, encourage the dog to dip a paw in the pool to get the toy. Once they are comfortable doing that, encourage them to step onto the first step, then second, third and so on until they are completely in.
Even after you train your dog on how to get out if they ever fell in and familiarized them with the pool, installing a fence around any pool or spa is always a smart bet. Keep doors to the pool securely closed at all times. Using a lock is recommended. Be aware if your dog has learned to outsmart or over power the fence and can lift the door latch or jump the fence.
With pool fences and gates, it’s also important not to lean anything against it, which the dog can use to get over and into the pool.
A client of It’s a Dog’s World had a very recent, scary experience with their Blue Nose Pit Bull, Tank. Earl Lilly, Tank’s owner, who also has a Rott named Tito and another Pit, Roxy, came home to Tank’s very strange behavior last Wednesday.
Tank managed to get over the pool gate by a small ladder, which was leaned up against it, and fell into the Lilly’s above ground pool. He was able to get out of athe pool, but some damage had been done. When Earl got home he noticed a difference in Tank, who later began vomiting blood and water, and developed hypothermia.
Luckily, Tank recovered after a visit to his vet and some TLC at home.
“The lesson learned from this is do not take for granted the smallest items out by the pool,” he said. “These dogs are athletic and can end up in areas in a blink of an eye.”
And above all, complete supervision, which you give children when in a yard with a pool should also be applied to dogs. After all they are our babies, too.