Dog safety in and around your swimming pool
Your dog is like a member of the family. The last thing you would want is harm to come to him from an accident that could have been prevented. Let’s look at some ways that can protect your pup while he enjoys your backyard—including your swimming pool.
1. Teach your dog to swim—or recognize that he will not be able to.
Some dogs are natural-born swimmers, some are not. Typically, aquatic skills depend on breed. Some can swim right away, some can learn to swim, and some fear the water and will never swim.
Spend time with your dog in the pool. Assess his comfort level in the water and natural aquatic skills and/or patiently work with him on his “dog-paddle” moves. If it is clear that he and the water simply are not a match, then it will be particularly important for you to implement some of the other safety measures outlined below.
2. Supervise your dog when he is near water.
You would not leave a young child unsupervised around a pool; the same should be true for your pet. Even a dog who loves the water and is a proven swimmer can drown due to panic, fatigue, or disorientation. Another potential hazard: Certain kinds of pool covers can create a trap for animals that wander onto them and sink into the material. So, be sure to keep tabs on Fido when he is outside with access to your pool.
3. Give your dog an exit strategy.
What happens if no one is around and your pet falls into the pool and cannot swim? Or, what if he can swim—but tires out after repeatedly failing to locate the exit steps at one end of your large pool?
A special pool ramp can serve as a lifeline for your pup (as well as other critters that wander into your yard and end up in your pool). It provides a way to escape the water—even if the animal can’t reach the pool steps—and make it to the safety of dry land.
4. Prevent access to water.
When you are not around to watch your four-legged friend, a fence is the best substitute. A safety fence is a simple, smart tactic to make your pool safer for the entire family. These barriers safeguard your pets by blocking their access to the water while allowing them to remain outdoors when you are not at home to monitor them.
Pool fences are available in a wide array of styles, colors, materials, and price ranges to fit your backyard design and your budget. They can be put up or taken down in minutes, or, they can be left in place with latched doors that provide access by older children and adults.
5. Equip your pool with an alarm.
If a pool fence is not your preferred route, consider a pool alarm. These devices detect motion in the water (beyond routine water currents) and sound an alert. It’s critical to keep in mind that a pool alarm is not a substitute for supervision. An alarm will not prevent your dog from falling into the water, but it is designed to let you know if he does so you can take action.
Remember: The best way to safeguard your pet from an accident or drowning is to LAYER protection with several measures: Make sure your pet can swim, provide an “emergency” exit, and bolster these measures with regular supervision and a barrier and/or alarm.
What are some ways you have fun with your pets in the pool while ensuring they keep safe?