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Water Safety for Dogs

Does your dog jump into any body of water he sees?  Many breeds love to swim and take advantage of any opportunity to play in the water.  But, just as with children, water safety precautions should always be observed by pet parents.     

Swimming is an excellent exercise for dogs and some breeds live to get splashing in the water.  But it’s important for responsible pet owners to weigh the risks and take the proper precautions when letting their dogs play in the water.

Swimming Pools

Dogs don’t always think before they swim. The greatest danger in a swimming pool as far as pet safety goes is when your dog jumps in for a swim not knowing where the steps are to get out.  For this reason, never leave your dog to swim in the pool unattended. He could end up drowning from fatigue. Additional precautions for the swimming pool are as follows:

  • Keep the pool covered when not in use.
  • Swimming can cause fatigue.  It’s best to put a flotation device on your dog when he swims.
  • Don’t let your dog drink chlorinated pool water.  
  • Hose your pet off to remove chlorine after swimming in the pool.


Swimming in the ocean poses a threat to dog safety because strong undercurrents can pull them too far out.  A flotation device is a must when letting a dog swim in the ocean. Also, don’t throw a ball or toy out in the water for them to try to fetch.  They may be so fixated on the ball that they don’t pay attention to how far out they are swimming.

Lakes and Ponds

Free of dangerous currents and tides, lakes and ponds can be good places for dogs to swim.  The biggest danger in these bodies of water is a species of blue-green algae, called cyanobacteria, that produces fatal toxins.  As cyanobacteria grow and colonize, they form “blooms” that often make the water have a blue or green cast. These blooms can also give the water a “pea soup” appearance.  

Not all species of algae are dangerous.  In fact, most are not, but it is impossible to tell just by looking.  Dogs can become contaminated with these deadly toxins by drinking pond water, or even by simply inhaling the spores.  

When letting your dog engage in any water activity, always bring fresh water for them to drink and encourage them to take breaks between swims to rest and refresh.

Many breeds of dogs love the water and take advantage of any opportunity to hop in for a cool dip.  Supervised swims usually pose no threats to dogs, but just as with children, pet parents should always take the necessary precautions to keep their pets safe when playing in the water. 

Do you have any tips? Please share with our readers.

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