Safety tips for dealing with dogs near pools

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — After the harsh winter we had, many of us are looking forward to the heat of the summer. As soon as the heat does arrive, we will be looking for ways to keep cool.  But you also have to think about your pet — specifically your dog — to make sure they are not overcome by the warmer temperatures.

Joining us Saturday on Good Morning Connecticut, Richard and Vicki Horowitz, expert dog trainers from BarkBusters, to talk about all dealing with pets near the pool.

With the warm weather here and many people opening their pools for Memorial Day and the summer season, keeping your dog cool during the summer months is extremely important.  It can prevent heat stroke, dehydration or even death.  Dogs not only need to drink plenty of water to keep cool, many of them like to swim in it as well.  While it is a great form of exercise and will help to keep Fido from overheating, many dogs drown each year from pool accidents that could have been avoided.

If your dog loves the water and loves to jump into the pool, make sure he knows how to get out safely.  If a dog falls into a river or lake, its instinct will tell it to turn around and try to get out from the point at which it fell in.  This may work well in a lake or a river, but in a suburban swimming pool the dog may drown if it adopts this instinctive action.  Therefore it is important to teach your dog where and how to get out of the pool regardless of where he went in.

If you’re looking to teach your dog how to exit a pool, first attach a recall leash to its collar.  Gently place the dog into the pool from the steps or shallow end.  The dog will instinctively turn around and get out from the point of entry.  Place the dog in the pool several times.  Once it realizes that it can scramble out, move to the other sides of the pool and again gently place the dog into the pool.  Use the recall leash to guide the dog to the steps or shallow area, giving as little help as possible to the dog.  Practice as much as possible with your dog, especially with pups. Make certain your dog does not become exhausted.  The most you will be able to achieve at any one time is three or four entries and exits.

It is also important for you to keep an eye on your dog while in the pool because swimming can be very tiring for a dog.  Just like many dogs will chase a ball or Frisbee again and again until they nearly collapse, many dogs will continue swimming without any thought as to how tired they are.  And unlike chasing a ball on land, they have no solid ground on which to rest.

If you don’t have access to a pool that allows dogs but still want to take him swimming, nature offers other enjoyable options.  However, be aware any restrictions if you take your dog to the beach, lake or pond.  Once in the water, make sure your dog will come to you as soon as you call.  Recall is one of the most important lessons you can teach your dog.  It can literally save his life. It’s not a bad idea to rinse your dog off with fresh water, after swimming.

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