Since 40% of pet owners take their pet with them on vacation, according to Consumer Reports, and Statista reports 52% of vacationers prefer to indulge in a beach trip, dog owners need to understand and follow dog water safety rules. After all, Fido’s sure to love vacations with fun-filled activities in the sea and relaxing swimming pools near beachside villas as much as you.
Can your dog swim?
Whether you’re headed to the beach or plan to hike up to a mountain lake, you should consider whether your dog can swim before you let him loose in the water. Most people assume that all dogs can swim, but this isn’t the case.
Michele Godlevski, a certified dog trainer and canine behavior consultant point out that “There are also some breeds who have a weight distribution that would not make it possible for them to swim very well without a life vest.”
Therefore, if your dog has never demonstrated to you that he can swim, you should get into the water with him and be prepared to help if needed. It’s also worth investing in a dog life jacket to be safe.
Don’t let your pooch drink the water
The beach may look like a glorious escape, but there are multiple hazards in the sea that could harm your dog, including the sea itself. Science Daily reports that there are 35 grams of salt in every 1 liter of seawater. Saltwater is dangerous for dogs because it disrupts the electrolyte balance in your dog’s body, which can damage the lungs.
Don’t let your dog drink seawater. If he persists, remove him from the water and restrict his access.
“It’s so, so important to protect your pet from drinking lake or ocean water,” says Christina Berry of The Everyday Dog. “Of course, they WANT to get in the water and play in it, and that usually means they’ll try to drink it. But you’re better off to have fresh bottled water on hand because drinking from a lake or ocean can make your dog sick. Avoid it at all costs!”
Similarly, chlorinated pool water can make your dog sick, too. Thankfully, most pools contain low levels of chlorine, but if your dog consumes too much of it, he can experience stomach upset.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) advises that chlorinated water is safe for dogs to consume in concentrations up to 4 milligrams per liter. But, to be on the safe side, avoid letting your dog drink it and rinse your dog off with fresh water when he gets out of the pool.
Fun in the water
At the beach, you and your dog can have fun kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, and sailing. Sailing with your pet pooch is ideal as he’ll protect you while you’re out at sea while having a great time. Even if your dog can swim, consider getting a life jacket.
VetStreet advises that popular breeds, including Labradors, Portuguese Water Dogs, and Boykin Spaniels typically love sailing.
That doesn’t mean that pooches of all shapes and sizes can’t have fun at sea. There is a risk that breeds less familiar with water will become seasick from the motion of the boat. This could even happen to you, too.
Thankfully, so long as you take precautions for you and your dog, like regularly sipping on freshwater and using anti-sickness aids, the sickness will pass, and you’ll have a great time.
Identify dangerous water
Blue-green algae have hit the headlines multiple times this year due to the health risks that it poses to dogs. Otherwise known as cyanobacteria, it is most commonly found in lakes, streams, and ponds, so you should always be cautious of these locations when you’re on vacation with your pooch.
More recently, blue-green algae have been spotted at several beaches around the world, including Wisconsin in North Carolina, Rutland Water Beach in Leicestershire, and White Sandy Beach in Idaho. Because this algae is toxic to dogs and there is no antidote for the toxins, you must scour beaches for dangers before letting your dog loose.
Exiting the pool
After a busy day packed full of water-activities at the beach with Fido, you’ll likely want to spend the following day chilling out at your villa and making the most of the on-site facilities, including the pool. After all, three-quarters of people told an Associated Press survey that resting and relaxing on vacation was their biggest priority. But it’s essential to spend some time teaching and ensuring that your dog can exit the pool safely. It’s all very well seeing that he can swim effortlessly in the pool, but if he can’t get out when he’s had enough, then he’s health could be at risk. The American Kennel Club (AKC) advises guiding your dog towards the various exit points while he’s in the pool as this will prevent panic setting in if he accidentally falls in or when he wants to dry off.
Learn doggy CPR
Sadly, research shows that up to 5,000 dogs die each year from drowning. If pet owners knew and practiced pet CPR, that number could drastically be reduced. A GFK poll revealed that 63% of dog owners would attempt CPR on their pet pooch if this needed. However, to give your dog the best possible chance should the worst happen while you’re at the beach or lounging by the pool, you need to have the skills to perform pet CPR. “If people value their pets like a family member, they should know how to do CPR,” states Mark Solnick of the Red Cross Santa Monica. Thankfully, Pet CPR classes are readily available both online and in-person, so there’s no reason not to enroll in one before you hit the beach.
As a nation of dog lovers, you are more than likely one of the thousands of Americans who love vacationing with your dog by the sea. So, to keep your dog safe, learn to practice dog water safety to ensure you and your pooch can enjoy a fun and safe vacation together.