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Water Safety Tips for Dog Owners

Swimming can be a lot of fun for the right dog, and it doubles as great exercise! Before you go for a dip, though, remember these tips from a Richmond veterinary professional.

Can Your Dog Swim?

It’s a common misconception that all dogs are naturally great swimmers. The athletic retriever breeds will do well in water, but short-legged, stubby dogs might not be able to swim at all! Check with your veterinarian to see if your particular pet is a good candidate for the pool or lake before you go diving in.

Remain with Dog

Whether or not your dog is a seasoned swimmer, it’s a good idea to stay right with them the entire time they’re in the water. Monitor your dog closely while he’s swimming and offer support if necessary. Remember not to let your dog out of your sight if you’re swimming in a public body of water!

Don’t Drink the Water

Dogs may get thirsty while they’re swimming, and to them, they’re already immersed in a large drink. Drinking too much chlorinated pool water or salty lake water isn’t good for your dog, though. Restrict your dog from drinking the water, and remove him if you see him swallowing too much.

Try Floatation Devices

Doggie floatation devices, available at many pet supply stores and vet’s offices, can work well to introduce dogs to the water if they haven’t had prior experience. They’re even helpful for dogs who are strong swimmers—even they can get tired, and it’s nice to have a floatation device for those moments. Ask your vet for a recommendation.

Rinse Coat Off

Once your dog is out of the water, be sure to rinse out the coat with clean, fresh water. Leaving chlorinated water or the salt of public lakes in your dog’s fur will dry out and irritate the skin. Dry your pooch off with a large, soft towel.

Ask your Richmond veterinarian for more great water safety tips, and have fun in the water with your dog this summer!

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