Let’s Talk Doggy Paddle!

As the weather finally heats up, we are starting to think of ways to help our canine companions beat the heat. Swimming can be a great way to kept dogs cool through the summer months, as well as keep them in great athletic shape! Here are a few things to consider if you are going to let Fido make a splash.

Safety First

There are several safety considerations to keep in mind with swimming. Firstly, the depth and current of the body of water – be familiar with the environment you are letting your pooch explore. You never know when there could be a sudden drop off point or if there is a wicked undertow. It is also important to know your pet’s swimming ability and endurance. Know when it is time to take a break. Know when your pet is venturing too far for his abilities.

Also, consider your pet’s visibility. Will you be able to see him if he goes too far? Are there boats that need to see him? There are many options for pet life vests that will not only help your dog to stay afloat, but to ensure he is visible to you, other swimmers and boaters. Dogs should always be directly supervised while in the water.

Health Considerations

Although swimming is a great form of exercise for our dogs, there can be negative health effects observed if proper precautions are not taken. Often, we see dogs who have very sensitive skin after swimming in a lake or pond. This can appear in the form of hives, redness, itchiness, or a combination there of. This can sometimes be avoided by ensuring you thoroughly rinse your dog off after an adventure at the lake. If rinsing doesn’t help, seek advice from your veterinarian.

Another health concern that some dogs will experience after swimming are ear infections. This occurs due to excess moisture being trapped in the ear. Infectious agents, such as bacteria and yeast, love a warm, moist environment – making a wet ear the ideal home for such creatures. This can be avoided by cleaning the ears after swimming using a drying cleaner. If a good clean does not help, book in to see your veterinarian!

Have more questions about the do’s and don’ts of doggy swimming this summer? Contact your veterinary health team today!

Written by Jessica Sirovyak, RAHT