Pets and Drowning

Take Preventive Measures to Protect Your Pet

Dog stands in the ocean

Summer is here, and that means pool parties and days spent at the beach. While we all want to enjoy the warm weather with our friends, families and pets, we need to be aware of the very real danger of pet drowning.

It’s estimated that thousands of family pets die in drowning incidents each year, though real numbers are not known, because most incidents go unreported.

However, these tragedies are largely avoidable if precautions are taken. Best of all, implementing safety procedures is not a difficult task. “Most preventive measures are common sense,” says Dr. David W. Reinhard, a consulting veterinarian for Nationwide pet insurance.

Pool Safety Tips for Pets

There are some basics rules you can follow to prevent tragedy when pets are around the family pool. First, your pet should always be taught where the steps in the pool are located, in case he falls in or gets in trouble while swimming, Dr. Reinhard says.

Even pets that are experienced swimmers can sometimes panic if they accidentally fall in the pool. Pets that are too small to use steps should not be allowed in the pool.

Here are some other helpful strategies for keeping your pet safe:

Man and Labrador retriever in a pool
  • A fence should be installed around the pool.
  • Install a pet-safe ladder in the pool so your pet has easy exit access.
  • Pets should not be allowed around the pool without supervision.
  • Pool covers are NOT a form of protection. Covers can be deceptive to pets, as they look like a solid surface but can give out and lead to a tragedy.
  • Familiarize your pet with water at a young age; don’t assume he can swim.
  • Consider purchasing a pool alarm system. These float in the pool and go off when there is a disturbance in the water.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if a near-drowning or water injury occurs.

Water Safety Away from Home

If you’re heading out for a day at the beach or lake, there are other precautions that should be taken.

“There are differences between moving water on rivers versus the ocean versus a backyard pool,” says Dr. Tina Swan, a veterinarian who specializes in emergency care. Dr. Swan suggests pet life jackets for these situations. The life jackets should be worn even if a pet is simply near a body of fast-moving water.

Dog wears a life jacket

If you’re taking your pet to the beach for the first time, keep him on a leash while he’s near the water. Once he becomes familiar with the ocean, follow the leash rules as posted on the beach. Most beaches (and dog parks) require dogs to be off leash in order to prevent aggressive and territorial behavior.

In addition, concerned pet owners can enroll in a pet CPR class to learn how to act quickly to help save their pet’s life should an accident occur. Your veterinary clinic should be able to provide you with CPR class information.

Summer Fun for Pets

Many pets do enjoy the water, and some are even natural swimmers. It is easy to have an enjoyable experience around a pool or lake with your pet. Implementing the simple safety measures listed above will ensure that your summer experience in a fantastic one.