Contrary to popular belief not all dogs actually know how to swim, and tossing a dog in the water is a good way to teach him to fear the water, or possibly panic and drown.
|Here is Jack, not so sure about this whole water thing...|
Sadly yesterday my sister called me to let me know that her friend's dog had just drowned due to lack of supervision.
To prevent other people from experiencing this same tragic loss I want to remind you to please, just like with children, supervise your dog when playing in the water - even a pool.
A ramp or set of stairs is a good idea.
Certain breeds can happily play in the water all day, in fact if you have a pool they may play with themselves hopping in and out loving every minute of it. I've seen many a happy lab joyously jumping in the pool, but make sure your dog knows how to get out of the pool -
If you have puppies or small children make sure you supervise them, if you can, set up a fence around the pool to prevent accidents from happening.
I taught swimming lessons to children, private lessons for adults, and coached swim team for seven years I've heard many tragic pool accidents, a fence around your pool prevents your neighbors child from wandering accidentally into your backyard and falling in, it also prevents drunken teens from using your pool when you're gone, and it can save your dogs life.
In the case of my sister's friend, her dog was a dachshund. I don't know all the details but I do know that a fence and/or some supervision could have prevented such a tragic loss, and my heart goes out for her family.
Wear a life jacket.
You'll notice in most of our pictures Ziva wears a life jacket or vest. Ziva is not a very strong swimmer, last summer I kept a harness and a leash on her to help grab and haul her in if I needed to. We mostly play at our local rivers so I was worried about her getting caught in the current, I was hoping she'd be a better swimmer this summer but she really struggles to keep her head up.
We ended up purchasing the life jacket to help her swim and keep her warm, she's just not very well built for swimming, she has no significant amount of fat to help her float or stay warm and so she sinks.
Dante on the other hand is a very powerful dog, his swimming form looks really nice but i'm still careful with him.
Proper dog swimming form is that their back is nice and horizontal when in the water, improper form is when their are vertical - butt and hips sinking "doggy paddling" and upright.
|A great example of good doggy form!|
Living in Oregon and being surrounded by water I am always on the lookout for good swimming spot and potential dangers, we can't swim in the lakes because they usually end up with toxic algae blooms during the summer, so when we go swimming I choose places with a slow current, and where I can both see the bottom and touch.
Last week he lost his toy, it ended up being caught in the current and he refused my, "leave it!" I ended up chasing him downstream and nearly jumping in to haul him out when something caught his leg underwater and dunked him. *We won't be going back to that spot.*
|"Sorry mom! I was coming right back! I had to get my toy!"|
If you have a breed not known for its swimming ability such as a bulldog or a dachshund, please consider a life jacket. Puppies and elderly dogs would also benefit from the use of a life jacket to reduce the amount of energy they have to put into swimming. Life jackets are also great for helping to rehabilitate a dog from an injury.
Happy Not so Wordless Wednesday!