Most dogs are natural-born swimmers, but this does not mean that all water-based activities are automatically safe for them.  

Taking the following precautions will help to ensure that both you and your dog stay safe while enjoying summer swimming: 

1. Check the water. Warm, stagnant water is dangerous water, as it can be filled with germs that bring harmful and sometimes even fatal illnesses to both humans and canines. Water that contains blue-green algae should also be avoided as this algae is toxic for dogs and can be fatal. 

2. Bring plenty of fresh water for your dog. This may seem ridiculous considering that lake water is fresh and plentiful, but where you cannot guarantee that lake water is free from bacteria and parasites you can guarantee that fresh water from home is safe. This may save your dog from something as minor as a tummy ache or something as major as giardia. 

3. Watch for glass, metal and other sharp objects. Glass, metal and other sharp objects can cut your dog’s feet at any time, but since their paw pads are especially soft after extended time in the water it is especially important to keep an eye out for these items. 

4. Bring a first aid kit. No matter how well-prepared you feel that you and your dog may be, accidents still can happen. With a first aid kit to hand, you can quickly clean and bandage a cut paw or pull out a nasty thorn. 

5. Dry your dog’s fur and ears thoroughly. Wet fur can lead to skin issues, so it is best to thoroughly dry your dog prior to putting them in the car. Water left in your dog’s ears can lead to ear infections, so they should definitely be dried before the trip home. 

6. Check your dog’s body thoroughly from head to tail. You can wait until you arrive back home, but you should thoroughly brush out your dog’s coat and then run your hands over their entire body, checking for ticks, cuts, thorns and any other signs of trouble. 

There’s no reason you and your dog can’t enjoy summer lake swimming–as long as you take care to keep them safe. 


re-posted from Animal Medical Center