Taking your dog out around a lake or reservoir is a lovely treat for the both of you, especially as the weather is warming up. At PetSafe® we want to ensure all our pups are happy and healthy, so we bring you our best practices for those times when your dog just can’t resist a swim!
Some breeds enjoy the water more than others such as Newfoundland’s, Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels, however it also depends on their experience with water. Some dogs are initially nervous around water and need reassurance, taking them along to hydrotherapy classes will help them develop the feeling and their confidence around water. Never force dogs into the water as this is more likely to make them scared of water possibly for all of their life.
Some will benefit from wearing a life jacket and this will provide you with peace of mind. Start slowly and introduce your pup to shallow water that covers their feet to get them used to the feeling. Slowly you will find they become confident enough to jump in without the jacket, it can take anything from weeks to months.
Once you’re confident you can take them somewhere with large bodies of water it’s important to ensure you’re adhering to any Public Space Protection Orders. These will should be clearly signposted to walkers that dogs must be kept on a lead, under control from entering certain areas such as farmlands and cleaned up after. The penalties for not following these Orders can be a £100 on the spot fine (in the UK).
If you’re certain the water is available to swim in, the next thing to look out for is any health or safety issues. Any particularly dirty water should be avoided for a thirsty dog, so make sure you have a clean source of water available if your pup is looking tempted by a murky looking pond. In public areas, a quick scan of the surroundings will be able to tell you of any safety concerns. In the summer toxic blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) can grow on the surface of water and this is extremely poisonous to dogs. Authorities will normally place notices about the hazard of blue-green algae when they are aware of it.
A lot of public beaches allow dogs on leads however some don’t allow them at all, so make sure you check restrictions before you set off. The off-season usually sees a relaxed rule for dogs when they are less busy, whenever you decide to visit make sure to clean up any mess, to keep the privilege available to all dog owners.
If you don’t have any dog-friendly lakes or beaches available, there are many other options to get your dog cooled off in the warm summer months. An inflatable paddling pool, a skip full of water or a dog-specific plastic pool will keep your pooch entertained and splashing happily!