Summer is a great time to get your pet involved in family activities. The extended daylight hours mean more time for fishing, boating and playing on the beach. Whether you are going to the seaside, a river or just staying at home by the pool, these water safety tips will help you and your pet enjoy the summer.
Keeping your pet safe by the water can take some planning. If you are going away, it’s a good idea to do any necessary training of your pet before you leave. Make sure your dog can swim. Whilst some breeds are instinctively comfortable in the water, breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Corgis and Greyhounds can find it really difficult. Other breeds (such as Maltese), enjoy the water but are susceptible to arthritis and chills. Knowing your dog’s breed will help you decide what safety issues to address before you leave. It’s a good idea to consult your vet too, as they will have useful advice specific for your pet.
If your holiday spot is by a river, lake, ocean or swimming pool, there are a number of safety aspects to consider. Rivers and lakes often look safe because the water is calm, however stagnant water can carry serious diseases or be susceptible to blue-green algae. Lakes and pools are often chemically treated to a level that’s safe for humans, but unsafe for pets. The most important thing is that you know the area and its dangers. Vets in the local area should be able to advise of any danger zones.
If you are taking your dog on a boat this summer, your dog’s temperament and physical condition will for the large part dictate the success of the trip. A very nervous dog may not enjoy the high speeds of a jet boat; an old dog may tire easily in the water and a dog with a tendency to get overly excited may jump overboard unexpectedly. Knowing your dog’s limits will you help you prepare safely for the trip.
By following the safety advice above, you are in good stead to keep your pet safe by the water. However it is recommended you have a safety plan ready in the unlikely case of an emergency. Carry information of a local/ emergency vet so they are easily contactable when you need them. You should also be aware of CPR and how to use it on your pet.
As for a human emergency, the DRSABC principles provide the foundation of pet first aid.
D - Danger. Make sure it is safe to approach your pet. Use a blanket/ towel to handle cats or a makeshift muzzle for larger dogs.
R - Response. Determine if your pet is conscious and look for any signs of movement.
S - Send for help. Ask another person to call the local vet while you assist your pet.
A - Airway. Only check the airway if your pet is unconscious. Pull the tongue out of the mouth and look for any obstructions.
B - Breathing. Watch the chest to see if it is rising and falling. If your pet is not breathing administer two breaths.
C - Compressions. After two breaths if no signs of life, commence CPR.