Pool and Beach Safety Tips for Pets: Part II

Protect your pets this season with our second installment of safety tips for the beach and pool!

Watch for signs of heat stroke.

Pets can easily overheat in the summer months, even while swimming. Remember to have fresh water available for your dog at all times and offer it frequently. Because swimming usually takes place during the hottest part of the day (between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.), it is important to give your dog regular breaks.

Keep a close eye on your dog and do not allow him/her to overdo it. If his/her back end sinks lower than the rest of the body while swimming, it may be a sign that your dog is tired and ready to call it a day.

Common symptoms of heat stroke include excessive or intense panting, obvious distress, weakness, a staggering or “drunken” gait, pale and/or dry gums, collapse and a rectal temperature of 105 degrees or higher. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Check the conditions.

Make sure swimming conditions are safe before heading out to the beach with your dog. Watch for unusual currents, tides, and water quality. If you are unsure, ask a lifeguard about any dangers and recommendations for the safest areas for your dog to swim. Just make sure you are visiting a dog-friendly beach first!

Consider a kiddie pool.

Pets not allowed in the pool? Try keeping your dog (or cat, if he/she likes water!) cool in the summer months with a shallow plastic pool of his/her own. These are also great for introducing young pets to water for the first time or for smaller pets who are too small to use the swimming pool steps safely.

Watch your pet’s step.

Shade and foot protection are a must when visiting the beach, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Hot sand, pavement and metal surfaces can easily burn your pet’s feet. In addition, be mindful of items that may injure paw pads, such as broken shells, glass or even discarded fish hooks. Keep in mind that these items—and more—may also be ingested.

Be sure to keep an eye on your pet’s feet at home, too. Nails can easily be worn down and paw pads can be injured on patio or pool surfaces.

Don’t get burned.

Pets with light-colored, shaved or thin coats can get sunburned. Protect them with a specially formulated pet sunscreen, but be careful not to confuse it with your own—the human variety can be toxic!

Be prepared.

Have your veterinarian’s number handy at all times in case of an emergency. Pet first aid and CPR classes may also be beneficial (Pet Tech and American Red Cross are two great local resources).

Keep in mind, however, that first aid measures should never replace professional medical attention. Remember, the most important thing you can do in an emergency is to seek immediate veterinary care.


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