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Trupanion Summer Safety Series: Pool Safety for Pets!

A few weeks ago we kicked off the Trupanion Summer Safety Series by discussing Beach Safety for Pets.

Today, we want to continue that series by discussing Pool Safety for Pets! Although we have discussed pool safety a few times on the blog so far, I am always looking for new insights and tips for keepings our pets safe. Therefore, we are relying on the wonderful Dr. Sarah Nold, DVM & the Trupanion team to share with us their insights to help make the pool a safer place for our pets! Below you will see our Q&A:

1) Pools can be a great way to keep pets cool in the summer, but what precautions can pet parents with backyard pools take to keep their pets safe?

Make sure your pet doesn’t have access to your pool unless they are supervised, especially if your pool does not allow your pet to easily get out of the pool on their own.  If you don’t know if your pet swims well or are concerned they are a poor swimmer, consider having your pet wear a life jacket while in the pool.

If it’s their first time with a pool,  let your pet approach the water at their own pace. Swimming can be intimidating to some dogs—especially when their paws can’t touch the floor. Don’t force your dog into the water—instead start at the shallow end and create plenty of positive experiences.

Rooney wears a lifejacket while in the pool. He usually knows where the stairs are or can pick up on that quickly, but much of the time Rooney is trying to keep up with dogs that are naturally much stronger swimmers. (I think Rooney thinks his legs are much longer than they actually are.) To prevent him from becoming exhausted or panicked, I keep a lifejacket on him.

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2) Are there any common pool toys that can be particularly dangerous for pets?

Soft pool covers are dangerous, as a pet can easily become trapped and drown. Avoid toys that are small enough for your pet to swallow or have small parts that can come off.

We do not have a pool, but if I did I would make sure it had a fence around it to add an additional layer of safety for Rooney. As of now, Rooney gets to swim with one of his friends at a nearby pool. As far as pool toys go, Rooney and I are big fans of PrideBites toys because they can float in the pool, and are machine washable.

3) Swimming can be a great physical therapy activity for dogs with joint injuries, are there any specific activities or exercises pet parents can do with their pets in the pool?

Many dogs enjoy retrieving their favorite toy (preferably one that floats).

Why is swimming such a great exercise for dogs? As outlined by the Water4Dogs Canine Rehabilitation Center in New York, hydrotherapy is aerobic, but low impact on the joints and bones. Due to the low impact, the aerobic component, and the resistance from the water, swimming is an ideal exercise for keeping your dog in shape.

As you mentioned, swimming is a great low-impact exercise. If your dog is a hesitant swimmer, you can encourage them to walk through shallow water. This alternative provides some of the same low-impact exercise benefits as swimming and can be a great option for older dogs or dogs who aren’t as confident in the water.

Additionally, for Corgis, swimming is a great exercise for building muscles that support their back while keeping the exercise low impact.

4) At Trupanion what kinds of claims are commonly associated with pools?

This is very similar to the beach-related claims. Dehydration and heat stroke are always a concern on hot days. Pets, just like humans, need plenty of water and a place in the shade to cool down.

For dogs like Rooney who have a fear of missing out (FOMO). It’s difficult to get him to take a break while other dogs are playing in the pool. I know that swimming is much more challenging for him than a Lab, for example, so I have to schedule breaks when he is swimming. Last week, Rooney was swimming with his friend Grayson who is a Cattle Dog Border Collie Mix, who swims every day. Rooney wouldn’t rest while Grayson was still swimming, so I did have to take him for a leisurely walk so that he could use the bathroom, and take a much needed break from swimming.

Does your dog like to swim? What precautions do you take to help keep your dog safe around the pool?

Stay tuned for the next installment in the Trupanion Summer Safety Series: Car & Travel Safety

Disclaimer: Trupanion is the pet insurance that we have for Rooney. My Kid Has Paws is working with Trupanion to provide pet parents with valuable information to help keep their pets safe. Also, I am a PrideBites affiliate. However, My Kid Has Paws only shares information we think our readers would find to be valuable. 

Swimming Pool Safety for Pets

Swimming Pool Safety for Pets

Today, I would like to welcome guest blogger Kaitlin Gardner. Kaitlin is owner and creator of An Apple Per Day, where she discusses healthy and green living.

We all know a healthy life includes a life with pets, so today she is here to discuss her tips regarding swimming pool safety for pets. Enjoy!

A friend just bought her new dream home. It has all the features she wanted, including a beautiful back yard swimming pool. She planed to have lots of fun times there with her family. But she remembered to factor in the pets when she consider pool safety. Here are some ideas about keeping that pool safe for the pets.

Do a swim check. Don’t just assume your dogs can swim – not all dogs are good swimmers. Take your pets out to the pool and let them go in the water, then watch carefully. Make sure they can swim comfortably, and at ease navigating around the water. Especially as dogs get older, they become weaker and might have trouble swimming. Once you have determined that they can swim safely, you’ve gone a long way to providing a safe pool environment. Here are some more great articles with additional details:

How To Keep Pets Safe Around a Pool
Safety Pool Covers Prevent Pet Loss
Your Dogs and Pool Safety

Show them the way out. A set of steps at one end of the pool might not be easily to spot for a dog in the water. Consider putting large potted plants on either side of the steps, to clearly mark the exit. While the dogs are in the water, call them out, while standing next to the steps. Do this several times until the message becomes clear that this is how they will get out of the pool. When they are back in the water, stand next to the back door of the house, and call the dogs to you. If they swim right to the steps and come to you, that’s great – they can find the exit.

Install a pool ramp. Sometimes if the dogs are older, they may need a little additional assistance getting out of the pool. Pet ramps are constructed to assure the pet an easy way out of the pool, and are easily visible if the pet is in the water.

Get a pool cover. You don’t want to have a pool, and have to keep the dogs inside where they can’t enjoy the back yard. More importantly, you want the dogs to be safe while they are in the yard. In addition, if a neighborhood dog ever found its way into your yard, they are not exposed to a potential hazard. The type of cover is important. A floating cover is not recommended for pet owners – a dog could mistake it for a solid surface, run onto it, get entangled and be in real trouble. A mesh cover allows the pool to breathe and doesn’t collect rain water on top of it, but a dog could become caught in the mesh and panic. A solid cover is the best choice – they attach to the sides of the pool, and are rated to hold up to 4,000 pounds, so they can easily stand even the weight of a big dog. Deploy it when you aren’t using the pool, and there’s another layer of safety for the pets.

Provide drinking water. Make sure there is a big bowl of water in the shade near the pool. Call your dogs out of the water and have them get a drink, which cuts down on the likelihood that the dogs will drink pool water. It also assures that they will stay well hydrated – it’s hot and humid on summer days, and while playing in the water, the dogs will build a big thirst. Once the dogs are conditioned to use that water bowl, they will be more likely to drink from it regularly.

Sit back in the shade and smile, as you watch the kids and the dogs splashing around in your new pool, knowing you’ve provided a safe place for them to have fun.

Kaitlin

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

I want to thank Kaitlin for taking the time to write this excellent post on dog safety.

Do your dogs like to swim? What precautions do you take to keep them safe?

It’s Warming Up, So Let’s Talk Pool Safety!

I don’t know about your dog, but Rooney loves to swim!

He loves it so much he will willing jump into a pool with or without me in the yard.

For that reason, I need to take important precautions with Rooney and pools.

First, I think it is important to understand what traits make certain dogs really great swimmers. 

1) Webbed Feet: Labrador Retrievers and a handful of other dog breeds have webbed feet which help them swim for obvious reasons.

2) Tails: The Labrador Retriever’s powerful tail also serves as a propeller in the water. Its back and forth motion helps push them forward.

3) Buoyancy: Just like with humans, muscle is more dense. Therefore, a very muscular dog, like a Pit Bull will have less buoyancy, and may need to work a bit harder to tread water.  Also, breeds who are “top heavy”, with big heads and deep chests will have a harder time swimming.

4) Long Legs: Every dog paddle is not equal. Longer legs will help dogs get further with each paddle, so short legged dogs like Rooney, don’t have much going for them here.

5) Non-brachycephalic skull: Brachycephalic, or “pushed-face”, dogs have a difficult time breathing in general, but this especially becomes true while they are swimming. Think about it…when you swim, what is the most important thing to keep yourself swimming and moving through the water? Your breathing. The same holds true for dogs in this case.

If your dog has many, or all, of the traits listed above, then you may not have concerns about them swimming, or the length of time in which they swim.

Other than being non-brachycephalic, there is nothing on that list that Rooney has going for him, so I and other parents like myself need to be diligent with our pool safety.

MKHPPOOL

PetMD has the following 5 recommendations for Pet Pool Safety:

1) Teach Your Dog How to Swim: Help your pet become familiar with your pool, or any other pool where they will be spending time. Make sure they know where the stairs are, and have them practice finding all the appropriate pool exits.

2) Purchase a Life Vest: Rooney has one so that he can keep up with his friends at lakes and pool parties. It also helps bring me peace of mind.

3) Take Care of Older Dogs: If your pets are getting up there in age, you will want to make sure they have a clear path to travel in the yard that is far from your pool. If they have seizures or wobbly legs, be sure to keep them away from the pool whenever you can’t be there.

4) Learn Dog CPR: At BlogPaws I was able to take a brief session on the basics and importance of pet CPR, and if you are not already trained in CPR, you definitely should be! Speak with your veterinarian to see if they have any recommendations as to local places to become CPR certified. You never want to use it, but you always want to be prepared.

5) Fence Your Pool: One of the safest things you can do for your pet (and your children) is to fence you pool.

Most importantly, if you think your pet will go in the water when you aren’t looking, don’t leave them unattended by the pool. Unfortunately, I have seen the results of senior and small pets falling in the pool when no one is home, and it was so incredibly heartbreaking.

Therefore, I plead you to take precautions with pool safety this summer!

Trupanion Summer Safety Series: Beach Safety for Pets

The summer can be a fun and exciting time, but summer activities can bring new surprises for your pet. Therefore, today launches our Summer Safety Series with Trupanion! In this series we will cover Beach Safety, Pool Safety, Car & Travel Safety and Summer Activity Safety. 

A few years ago, my husband and I took Rooney to the beach in Pacifica. It was a beautiful day and the weather was a welcomed retreat from the typical August summer heat. As we were walking with Rooney, enjoying the sand and taking in the waves, I kept my eyes on the birds in the distance waiting for Rooney to notice (and chase) them. Additionally, I was trying to be vigilant not to let Rooney anywhere near the numerous jellyfish that paint the Northern California beaches. Despite the dangers that lurk at the beach, the beautiful views and the built-in doggy exercise make it an excellent location to frequent during the summer months. Which is why I want to kick off our Trupanion Summer Safety Series discussing Beach Safety!

Trupanion Summer Safety Series: Beach Safety for Pets

Last year, we discussed 5 Surprising Beach Dangers, but this year, I wanted to get some additional input from Dr. Sarah Nold, DVM & the Trupanion team:

1) What are your top safety tips for pet parents who frequent the beach in the summer?

Make sure you rinse off your pet with fresh water after going to the beach, to minimize irritation of their skin.  Try to avoid areas of the beach that attract sand fleas. Beaches that are open to pets often also can put you and your pet at risk for acquiring intestinal parasites, such as hookworms. For this reason, pet owners should wear foot protection (shoes or sandals) and their pet should be regularly dewormed. Make sure your pet is always supervised, as many things that wash up on the beach should not be ingested.

Due to our beach experience described above, I usually keep Rooney on a leash at the beach, especially if there are no dogs to play with (that leaves more time for Rooney to look for mischief). Rinsing off your pet after they play at the beach is a great idea that I haven’t considered in the past. Since Rooney has sensitive skin and allergies, I will be sure to rinse Rooney off on future beach trips.

2) At Trupanion what kinds of claims are commonly associated with trips to the beach?

Dehydration and heat stroke can be associated with trips to the beach, especially if your pet tries to drink the salty water. Trupanion has also seen some beach-specific claims, such as sunburns and burnt paws from the hot sand.

The data definitely speaks for itself here. Be sure to keep your pet hydrated and give them an opportunity and area to cool off. The best item that helps me keep Rooney hydrated during outings is the Gulpy.

 

Trupanion Summer Safety Series: Beach Safety for Pets

In addition to the amazing tips from Dr. Nold, here are a few additional reasons to keep your dog on leash at the beach:

Watch Out for the Seashells

Trupanion has seen several claims associated with injuries sustained while running along the beach. Beach related injuries include, cuts on the paw pads from seashells, and sprains and ligament tears from running on uneven sand.

Wildlife

In addition to the obvious threats from jellyfish, Trupanion has seen claims where pets have had run-ins with otters and birds. So, keep your eyes out for the wildlife!

Lastly, make sure your pet is ready for the beach…

If you aren’t visiting the beach often, your pet might be completely overwhelmed when you arrive at the beach. Ideally, you would visit the beach for the first time on a less-crowded day of the week possibly early in the morning so that your dog can get used to their surroundings. Additionally, make sure your dog knows some basic commands and is socialized before visiting a more popular beach. They should be able to greet strangers, new dogs, and most importantly know the command “leave it”.

Will your pet be visiting the beach this summer? Stay tuned for some Pool Safety Tips next Thursday!

The summer can be a fun and exciting time, but summer activities can bring new surprises for your pet. Therefore, today launches our Summer Safety Series with Trupanion! In this series we will cover Beach Safety, Pool Safety, Car & Travel Safety and Summer Activity Safety. 

P.S. I know Rooney is off-leash in the first photo but that was specifically for the photoshoot. We were the only people on the beach and I had a lot of treats in my pocket. 🙂 I almost always keep Rooney on a leash at the beach. Photo Credit: Pawpawrazzi Pet Photography

Summer Time Travel and Activities with Petcurean

Now that it’s officially summer, we will spend the next few weeks discussing summer travel tips, safety tips, activities and recipes that are perfect for spending time with the pets in your life!

Therefore, today we partnered with Petcurean to share with you some dog-friendly summer trips and activities!

In their post, “Summer Vacations Can Include the Family Pet”, Petcurean highlighted a few of their favorite summer activities.

Camping

Camping was the first activity to make the summer vacations list for Petcurean! This is what they had to say:

“There are thousands of campgrounds across the US and Canada and most of them welcome your well behaved leashed pet. Dogs love the adventure of investigating all the smells that abound in the natural world, but please be careful to respect the rules and don’t let your dog disturb sensitive areas like salmon spawning streams or delicate native vegetation.”

I would add that pet parents should take extra precautions when it comes to protecting their pets from wildlife. In California, we have to be vigilant about protecting our campgrounds from bears (I’ve seen one in person!) and mountain lions. Additionally, with small dogs, pet parents need to be aware of the large birds in the area that can pick up their dog. The best thing you can do on a camping trip is keep your dog on leash.

Road Trip Activities

Last year we took a dog-friendly Southwest road trip with Rooney and it was so much fun! Petcurean suggests looking up off-leash dog parks along your route, so that your dog has pre-planned locations to stretch their legs on a road trip. I totally agree. Sometimes its difficult even for me to sit in the car for long periods of time without feeling antsy, so planned breaks for dogs are super important. While we didn’t have any dog parks scheduled along our route for the Southwest road trip, we did designate stops for dog beaches along the way.

Hotels and Resorts

Just because your trip isn’t pet-focused, it doesn’t mean that your dog can’t be a part of the family vacation. This is what Petcurean had to say:

“More and more hotels and resorts are catering to pet owners. Some even offer extras like beds, blankets and treats. Be prepared to pay a nightly pet fee which will differ from place to place, and be careful to leave your room tidy and as hair-free as possible. If your pet is a bed dweller, bring along a clean old extra sheet or blanket and put it on top of the bed to protect it from excess hair and possible muddy or wet pawprints, (or drool!).”

Additionally, some hotels, like Red Roof Inn have a policy that pets stay for free!

Vacation Rentals & Airbnb

These days with Airbnb, pet parents are able to look for pet-friendly alternatives for their upcoming vacations and don’t have to settle for non-pet-friendly rentals. You can now rent chic pet-friendly homes for your next vacation!

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As far as pet-friendly activities go, pet parents have a long list from which to choose from, including:

Hiking

Hiking is one of my favorite activities to do with Rooney. If you aren’t sure what to bring, check out our post where we talk about everything you need for a day on the hill with your dog.

Kayaking

I have been talking about this for 2 years and I think this is the summer we will go kayaking with Rooney!

SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard)

If you are a fitness enthusiast, you will really appreciate this activity. While I have SUP’d on my own, I have not had a chance to take Rooney with me. However, if you want to learn more about SUP-ing with your dog, I highly recommend checking out Leash Your Fitness.

Yappy Hours

I don’t know about you, but Yappy Hours with dogs are becoming increasing popular in this area, which is awesome! These activities are a great way to enjoy the cooler evening hours with your dog and a few friends. If your dog is high energy like Rooney, I highly recommend walking them to the location, or taking them to a dog park first so that they don’t feel too energized in the restaurant.

Winery and Brewery Visits

In addition to Yappy Hours, dog-friendly wineries and breweries are also becoming more popular. If you are on the west coast and looking for dog-friendly wineries or breweries, I highly recommend DogTrekker as a resource. Also, I know this might seem random because I live in California, but if you live in Minnesota, check out Sidewalk Dog! Sidewalk dog is a great local resource for dog-friendly locations and activities.

Pool Parties

Lots of doggie Meetup groups and communities organize pool parties in the summer to provide pets with an opportunity to swim and cool off. Rooney is a big fan of any activity involving swimming!

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So, that’s our list! What pet-friendly summer trips or activities do you look forward to? Have you stayed in a pet-friendly Airbnb? Or have you taken your dog on a road trip? Tell us about it and enter our giveaway!

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