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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!

Should You Adopt a Corgi? Adopt A Shelter Pet Month with Petcurean

As many of you know, my husband and I adopted Rooney almost 6 years ago from a Northern California Corgi rescue, and he has brought SO MUCH joy to our lives every day since then. Today, in honor of Adopt a Shelter Pet Month, I would like to discuss if you are ready to adopt a Corgi.

Recently, we had a chance to attend CorgiCon, which is a very large gathering of Corgis in the community at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue, which is a Corgi specific rescue in California, had an owner surrender at the event. This post from QBSDR really resonated with me because lately I have been thinking about the recent popularity of Corgis and the number of people who are likely ill-prepared to have a Corgi. You might be thinking, “Rachel, why are you telling people they are ill-prepared, if you are trying to get people to adopt Corgis?”. Great question! It’s because those people who have purchased a Corgi and are ill-prepared, might give them up for health reasons (see below), and those Corgis are going to need AMAZING forever homes. Forever homes require a certain amount of preparedness and research. So, let’s outline the things you need to consider before adopting a Corgi.

Happy #FindAFriendFriday everyone. This isn’t going to be your usual, happy-go-lucky Friday post…prepare to have some information dropped on you. This little baby is Cheddar Bay Biscuit, a 15wk old Pembroke. He came to us last week, given up for Juvenile Hereditary Cataracts. Before y’all start getting all puppy drunk, exclaiming “I want to adopt him!”, he’s not available for adoption yet – he still needs to finish his vaccinations, get microchipped, neutered, and be seen by an ophthalmologist. I know, he’s cute, he’s so young, and everyone wants a puppy. Now take a moment and ask yourself: 1. Why was he given up? 2. Would you be prepared to take on the reason he was given up? 3. Where did he come from? 4. Was he responsibly and ethically bred? 5. Did his breeder test for Degenerative Myelpathy (DM), von Willebrand disease (vWB), eye disorders, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cardiac issues? Have they had cases of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)? 6. Did the sire (dad) and dam (mom) have their OFA certificates, indicating a clear screening and evaluation from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals? 7. Does he come from a lineage of sound temperament and structure? 8. Did the breeder microchip him? 9. Why do any of these questions even matter? I just want a corgi puppy! Y’all know, we will ALWAYS advocate for adoption first, but we also respect that corgis are purebred dogs that exist because of breeders. That being said, if you’re going to get a dog from a breeder, KNOW WHERE THEY COME FROM. With the rising popularity of corgis and the increasing desire for puppies, there are plenty of breeders, backyard breeders, puppy mills, and non breeders who want to “have just one litter” or “keep just one puppy” and have the rest to sell, that are willing to meet the supply and demand. Let’s not forget the puppy slingers/flippers/brokers out there. Never heard of them? Well you’re about to. 1. Why was he given up? A: Cheddar was given up because “they already had two dogs and couldn’t keep a third one.” That’s the reason the flippers gave. The real reason: they never intended on a third dog, especially one that might go blind.

A post shared by QBSDR (@queensbeststumpydogrescue) on

Herding Breeds & Behavior

I am putting this as the number one thing you should consider because adopting a herding breed is not the same as adopting a non-herding breed. (I think I just heard a bunch of dog parents nod their heads in agreement!).

While Rooney is outgoing and wonderful, he also needs a lot of exercise, training, and mental stimulation. I love every quirk in Rooney’s personality (it reminds me of mine), but not everyone finds him as charming as I do.

Should You Adopt a Corgi? Adopt A Shelter Pet Month with Petcurean

Herding breeds are meant to work. If you don’t give them the mental stimulation and exercise they need, they might end up taking it out on your furniture, or your shoes, or other expensive items in your home.

However, if you are looking for a sturdy dog to keep you company on your hikes and other outdoor activities, then a Corgi might be the right dog for you. Additionally, if you don’t mind seeking out training classes, you may have found your breed.

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Don’t believe me? Here is what the AKC has to say:

Pembroke

  • Personality: Smart and alert, affectionate but not pushy, bold but kindly.
  • Energy Level: Very Active; A strong and athletic little dog, the Pembroke loves physical activity and is happiest when he has a job to do.
  • Trainability: Responds Well
  • Barking Level: Barks When Necessary

Cardigan

  • Personality: Loyal, affectionate, and smart; even-tempered, never shy
  • Energy Level: Very Active; Athletic, rugged herders with a love for the outdoors, Cardigans thrive on mental and physical activity
  • Trainability: Responds Well
  • Barking Level: Barks When Necessary

Genetic Diseases and Common Injuries

Unfortunately, Corgis are prone to a certain number of aliments mostly having to do with their back. I was highly aware of the risks and costs associated with a slipped disc and subsequent back surgery when we adopted Rooney, therefore, I purchased pet insurance.

Rooney slipped a disc in his back in 2014, and fortunately, he didn’t need surgery and only had to spend one night in the emergency room. However, it is likely we haven’t seen the end of Rooney’s back injuries. While we do everything we can to keep him lean and healthy, we know that another slipped disc is a possibility. If you are considering adopting a Corgi, I HIGHLY recommend pet insurance. If you have any specific pet insurance questions, I am happy to answer and share my experience, feel free to email me at mykidhaspawsblog@gmail.com.

Pembroke

While the AKC didn’t explicitly state any diseases associated with Pembroke Welsh Corgis, I can say from personal and professional experience that all Corgi parents should know what the symptoms of a back injury and degenerative myelopathy look like.

Cardigan

According to the AKC, here are some of the specific health concerns associated with the Cardigan Welsh Corgi:

  • Hip Dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joints that causes arthritis and pain
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which causes blindness
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Lifestyle Alignment

This one is easy…

…can you deal with shedding?

If your answer is no, please consider adopting another breed.

Okay, okay…I’m sort of joking, but seriously, Corgis shed all the time.

If you are considering any breed, you definitely want to discuss things like shedding, drool, and how you want their tiny little legs to weave into the fabric of your life. Will they sleep on the couch? Will they be around kids? Do you have cats?

While the two sections above are more specific to the Corgi breeds, this section is really about finding the right individual dog for you and your lifestyle. Take your time and think about the things you are willing to compromise on, as well as the characteristics that mean the most to you. One of the best things about adopting a dog is that their personalities are already developed and the rescues and shelters usually have some insight into their behavior.

For example, when we adopted Rooney I had never had a dog who liked to swim. When I asked the rescue group they weren’t sure if he did like to swim or not, so I just had to wait until that summer to find out. I wish you all could have seen the look on my face when Rooney waded straight into the lake one summer and took off swimming, I was so happy! Now, Rooney goes swimming with me whenever I get the chance to swim in a dog-friendly pool, and we have had the opportunity to visit a few lakes and oceans for swims as well.

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Family Preparedness

This is something I can’t stress enough. How ready is your family for a dog?

Has everyone in your family had a chance to voice their concerns and requests?

Having the whole family involved is definitely a key to success for helping a dog find their forever home with your family. If you aren’t sure if your family is ready, I highly recommend pet sitting and/or fostering a dog to see if your family members are ready for the responsibility and adjustments.

I would love to hear from other Corgi parents how your Corgi came into your life and if there is anything I forgot to include.

Petcurean would like to provide a Giveaway to celebrate Adopt A Shelter Pet Month! Tell us the story of your rescued or adopted pet in the comments below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I am a Petcurean blogger. I was provided with food and compensation so that Rooney and I could provide our honest opinion. However, Petcurean is the food we feed Rooney every day. I am also a Chewy.com influencer. My Kid Has Paws only shares reviews we believe benefit our readers.

Photos of Rooney: Pawpawrazzi Pet Photography

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

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