We interrupt our weekly programming with this guest post by Kaitlin Gardner on canine pool safety.
|By Prachya Singhto [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons|
It may be something most backyard pool (and pet) owners overlook, but the fact is that not all dogs are natural swimmers. Additionally, having a backyard pool does present a risk—even to animals that are comfortable in the water. But there are some easy, inexpensive ways to ensure that your pets stay safe around your pool. Here are a few links to some great ideas for blending pets and pools:
- 9 Must Read Tips to Keep Your Dog Afloat
- Keep Your Dog Safe Around the Pool this Summer
- 6 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Pool Infographics
A Few Simple Steps
For any pet that is comfortable in the water, especially many breeds of dogs, a cool pool on a hot day is a welcome sight. What’s more, getting in is easy! But keep in mind that dogs don’t necessarily know how to get out of a pool. Many pool owners have had to rescue perfectly good swimmers because their dogs insist on trying to struggle out of the pool on one of the edges, which is nearly impossible for any dog and may result in injured paws and claws.
|David Stowell [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
Before you allow your dog free access to your pool, train him as you would for any other task. With a few treats in hand, leash your dog and walk him over to the steps in the shallow end. As you both enter the water together, he will likely try to paddle without even using the first step. Still, try to get him to stand on the first step before you unhook his leash. Then let him paddle around the shallow end.
|By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
After just a moment in the water, show him the treats and call him. Stand on the pool deck so that he must exit the pool using the first step. Once he is up on the deck, give him the treat. Enter the water again with him, but this time, stay in a little longer. When it is time to exit, again, stand on the deck and show him the treats. If he begins to swim over to the edge of the pool away from the steps, get back into the water and go toward him. Show him the treats and entice him over to the steps. Exit the pool and when he follows you out of the pool using the steps, give him a treat. This will reinforce the habit of exiting the pool at the shallow end.
Cover it up
|By vastateparksstaff [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
Pool covers are another way to not only keep your pool’s heat contained, but keep unwanted critters (pets and wildlife) out of it. While solar covers that lay on the surface of the water won’t do much for keeping an animal out, they may even present further risk if the animal is caught underneath and is unable to find its way out. If you have a dog or other pets that don’t see well, it may be worth the added one-time investment in a more sturdy cover that is attached to a track on each side of the pool, which automatically covers the pool tightly and securely. Other covers that roll out may also be attached to the pool deck.
To keep unwanted animals (and people!) out of your pool with no maintenance and just a one-time expense, it may be wise to install a “play-pen” style fence around the perimeter of your pool. These fences contain the pool and pool deck (including portions of grass or flowerbeds) and can also feature a self-closing gate that shuts securely.
When choosing the height and style of your fencing, think about your dog’s habits and abilities. Small dog only? Large dog that can jump or dig? Of course, if you have small children in addition to dogs or other animals that need protecting, a five-foot fence with a secure latch is a perfect solution.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.