Dear Porky & Buddy,
Yeah! Summer is almost here and this year I am finally having an in-ground pool installed. I can hardly wait, but I do have one question. My poodle, Rover, has never been around a pool before. I don’t even know whether he can swim. But he is sort of a doofus and I am concerned that he might just lumber in to follow me. Do you have any tips to keep him safe?
Think of Rover as a toddler who will never grow up and get all sarcastic and for whom you will never have to pay tuition. Pool safety measures for pets are very similar to those for children. First and foremost, of course, there is the need for supervision .Rover should not be around the pool when you are not there, period. But with pets and kids, you can never assume that you can watch them all the time. It only takes a few minutes of distraction for either one to fly out the door and into the pool.
So you need some built in layers of protection that will supplement (and sometimes replace) your eyes and ears.
First you will need a good fence that you will have to actually use. Your town probably requires that anyway. This is your first and best line of defense. There are many quality pool fences on the market. Once installed, keep it closed at all times, even if you leave the pool area to go inside for a few minutes. The fence should have a self-closing, self-locking gate.
Second, keep doors leading to the pool area securely closed. Many dogs and cats (and kids) can nose open doors, so make sure there is no gap between the door jam or sliding glass door runner and the door itself.
Third, buy and use a floating pool alarm device. These float in your pool and go off if the surface of the pool is disturbed. You should have it designed so the alarm sounds both outside and inside your house.
With all those precautions in place, pools can be great fun for your pet. Although not all dogs are fond of water, they should be exposed to it for their own safety. With some simple training and safety devices, you can ease your mind and protect Rover this summer.
Give him a gradual introduction into the pool by holding him snugly and slowly walking into
the water. Let him get wet a little at a time and eventually let him swim out on his own and back to the exit. Make it a positive experience with lots of encouragement and praise. Rover is a poodle and probably a natural swimmer, but breeds and individual dogs are different. If it
turns out that he would rather hang out on a deck chair and watch you do laps, so be it.
But if he does become a swimming enthusiast, here are just a few other issues you should consider:
Heat and sunlight are more intense around a pool. Rover cannot keep as
cool as you, so watch for signs of overheating. Don’t let Rover drink
from the pool; the chlorine will make him sick.
Chlorinated water may also irritate Rover’s eyes. When the two of you
are finished playing in the pool, hose Rover down with fresh water to
get the chlorine out.
By the same token, be mindful of your water chemistry. Green algae is
not only ugly, it can be toxic, so that is another reason to discourage
him from drinking out of the pool. Make sure he has his own fresh water
by the pool instead – right next to the pitcher of margaritas.
And have fun!
Speaking of having fun, how about adopting a new pet for the summer?
You can see all of the Oswego County Humane Society’s pets for adoption at www.oswegohumane.org
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265
West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070.
Because people and pets are good for each other!