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Whenever dogs fall in a pool, they always seem to be able to swim even though they have never had lessons.
‘Doggy paddle’ seems to be a swimming stroke many children can master very early on when they learn to swim. This swimming stroke uses the same technique as dogs do when swimming, which is how it got its name.
Even though dogs seem to have a natural ability to swim, it is important to always keep watching them around water. It is also important to do the same around children and other animals.
In the story, Rollo’s Wet Surprise, Rollo explores the pool area when the gate is left open. He doesn’t know that there is a cover over the pool and tries to walk on it. Unfortunately, he finds himself falling into the water when the cover moves. Luckily, his owner Jim was there and was able to move the cover so Rollo could get out. If Jim wasn’t there, poor Rollo may have had difficulty getting out of the pool.
We used to have a little terrier dog that always barked when someone was in the pool, particularly if they were splashing. His name was Tips. Tips would run up and down the edge of the pool, barking. He would also run around the pool and as he ran, he would get faster and begin to jump the corners. As he only had short legs, the faster he got the further he would try and jump the corners, and a couple of times he didn’t make the other side and fell in. On both occasions, although he could swim, he had to be helped out of the pool because of his short legs!
Some Tips to Keeping Dogs Safe Around Water
Even though most dogs appear to be natural swimmers, they can still land themselves in danger around water. Dogs don’t know how to tread water so they will keep swimming and will get tired quickly. It is important to have steps in the pool that a dog can use to get out if they can’t get out over the edge. Also, water will make a dog a lot heavier. Rollo was 55kg – can you imagine pulling him out of the water? Plus the extra weight from the water that soaked into his fur?
This is why it is so important to always keep a check on your dog’s whereabouts around pools and other bodies of water. If you are a family that likes to use a boat on weekends, you will know how important it is that every person on board wears a life jacket. But what about your dog? They will need a life jacket too, in case they fall in when the boat dips.
If your dog does fall in the pool or has been swimming with you on a day out, you should take care of your dog just as you would your child. Keep them warm, wash their fur to get rid of any salt or chemicals, then dry them off. Keep them hydrated as best as you can by having fresh water nearby. Watch for changes in breathing after the exertion of swimming. Most importantly, enjoy spending time in the water with your dog.
The experiences of Rollo and Tips can teach us to take responsibility for each other and our pets around water. Make sure they are fully supervised, within arms’ reach, and provided with clean drinking water and thoroughly washed after their water play.
Article by Penny Macoun.
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