Presque Isle Region

Dogs and water safety

Now that summer is officially here and the weather is warming up, many pet owners will be heading to their back yard pools, the lakes or maybe to the Maine coast to enjoy a vacation.  

Water is a great temptation for many dogs, particularly when the weather is hot and the water presents a cool oasis.  Pet owners, too, love to watch their dogs swim, play and have fun.  However, keep in mind a few things before you take your dog out for a day of play on or in the water.

When enjoying the outdoors, bring extra water for your dog as well as a portable pet travel bowl. Bacteria and parasites are common in natural water sources, particularly stagnant water (which may contain algae, some types of which are dangerous or even fatal to dogs). This can result in diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms and may require you to consult with your vet.

Don’t let your pet drink from a pool.  It may look clean and pure, but pool water is filled with chemicals that can cause your dog to get sick.

Don’t assume that all dogs can swim (or like to swim).  Don’t throw your dog into the water, as they may panic and even drown before you can react.

Don’t leave your dog unattended in the water.  For most dogs, swimming is unaccustomed exercise and they may tire easily as they are using muscles they don’t normally use.  Also, steep banks or pool walls can make it hard for dogs to climb out on their own. They may need your help.

Carefully check your dog for skin irritations or for bites after they enjoy some water playtime.  Bacteria or other microscopic organisms may cause irritation, or he could even have been stung by a jellyfish if he was romping about in the ocean.  Take your dog to the vet if he’s showing signs of pain or itchiness.

Rinse your pup off well with fresh water after swimming.  Salt or pool water may irritate skin and eyes.

If you’re taking your dog out boating, specially made doggy lifejackets are available to keep your pet safe.  And don’t forget your life vest as well.  

These are all great tips from Pet Friendly Canada.

Remember that pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.  

We hope you all will enjoy a wonderfully warm and beautiful summer with your four-legged friends.

If you are looking for a lifelong companion, please stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society at 24 Cross St. in Presque Isle.  We are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. You can also check us out on Facebook. 

Please be responsible pet owners — have your pets spayed and neutered.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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