As the days get sunnier and the temperature rises, more and more people are heading to the pool, the beach or their nearest lake. In some places, your pooch can even come along for the ride and cool themselves off with a refreshing dip.
However, not all dogs are excellent swimmers and it is very important to watch them carefully when they go into water. Here are some things to remember to avoid an accident and, in an emergency, save the life of your pet.
Do not let your dog go swimming unsupervised
In the summer heat, your dog will probably love a swim to cool themselves off, and have fun splashing around.
However, like children, a dog can quickly get into difficulties while swimming. All it takes is a cramp, or a moment of exhaustion to put them in danger.
If the area is supervised, it is far easier to get your pet back on dry land. If left to their own devices, they might not be able to save themselves.
If they get into difficulty, get them out of the water immediately
It can only take a few seconds for your pet to start drowning and even the most attentive people can make a mistake. If your dog is drowning, that means that water is getting into their lungs. Don't panic; it's not too late.
The first thing to do is to clear their lungs, so you must get them out of the water as fast as possible. Remember to look out for yourself too; in stormy seas or strong tides, only enter the water yourself as a last resort and make use of boats or flotation devices if you can.
Get the water out of their lungs
Source: Publications International
If their size permits, you need to get your dog in a position where their head is lower than the rest of their body. For example, get their back legs in the air in a wheelbarrow position. However, try to do this in a way that won't panic the dog or hurt them as this could make them tense up, making the procedure more difficult.
Given them first aid
Source: Publications International
Like for humans, you can give first aid if a pet has started to drown. If your dog has stopped breathing, you can also try giving them mouth to mouth between CPR.
If cardiac arrest has started, you need to give them a cardiac massage until their heart starts to beat again.
Lay your dog on their side and press down on the heart in rhythm, counting to five. Close their mouth and blow air through their nose. Continue, alternating the breathing and the cardiac massage. Use more or less pressure depending on the size of the animal. Start over until emergency services arrives.
If it's an emergency, contact your vet
Source: The Pet Professionals
If your pet has stopped breathing, the first thing you should do is contact your vet. If you manage to get them breathing again yourself, you should still keep a close eye on them. Over the next few days you could start to see other symptoms emerge, such as difficulties breathing, vomiting, an irregular heartbeat, or coughing.
Your veterinarian can advise you on what you should do if these symptoms appear. In most cases, your pooch will not face long-term consequences from their misadventure. However, they might be more wary of water for the rest of their life.
Remember, an attentive eye and an awareness of your surroundings is the best way to keep your pet safe in water. Do not let your dog enter water in rough conditions, and make sure that there are no strong currents where you are swimming.
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