Last summer we got wind of a tragic story of a pet who drowned at a pool party after being let out from containment. Although this was an isolated incident, this type of situation happens all over the United States and we know that this is being under-reported. The dog in this case was let out of his containment area, jumped into the pool with the kids and ultimately drowned because the party guests thought the dog was having a good time. A tragic animal life because no one thought that the dog could not swim.
We have begun to educate pool owners with pets and veterinarians about the dangers of drowning for pets however there are many things that can be done to prevent such needless drownings of pets. There are no confirmed statistics on exactly how many dogs drown every year, but preliminary statistics and testimonials paint a bleak picture of a multitude of avoidable watery deaths each year.
- Be aware of your dog’s swimming proficiency. Realize that this proficiency will diminish dramatically at night, with advancing age, and the fear associated with accidental falls. Even excellent swimmers may panic in the dark or after a slip and fall into the water.
- Some dogs will never swim. That doesn’t mean they’re not at risk of falling in by accident or pushed in.
- Dogs with seizure disorders are never safe around water when unsupervised!
- Consider pool safety products such as baby fences, pool alarms (they sound when anyone falls in), alarmed collars (rigged to alarm at a home base when its wearer falls in), and electrified underground pool fences (the dog wears a collar to keep him away from the pool’s perimeter).
- Life vests and pool ramps (to help dogs get up from the side of the pool) are not completely safe. Monitoring tools (like the alarms listed above) are only as good as the person listening for them. Avoidance of the pool area through secure fencing is the only way to ensure poolside safety.
- To ensure that your pet or children will not fall into a pool, have a perimeter fence installed. This is by far the best prevention. Also make sure that the pool fence is flush with the deck to keep out small critters such squirrels, possums and even rabbits.
- Always make sure to have a water watcher or lifeguard present at pool parties to monitor for distress. A lifeguard, if trained properly can assist a pet out of the pool and if need be render pet CPR/First Aid.
- If you are pet owner wit a pool, learn Pet CPR and First Aid. It is always recommended that everyone learn CPR anyway. Just never know when it will come into play!
The following picture shows an example of a dog safety vest that can be purchased online. We highly recommend a vest if you are afraid that your dog can’t swim or may fall into a pool.
If you choose not to have a pool fence installed, there are many commercial products designed to allow your dog to exit the pool from many access points. The following are examples of various pool ramps and steps that can be purchased for your pool.
Golden State Lifeguards is available to consult with Southern California pool owners on pet and child safety.
For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org