Dog standing in small shallow pool

As summer temperatures rise, it’s a great time for your dog to cool off by the water. Whether you’re planning a beach trip or you have a pool in your backyard, keeping your furry family member safe is important. Here are some water safety tips you should follow.


It’s crucial to always be present when your dog is swimming or playing around water. Whether you’re at the beach, by a lake, or in a pool, being vigilant is extremely important, as accidents can happen in an instant. Encountering wildlife or strong currents is a risk in open bodies of water, while your dog could slip near a pool and fall in unexpectedly or become too tired to keep swimming.  If you ever need to leave an area, take them with you or have your friends/loved ones keep watch.


You might think a life jacket is only necessary when boating, but having your dog wear one any time they’re by the water is a good idea. Even if your pup is a pro at the doggy paddle, a life jacket can offer them extra protection and buoyancy to help them stay afloat.

Purchasing a high-quality life jacket should last you this season and beyond. A proper fit is key, so always be sure to check if it’s gotten too large or too small with each wear. If possible, choose one that is brightly colored for easy visibility and includes a handle, as it can help you swiftly remove your pup from the water if it’s ever necessary.

According to the American Kennel Club, not every dog breed is a natural-born swimmer. Pups who may find it more difficult to properly swim include short-legged or long-bodied breeds such as pugs, corgis, bulldogs, Shih Tzus, dachshunds, and more. While some dogs simply do not like the water, others have more physical limitations.


There are various elements to consider when testing water conditions, including:

  • Alerts – Before arriving at any body of water, it’s always a good idea to check if there are any alerts for the area (e.g., rip currents, large waves, etc.).
  • Quality – Some water is not safe for humans and dogs to swim in due to high pollution, bacteria, and other factors. Researching the body of water you’re visiting can be a great way to determine safety.
  • Temperature – While cold plunges are popular for humans, your canine companion may not enjoy it. Before entering the water, check if it is too cold or warm for them to comfortably swim and play. According to the American Kennel Club, the water and air temperature should equal at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit before your pup can go in.
  • Dangers in the Water – Always sweep the area to see if you find any sharp objects, like rocks or shells, or nearby debris before your pup enters the water. For extra protection, give them summer booties to wear in the water to prevent them from hurting their paws on ridged or hot sand.


During hot summer days, it is important to keep a close eye on your dog’s water intake, as they may need to drink more than usual due to excessive panting. To prevent them from drinking potentially harmful ocean, lake, or pool water, provide them with a clean water source. If you’re away from home, a compact collapsible water bowl can be a great option to hydrate on the go.

Notice your pup drinking excessive amounts of water? It could indicate a high internal body temperature. Always check for signs of heatstroke and provide a cool, shaded place for them to cool off.


Just like humans, it’s not uncommon for dogs to ingest water in a pool, ocean, or lake; this can be especially true if you’re playing fetch with them. Although it is not ideal for them to drink this type of water, a small amount shouldn’t cause much concern. However, if they ingest large amounts, it can be dangerous.

Water intoxication is rare, but it can happen, and it is important to recognize the symptoms. When dogs drink too much water, it can cause an electrolyte imbalance, and the sodium in their blood can become diluted. Symptoms can include lethargy, nausea, weakness, and more. However, if you’re by the ocean, there is also the chance your pup could ingest too much salt water. Saltwater poisoning needs to be immediately addressed by a vet. Signs can range from vomiting and diarrhea to convulsions and seizures.

You can prevent this by watching your pup while they’re in the water and providing enough fresh drinking water. Taking frequent breaks can also help them avoid ingesting water during play.


If you have an inground pool, it’s important to have fencing installed, not only if you have children but also if you have a dog. Accidents near the pool can occur due to slippery conditions or distractions, making it crucial to have a secure barrier in place.


Swimmer’s ear doesn’t just exist in humans—your pup can develop it and feel the uncomfortable symptoms. When too much water stays in your dog’s ear, it could lead to an infection. It’s more difficult for water to expel from their L-shaped ear canal than ours, leading to a greater chance of bacteria build-up. Common signs include head shaking, inner ear redness, ear canal discharge, odor, and more.

Be sure to regularly clean your pup’s ears with an alcohol-free, antiseptic, antimicrobial solution and dry them thoroughly with a towel or cotton ball after they play in the water to help reduce bacteria and yeast build-up.


Doggy daycare at Dogtopia is full of summer fun for your furry family member to enjoy this season. From pool parties to arts & crafts, your pup will have a tail-wagging time in our clean, climate-controlled playrooms supervised by our caring, expertly trained Canine Coaches. Contact your local Dogtopia to book a Meet & Greet for your dog today.

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