5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Water-Safe This Summer
Whether you’re a pool owner or someone who cools down in summer by a lake, river or stream, here are 5 water safety tips to help keep pets safe this summer:
1. Carry water for your pet.
Playing in a stream is a great way for your dog to cool down on a hot summer day. Yet stream water contaminated with feces from animals puts your pet at risk of giardiasis. Caused by microscopic protozoans called Giardia intestinalis (also found in lakes, springs, puddles, and ponds), giardiasis (also known as beaver fever) can cause acute onset of diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Instead of letting your dog drink from a water source that may be contaminated, carry water for your pet to drink.
2. Don’t let your pet drink from puddles.
Puddles in your yard, by streams, and along walking trails can harbor a host of bacteria that can cause disease in pets, like Leptospirosis. Caused by a type of bacteria (Leptospira interogans) shed in the urine of infected animals (which can include mice, raccoons, and skunks), Leptospirosis infection can cause kidney or liver failure, and severe infection can cause sudden bleeding problems, shock, and death. So, don’t let pets drink from puddles. Carry a pet water bottle for long hikes and keep fresh water for your pet in your yard.
3. Do not let your pet drink algae.
Found in lakes, ponds, fountains, bird baths, and reservoirs, blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) contain deadly toxins that can cause serious illness or death in pets. Even ingesting algae when licking contaminated fur can cause illness. Check with your public health department to see if the lake in your area is prone to blue-green algae outbreaks.
4. Never leave pets unsupervised by a pool.
Not all pets are natural swimmers, and some can become panicked in the water if they can’t find a way to get out. Don’t force your pet to swim. This will only make a pet more fearful of water. If your pool only has a ladder and no steps or stairs, consider a ramp or steps designed for pets and train your pet to use them. Also, hot summer days demand extra water whether your pet is swimming or not. Provide fresh water all day and freshen it regularly.
5. If the water’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
Pets, like people, can suffer from hypothermia in cold water. If you don’t want to swim because the water’s too cold, your pet shouldn’t swim either. Your pet doesn’t understand that it’s the water making him cold and, if he’s having fun, he’ll just keep swimming.
Part of LifeLearn's Pet Water Safety Client Education Kit 2021. LIFELEARN INC. All rights reserved. www.lifelearn.com