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    Dogs and Water Safety

    Water can be a great source of fun for you and your dog. Before you take your pooch out for a paddle, though, make sure you know how to keep things safe.

    Swimming

    You might think canines are natural-born swimmers, but that isn’t always the case.

    There’s no sure way to gauge your pal's swimming skills until you introduce him to H2O and teach him the basics:

    • Choose a quiet, shallow spot in the water.
    • Keep your dog on a leash while he’s learning.
    • Get in the water with him.
    • Start at the edge of the water, and stay as long as he enjoys it.
    • Don’t force him in -- especially if it’s a deep spot -- if he doesn’t want to go.
    • When your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs to show him how to float.

    The younger your buddy is when you teach him to swim, the better. Keep the lesson positive and stress-free for him.

    At the Beach

    While you enjoy the surf with your pal, keep these tips in mind:

    • Watch out for strong currents and rip tides, which can take you both out to sea. Even the best swimmer can be in danger when seas are rough.
    • Don’t let your dog drink ocean water. It can make him sick. Bring fresh H2O with you to keep him hydrated.
    • Keep your pal away from fish that have washed onto the shore. They may smell great to him, but they can make him ill.

    In the Pool

    Got a swimming hole in your backyard? Keep it Fido-friendly with these steps:

    • Put a fence around it to keep your dog out when it isn’t time to swim.
    • Keep a sturdy cover over it when you aren’t using it. It should be made of a material that lets rainwater drain through. Dogs can drown in puddles on top of pool covers.
    • Teach your dog how to get in and out. Make sure there are steps or a ramp he can use to climb out.
    • Check the water temperature before letting your dog take a dip. Only a few breeds can handle extra-cold water.

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