Backyard pools are one of the joys of summer. However, we need to remember that they represent a drowning hazard to pets and wildlife alike; safety should be a priority for animals as well as people.
Not all dogs can handle water. Breeders and rescue groups will often refuse to place their dogs with families who have unfenced pools. Some breeds have a front heavy design (bulldogs, boxers, pugs) which makes swimming difficult, if not impossible. They can tire quickly and risk drowning. Even dogs who love to swim need to be supervised, and it's a good idea to teach them to go to the pool steps. It's safer for them and will save your pool liner! One person should be in the water with the dog, helping him toward the steps. Another person should be on the steps encouraging him in the right direction and offering a treat as a reward for using the steps.
Even the best intentions don't always keep gates closed to unsupervised animals, so the best solution is an exit ramp, such as the Skamper-Ramp. These ramps anchor to the side of the pool and are designed to attract animals. Once your pet steps onto the submerged end of the ramp, the ramp surface helps him crawl to safety. The Skamper-Ramp is available in pool supply outlets and online: www.skamper-ramp.com.
If your dog enjoys the pool regularly, remember to hose her off with fresh waterwhen she's done. Chlorine and other pool chemicals leave the coat sticky, and damage it over time. Dry, lifeless fur, dry skin, and rashes can be the result.
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