As we shared last week, April is Canine Fitness Month. Many dogs and their families love to be active near Connecticut beaches, lakes, and ponds. However, as the weather gets warmer and water temps rise, it’s essential to consider water safety for dogs before heading out with a dog of any age or fitness level.
Dog Swim Day Prep
While planning your dog’s visit to a dog-friendly CT Shoreline beach, research what beaches are open to dogs during the peak season. Many local beaches, such as Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, only welcome dogs during the cooler months to control crowds and keep pets safe from overheating.
Bring Fido and similar websites are great resources, but always check the locality’s social media pages for up-to-the-minute news on closures, events, etc.
Check Water Conditions
Water conditions and swim quality can vary immensely from day to day. While you and your family know not to drink the water, your dog will not. Lucky for us, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Pollution has a state swimming area water quality report where we can see water conditions before making a trek to your favorite body of water. The report includes four beaches in the Connecticut Shoreline and lakes and ponds throughout the state.
Per their website, water quality information is updated Friday afternoon and again on Mondays. Therefore, for information over the weekend, they urge you to call the Water Quality Report Information Line at 1-866-CTPARKS.
Dog Swim Day Supplies
Bring extra towels, drinking water jugs, portable bowls, treats, and pet-safe bug-repellent spray. Considering fleas and ticks are at an all-time high this time of year, you cannot be too careful in preventing the dangers of flea and tick bites.
Remember your pet’s adventure gear, such as their harness, standard leashes, long leashes, and flotation devices. Based on the day’s activities, only you know what you’ll need, so it’s best to take a beat and think it through. If something goes wrong, throwing extra supplies in your car or backpack is always a good idea.
Dogs Swimming & Supervision
It’s a common misconception that all dogs can swim. Dogs can swim based on their breed, exposure to water early in life, and overall lifestyle. Yet, many dogs, especially Brachycephalic breeds and breeds with short legs, may tire quickly. Short-nosed dogs often have a hard time keeping from taking in water either by mouth or their nose simply because of their facial structure. Know your dog’s breed and resistance to water play, and try to keep them from overexerting themselves. Even senior water-loving dogs will overdo it from the excitement of being at the beach, pond, lake, or pool. Make sure you take breaks as needed.
Whether you’re near a body of water your dog can walk into or a pool, you must always supervise your dog near water. Think of dogs of any age as toddlers or young children; you wouldn’t leave even the strongest swimmer in this age group unsupervised near water, and you shouldn’t leave your dog unsupervised either. Pools are especially dangerous because dogs can jump in and not find the stairs to get out.
Before Returning Home
In addition to choosing your location wisely, checking water conditions, bringing appropriate supplies and equipment, and supervising your dog, you should take some necessary safety steps before returning home.
First, rinse your dog. Saltwater and water in ponds, lakes, and pools can irritate our dog’s sensitive skin. Thoroughly rinsing them will get harsh chemicals and mineral build-up off their hair, fur, and skin. Then, dry your dog off, especially their ears, to prevent Swimmer’s Ear.
At Shoreline Happy Paws, our team of professional dog walkers and pet sitters is all about preparation and prevention. Our tips are shared in the hopes that you’ll use them to safely celebrate spring and summer with your pets.
If your day’s activities or travel plans cannot safely include your dogs, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our dog walking, dog hiking adventures, and pet sitting services. We specialize in the care of cats and dogs and serve the following areas:
- Old Saybrook
- Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
- Deep River
- Old Lyme
- East Lyme
Certain Parts and Certain Service Hours in:
- Lyme and Madison
- Waterford, New London, Groton
- Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank