Pool safety for pets deserves as much consideration as creating a safe space for your two-legged friends and family. While many people assume their pets are instinctual swimmers, the truth is that not all pets can safely navigate water. Even those that can swim can easily find themselves confused and trapped in an unsecured swimming pool. Part of being a responsible pet owner is protecting them not just from external dangers but also from themselves. While a pet pool fence can be a great start to water safety for our furry family members, you should make sure you understand the risks a pool may present to pets and how to help them develop good pool-use habits like anyone else.
Animals And Water
Some animals love to play in the water. Others hate it. Pool safety for pets starts with understanding neither one is an effective indicator that an animal is prepared to enjoy swimming or that they are prepared to save themselves should they fall into a swimming pool inadvertently. Finding themselves suddenly in deep water can be confusing, especially in low-light situations or if other stimuli, like fireworks on the 4th of July, are present. As with humans who you may have around a pool for the first time, you cannot be sure how any animal will react to a first encounter, meaning they should not be left in the pool area unsupervised, even for a moment.
Creating A Pet-Safe Pool Area
Creating an area that focuses on pool safety for pets and other animals is a great place to start. While it may take time to train an animal to be safer around the pool, you can often take immediate actions that make a big impact starting right now. In addition, a safer pool area may also help protect wild or “mostly wild” animals in the neighborhood–that stray cat your wife insists on feeding, the squirrel that keeps stealing the seed from your bird feeder, and the raccoon who practices his drumming on your trash cans at 3 AM–that may not be your responsibility but that you don’t want to find in your pool one morning.
- Pet Pool Fences – A pet pool fence is one of the best investments you can make to protect your pool and your pet. Removable mesh swimming pool fences seat firmly in the deck for security, have self-closing gates, and are designed to resist damage from the elements and pets. This basic tool of pool safety for pets keeps them out of the pool without restricting the use of your backyard oasis.
- Swimming Pool Safety Covers or Nets – Unlike some leaf covers, which can collapse into a pool under weight, safety nets and covers are anchored to your pool’s deck and designed to create a physical barrier to water entry. Mesh covers can support the weight of a full-grown adult who may need to clear the cover of debris or help a child, animal, or other adult to safety. Nets are also designed to support the weight of an adult and will help prevent drowning injuries for larger animals, but small animals may still slip through the netting, making mesh covers the better pool safety option for small pets.
- Keep Your Pool Area Clean And Clear Of Trash – Just as with humans, items left around the pool area can trip or tangle a pet who either doesn’t see them or doesn’t exercise good judgment, such as when they’re excited or playing. Glass, which can easily shatter, becoming a cutting hazard that becomes almost invisible in water, has no place in the pool area. Food and beverages that are left unattended can be irresistible to both pets and feral animals, so make sure leftovers, packaging, and containers are cleaned up when you close your pool down.
- Be Ready To Rescue – Long poles, flotation devices, and first aid kits should be easily accessible and clearly marked. These items go beyond pool safety for pets to being universal safety features that every pool owner should have on hand. While a scared animal may not immediately recognize your intent, these items can help you move them to safety and treat any injuries.
Encouraging Water-Safe Pets
Teaching your pets pool safety for their own best interests is similar to most pet training: it takes patience and consistency. They may not understand the reason at first, but they’ll appreciate the engagement and will love the extra time being safe around the pool gives them with the family. In the long run, these lessons will do as much or more to protect them as a pet pool fence.
- Make Water Safety A Household Priority – When training a family pet, everyone needs to be on board. Luckily, this is a great way to not only teach pool safety for pets but help the whole family brush up on safe pool etiquette.
- Keep Fresh Drinking Water Available – Any swimmer will tell you, you’re going to swallow some water, but you don’t want to drink it. Pool water is filled with chemicals to fight algae and bacteria while maintaining a healthy balance of pH, alkalinity, and hardness. A thirsty pet may try to drink from the pool if no clean water is available. This can be especially dangerous, as swallowing too much water, aside from chemical exposure, can reduce the sodium levels in their blood, leading to water intoxication. IF they start trying to drink too much water or need to urinate often, it’s time to take a break away from the giant dog bowl.
- Introduce Them To The Pool Slowly – Just as you would with a child, start your pets’ pool safety journey by introducing them to key features, like the steps in and out of the pool. Work with them not only on getting in safely but also getting out and staying out when told. Remain in the shallow end, which is likely still deep for them, until you are confident they are at ease and more comfortable in the water.
- Teach Them To Swim – Some animals will not need help learning efficient strokes, they’ll just need practice. Others may need you to “swim” them through the water as they learn the appropriate foot motions. Both will likely need time to build up the stamina to be good swimmers, just as with humans. This time to learn at a pace appropriate for them will also help increase their comfort level in the pool and make panic less likely.
- Monitor Their Swim Time – Supervision is a must in pool safety for pets, but they may need you to provide more structure to their time in the pool to keep them safe. Most common pets, like dogs and cats, tend to have bursts of activity broken up by generous rest throughout the day. They can tire easily in a pool and may be so focused on pleasing their family they don’t realize how fatigued they’re getting. Make sure they’re getting time to come out of the water, rest, get a drink of clean water, and perform their bodily functions.
Pool Safety Professionals
If you’re concerned about pool safety for pets, you need a Lifeguard on Duty around your pool. We carry ASTM-compliant pet pool fences, swimming pool safety covers, and safety nets. Made from durable materials, custom-fit to your pool, and installed by local professionals–you’ll be getting a safety solution designed around your family’s needs–whether they have two legs or four.
It’s free to find out how budget-friendly improving your pool safety for pets can be. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation estimate. We live and work in the communities we serve, so we’re always “right down the street” for installation or service. Protect your friends, family, and pets with peace of mind from Lifeguard on Duty today.