It’s no secret that summer’s the season of fun. Both humans and canines alike love to frolic in the water to cool off. Some dogs enjoy water play, while others don’t. For those who do, there are several important safety measures you can take to keep your furry friend safe this summer. Let’s address those measures so you and your dog can enjoy a fun – and safe – summertime! 
Water Safety for Dogs | Harmony Animal Hospital

Water-Related Dangers


You don’t hear of it often, but dogs can and do drown. Never assume your dog has a natural instinct to swim. Putting a pet in water without knowing how they’ll react can be deadly. Also, never leave your canine unattended around bodies of water or swimming pools. Fit your dog with a flotation vest, especially if you’re taking him or her out on a boat. A dog can easily fall or jump into a river, lake, or ocean.

Paw Injury

Dogs have tender feet. Their pads can easily get burned on hot sand and pavement, or lacerated by sharp sea shells, broken glass, and sticks – all of which are things that may be found around bodies of water. This is especially true for dogs who stay indoors the majority of the time. Outdoor loving dogs may have tougher, more resilient pads. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t let your furry companion run free unless you’re sure there’s no risk of injury. You can also fit your dog with special booties designed specifically with safe outdoor fun in mind.


Just like us, dogs can suffer from sunburn. When outside, try to keep your pup in the shade as much as possible. Consult with us about the best sunscreen options available for your dog.

Waterborne Risks

When dogs are thirsty, they usually aren’t too picky about what water they drink to satiate their thirst. If you’re near water, you can assume your dog will think it’s there for them to drink. However, there are many water-borne risks you should be aware of. Specifically in lake water, or standing water of any kind, risks such as blue green algae, bacteria, parasites, and pollutants can make your dog sick if consumed.


Lack of sufficient water, paired with too much time in the heat and sun, can rapidly cause dehydration in your dog. If you won’t have access to fresh clean drinking water, bring some along, as well as a bowl your dog can drink from. Symptoms of dehydration include loss of appetite, lethargy, panting, sunken eyes, dry nose and gums, and loss of skin elasticity.

Water Intoxication

Water intoxication is also known as hyponatremia. This occurs when dogs drink more water than they should causing an imbalance in their sodium levels. Seemingly innocent activities such as letting your pooch drink from the hose, or play too long in the pool can cause hyponatremia. Small dogs and older dogs are particularly vulnerable to this condition. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, seizures, dullness, excessive urination, and coma.

Swimming Pool Chemicals

Some water-loving dogs happen to have sensitive skin, and things like pool chemicals and salt water can cause a great deal of irritation. If your canine is showing any post-swimming signs of skin issues, such as redness, inflammation, itchiness, or soreness, make an appointment with us for an evaluation.

A little knowledge and preparation go a long way in keeping your pup safe and happy this summer! No need to hide indoors, get out there and have fun. Just do it the right way!

For more information on how to keep your dog safe in the heat and around water schedule an appointment or give us a call.