It’s a common misconception to think that all dogs know how to swim. While dogs drowning in pools rarely make the news, people don’t realize how often this actually happens. It is estimated that over 5,000 family pets drown in backyard pools each year.
While we wouldn’t think to leave our dogs in a hot car, we need to also think we would never leave our dog around an unfenced pool either. Since your dog typically can’t make these decisions not to be left in a hot car or be left around an unfenced pool, the safety actions provided are for you to act upon because chances are your pet(s) can’t read either.
Now perhaps you’re saying to yourself “My dog never goes near the pool. He’s afraid of water. He hates baths he definitely doesn’t want to go in the pool.” A dog running by the pool can slip and fall in. A dog playing with another dog can be pushed in. A dog that never has gone into water just does, and the reason why is never known. So the fact that your pet has yet to drown in the family pool is like rolling the dice. And, maybe your dog will never fall in the pool but as a pet owner you need to be reminded that you are responsible for the care and safety of your pet.
Follow the layers of protection:
· Train your dog to know where your pool steps are and how to find his way out in case he does find himself alone in the pool. Don’t assume your dog knows where they are and due to a dog’s physical build, the ability to find the stairs is their only hope in survival.
· ALWAYS know where pets and children are. Never leave a child unattended in or near water in a pool, tub, lake, river, canal or ocean, even when lifeguards are present.
· If a pet or child is missing, always check the pool or spa first.
· Install “isolation fencing” which completely separates the pool or spa area from the house or other structures. An isolation fence restricts unauthorized access from neighbors’ yards, other nearby buildings, and from inside the house. Isolation fencing is the preferred configuration for pool and spa protection.
· All fences must be non-climbable, meet all applicable local safety codes, and should be at least 60” tall, with vertical bars set close to one another so that a small pet child cannot squeeze through, consider the Puppy Guard Add On like these offered by American One Fence & Railing.
· Pool gates should be self-closing and self-latching and accommodate a locking device such as the rust-free MagnaLatch® Top Pull or the MagnaLatch® Vertical Pull (also known as the pet safey latch), along with self-closing hinges like the TruClose®.
· Gates should open away from the pool and have self-closing hinges, and should never be propped open. Check and adjust your gate regularly to make sure it operates correctly.
· Keep anything that can be climbed, such as chairs, tables, storage bins, playground equipment, ice chests, etc. inside the fence area.