Warm weather is around the corner, and fingers crossed, Summer 2021 will be quite an upgrade from 2020!
Open parks and beaches mean one thing for many canines: SWIMMING. Some dogs can’t resist the urge to submerge, whether it be a pool, the ocean, a lake, or a sprinkler. Smiles and doggy paddles will be aplenty this year, but there are some things dog owners should be aware of before you and your furry friend cool off on a hot summer day.
Tips for the Pool: Avoid Swimmer’s Itch
A popular phrase among swimmers, “swimmer’s itch,” refers to the effects extended exposure to water can have on our skin. More often than not, chlorine and the various chemicals found in pool water are the culprits. Dogs, like humans, feel these negative skin effects.
Symptoms of Skin Irritation in Dogs Caused by Pool Water:
- Dry Skin
- Skin Redness & Inflammation
- Itchy Skin
- Ear Infections
Dogs’ coats can also be damaged by pool water. If you’re lucky enough to have a dog-friendly pool at your disposal, drying your dog extensively after their swim can significantly decrease the adverse effects brought on by overexposure to pool water.
If your dog loves a good dip in the pool, spraying their coat with conditioner before swim-time can help protect their fur from drying out. Rinsing their skin and coat with cold water can also help clean and hydrate damaged skin.
Tips for the Beach: Safety in the Sand
Ocean water lacks the various chemicals found in chlorinated pool water, but long days at the beach can similarly impact your dog’s health. Like pool water, saltwater can negatively affect your dog’s skin and fur, often drying your dog out and creating irritations. The sun exposure and amplified heat that comes with spending the day at the beach can also increase the risk of skin dryness and overall dehydration in dogs. To protect against this, always make sure to bring plenty of safe drinking water for your furry Michael Phelps.
Sand can be another factor. While most dogs love to run around and make a mess of this mysterious, non-grassy substance they are encountering, sand can cause skin dryness and cracking, especially in and around the paws. It can also get lodged and trapped in their coat. They’ll almost certainly be too busy smiling and enjoying the day, but when the sun sets on your current beach day, try examining and cleaning in and around your dog’s paws to make sure sand doesn’t settle and have the chance to create an infection. Similar to your post-pool procedure, rinsing your dog’s coat with fresh, cold water can help clean and hydrate after a long day of running in and out of the ocean. It can also help brush out any lingering grains of sand and salt.
Ear Infections: Listen Up!
This isn’t exactly breaking news, but water of any kind has the potential to cause ear infections. Have you ever gone for a swim and had water clogged in your ears afterward? Not a fun time and the same thing can happen to our dogs. When water gets trapped in your dog’s ear canals, it has the potential to settle and cause an ear infection. Bacteria will form, leading to hearing impairment, ear discomfort, and pain. To make sure our dogs’ ears are kept healthy and safe, use a towel or cotton ball to clean and dry your dog’s ears after a swim. Ear infections in dogs are usually very treatable, but it is important to do all you can to try and prevent one from even happening.
The Fun Awaits…
We have discussed some potentially “negative” effects swimming can have on our dogs, but don’t let that get in the way of summer fun! Swimming is excellent exercise and socialization for our dogs and ultimately should be encouraged. If your dog is a known swimmer or is experiencing the thrill for the first time, keep the helpful tips we’ve discussed in mind!