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Summer Water-Related Hazards for Pets

August 4, 2017 Updated: September 8, 2020

Playing in the water is a great way to cool off for both humans and our pets. But when it comes to dogs and cats, water can present some health issues and hazards as well. Keep your pets safe with these tips from Pets Best, the nationwide dog and cat health insurance agency that powers the Union Plus Pet Health Insurance program. UFCW members are eligible to receive discounts on pet health insurance plans.

Water Safety

Although many canines are strong swimmers, they should always be closely supervised and wear life jackets when their owners take them for a summer swim.

Pet owners with pools should pay close attention to outdoor cats and dogs when they’re playing near the pool in case they accidentally fall in.

“For dog owners with pools, I always suggest training their dogs to find the shallow end of the pool or the stairs so they can exit the pool safely. This is important regardless of whether you plan to let your dogs swim in the pool. I recall a claim we processed for BooBoo, an English bulldog, who was found unconscious on the pool floor; but thankfully he recovered after an emergency visit to the veterinarian,” said Dr. Stephens, founder of Pets Best. “Even dogs that are good swimmers or wearing life jackets can tire quickly and be put in danger if they can’t find their way out of the pool.”

A few other bodies of water hazards pet owners should be aware of include:

  • Exposure to Leptospira, a potentially deadly pathogen found within some lakes and ponds.
  • Fishhooks, which can get stuck in paws if stepped on, stuck in mouths, or even swallowed.
  • Boats, they can accidentally hit dogs who are swimming in lakes.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are one of the top five most common dog insurance claims we process at Pets Best. Ear infections are an especially common summertime ailment among dogs that swim frequently. These infections are often caused by water entering dogs’ ears while swimming. Pet owners can help prevent this by utilizing an ear cleanser prescribed by a veterinarian to clean and dry a dog’s ears after swimming.

We hope you and your pets enjoy safe and healthy water adventures this summer.

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