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Splish-Splash Summer

Cool Water Fun with Fido

By Camp Bow Wow


Summertime and cool water fun go together like iced watermelon and backyard barbecue. Nothing sounds better than a refreshing plunge as we savor summer vacation days. Many pup parents enjoy spending time with their furry family members in the water. A number of rivers and lakes are close enough for an afternoon outing, and even the beach is not far from San Antonio.

Make a few preparations before you go to ensure your day is fun and safe for everyone in your family - human and canine. First, check out your destination. Not all swimming areas, parks and beaches allow animals, and you’d hate to be disappointed once you’ve arrived.

Next, in or out of the water, think about sunscreen, especially if your pup has short hair, white hair or pink skin. Dogs can sunburn just like their human family members! Apply dog-friendly sunblock anywhere your pet might burn before sun exposure. Choose a sunscreen that is dog-safe. Zinc oxide, a common sunscreen ingredient known by its thick consistency and white color, is toxic to dogs and can cause severe illness or death. If your dog tends to sunburn, it is best to avoid the sun between the peak hours of 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and/or provide a shady respite.

Take time to introduce your furry family member to the water in a shallow spot under close supervision, and never leave him alone in the water. Not every dog is a natural born swimmer. Even if your pup can’t wait to dive in, observe the area just as you would for a child before letting him leap. Make sure currents aren’t too strong and no rip tides are present. Even the best swimmer can become overwhelmed when seas are rough or water is moving too quickly. A proven way to ensure your beloved pet’s safety in water is to have them wear a life vest.


Likewise, be wary of fishing gear, including abandoned nets, line or hooks. And steer Fido away from any washed-up water creatures. They may smell great a dog, but too close an investigation may produce an unwelcome outcome.


Bring fresh water so your pup isn’t tempted by thirst to drink from the ocean or in water contaminated by blue-green algae. Both can make him sick. Rinse your pup off after he’s been in any type of water. Seawater minerals, salt, chlorine, algae, and pollution can irritate or damage his skin and fur.


Some find it helpful to fill up a baby pool in the backyard for your pup’s initial introduction to water. Your whole pack might enjoy this opportunity to cool off together prior to venturing out further.

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