Summer, the swimming pool and our animals

Summer, the pool and our animals


Many Quebecers have a swimming pool in their backyard to enjoy the beautiful summer days. A pure happiness ! However, certain precautions are necessary when we have a swimming pool and animals that share our lives, because unfortunately, drownings can occur.

Everyone knows that we must always remain vigilant and very careful with children when you have a swimming pool, but still, many child drownings occur every summer. As recently as last Monday, Le Journal again reported three cases. 

But what about animals?

Unlike child drownings, animal drownings go relatively unnoticed. They are not widely reported in the media, but they still exist.  

Drownings in animals are due to three main reasons: 

  • due to exhaustion after swimming too long,
  • following hypothermia when the animal finds itself in cold water, which most often occurs in the spring, or in the fall and, 
  • when the animal can't rise to the surface because of the eddies. 

Anyway, when you have an animal and a swimming pool, you have to be just as careful as if you had a child. They represent a real danger. 

Here are some basic concepts to think about.

Drowning and prevention

It is true that dogs and cats know how to swim naturally, but it is wrong to say that there is no danger for them. Your dog or cat may be a good swimmer, but if they don't know how to get out of the pool or you're not there, drowning is possible as they will eventually become exhausted.   

Constant supervision must be provided when swimming. You know that a few seconds of inattention are enough for a tragedy to occur. Otherwise, offer him a small inflatable pool for children. It will certainly be less dangerous.

As with children, remember to block access to the pool at all times if there is no supervision. There must be a sufficiently high fence around the pool and a well-locked access. Also consider getting a floating alarm system that alerts you to the slightest disturbance in the water.  

Also, if your dog is attracted to water and you decide to invite him into the pool from time to time, you absolutely must teach him where the exit is and how to use it. 

Use treats to lure him out. Train him to come out of the pool easily. For above-ground pools with a ladder, consider adding a ramp to facilitate the exit of animals in the event of an accident. It is clear that a staircase or a ramp will be more suitable for animals than a ladder. 

For surface canvases (solar canvas) or protective covers for the swimming pool, it is a good thing to think about. Be aware that even if it is tight, if your pet decides to venture there, it could give way under its weight or even prevent it from coming out of the water. This has already been seen…

Finally, bathing is not recommended in epileptic dogs who may have an unpredictable convulsion. If your dog insists, never mind, know that there are individual life jackets adapted for dogs! 

Here's another precaution: watch out for dog toys that float in the pool. Your pup might want to pick them up without you. Make sure you put everything away after swimming…

What to do in case of drowning?

If your animal is the victim of a near drowning, get it out of the water as quickly as possible, obviously taking the necessary precautions for your personal safety. 

Contrary to what sometimes circulates on the internet, you should not suspend the animal upside down, holding it by the paws. 

If it breathes, dry it well and keep it in a dry towel to keep it warm. Warm it up if the water was cold. 

Consult your veterinarian immediately. This is an emergency and complications could still arise. On the way, keep the animal warm and make sure it is breathing properly. Respiratory distress is one of the main complications of drowning.