I recently saw a post about a dog drowning in pool during boarding. Similar cases has happened a number of times and I thought it would be good to share our views.
While I understand that owners like to see their dogs have fun during their staycation, it is important to also understand that safety should always be the priority no matter what.
Dogs of different sizes being mixed without supervision, swimming, going for runs etc., these although look fun to our eyes, may not actually be fun to the dogs, in fact they could be feeling stressed.
Even if they really enjoyed it, owners can have all the time in the world to do so with their dogs when they are back from their trip, endangering safety just for a temporary stay is just not worth the risks.
When it comes to swimming for dogs, these are the tips that I have for taking precaution:
1) Ensure a fitting life vest is in place, many people assume that dogs should naturally know how to swim. Unfortunately this is not the case and had resulted in more dogs drowning, or developing trauma towards water/swimming due to misconception.
2) There must always be a staff attending to one dog at all times, and the person should be in the pool with the dog. Even better is to have owners staying close to their dogs during the swimming sessions. Similarly to a toddler, you do not want to leave a child in the pool unattended even if they are on float/buoy.
3) Dogs with short muzzles are extremely prone to getting water in their nose. Due to the length of their muzzle, it becomes very hard for them to breath even if their heads look like they are raised above the water. Trying to stay afloat alone could easily drain their energy, raising the rate of heartbeat and cause panic attacks, which in return increases the chance of drowning. Brachycephalic breeds are not bred to swim.
4) Pool should be big enough to accommodate a limited number of dogs. If a pool is too small and you have multiple dogs sharing them, it can result in triggering stress/panic for some dogs, especially those that are unable to paddle fast enough to escape situations. Having too many dogs sharing a pool could also increase the risk of transmissible diseases.