For many school-aged children, summer is officially over. As kids head back to the classrooms, canines are perking up for their yearly end-of-summer trip to a place that is usually off limits – a local public swimming pool or water park. Many cities in the DFW area are hosting Dog Swim Days to allow dogs and their owners to enjoy a fun day at their neighborhood pool before it is drained and closed for the year.
The Swim Days are generally held on the Saturday after the pool closes to the public for the season. Since the pools will be drained anyway, many communities have found that these yearly events are a fun way to close before releasing all that water.
Here are a 7 helpful hints for those who have never had the pleasure of attending a Dog Swim Day:
- Check out the event’s requirements before you head out. Many require that dogs wear their ID and rabies tags on their collars, and some allow you to bring in vaccination records. Some only allow sterilized dogs to attend. Under NO circumstances should a dog in heat be brought to a large dog event.
- Expect a wide variety of dogs and humans. You can expect to see anywhere from twenty to fifty (or more) dogs at these events. All types of dogs and people are in attendance: from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, and toddlers to grandparents. “It’s a fantastic socializing time for you and your dog,” says dog owner Doug Emes.
- Bring a bowl for drinking water, plenty of towels, and a few tennis balls or other replaceable toys. Some dogs cannot tell the difference between their ball and yours, so plan on carrying at least one spare. And if it doesn’t end up back in your bag at the end of the day, you won’t be too worried about it.
- Locate the event’s First Aid area when you arrive. If something happens and your dog needs medical attention, you’ll want to know where to go. If there is no designated first aid area, ask around and see if someone knows Pet First Aid and CPR. Even better, take a class before you go!
- Let your dog get his bearings before entering the pool. Some dogs immediately fall in love with the water, and some need time to get used to the idea of the largest bath tub they have ever seen. Don’t force it, or else your dog might creative a negative association with the pools.
- Be mindful of your dog’s paw pads! Many pools and water parks have textured flooring to prevent children from slipping on wet pavement. But that texturing can tear up your dog’s paw pads when they are running around having fun, and won’t realize it until the damage is done. Check your dog’s feet often, and call it a day if they show signs of cuts or scrapes.
- Watch your dog for signs of distress. Whether it’s nerves, heat, over-excitement, or a sprained muscle from playing too hard, just make sure your dog is safe at all times. If you see your dog experiencing distress in any way, bring him in from the play area and check him out thoroughly. If your dog needs help, head to the first aid area or closest emergency vet clinic.
- Bonus Tip: Invest in a doggie life jacket (available at many pet supplies stores) if you want to play it extra safe. They are usually in bright colors so you can spot your dog easily, with handles so you can pull him out quickly if you need to.
Several Doggie Swim Days are posted on the Dallas Dog Life Events page – just look for the Dog Swim category. If you know of a Dog Swim that is not listed, please add it by submitting an event online. Enjoy your time in the pool with your pooch!