“Pets” and “pools” make a lot of “things I’d like to have” lists around here.
If you don’t believe me, just ask any kid living in Florida and see for yourself. And, why not? Both make for great frolicking and if you combine the two… well, you’re set for an amazing life.
That’s pretty much all there is to that.
Pets love the pool too. In addition to having a huge drinking bowl at their disposal, the whole family hangs outside—his favorite environment—for long periods of time. And, I’m thinking the odds are that he’s down for all the water games.
Am I right?
If you have a pet that spends a lot of time poolside or is outdoors on its own, you need to have safety measures in place to avoid an accident.
Here are three tips to help you pet-proof your pool.
Safety features to consider
There are several ways to provide peace of mind for those of us with pets and pools.
Making sure the swimming pool is enclosed puts a boundary between pets and pools so you don’t have to worry about letting them out into the yard without you. Additionally, there are several features that will further ensure your pet is safe when he’s around the pool.
Pool enclosures and fencing
A pool enclosure prevents your pet from having access when you aren’t around. It’s the best way to ensure they don’t fall—or dive—in when they are outside on their own. Even if they love to swim, you don’t want to risk them not being able to get back out again.
There are several types of pool enclosures from which to choose.
- Screen pool enclosure—Unlike other pool enclosures, screen pool enclosures allow for free airflow in addition to other benefits that non-screen enclosures provide. Like blocking those annoying bugs from invading your space, for instance. Pool enclosures also provide some protection from the sun, and they keep debris out of the water too.
- Retractable pool enclosure—Retractable pool enclosures are becoming more popular but are an expensive alternative to a screen enclosure. Made of polycarbonate, they conform to almost any layout you can imagine and allow you to completely open up your pool area if you desire.
- Inflatable pool enclosure—Inflatable pool enclosures are constructed of rugged vinyl and are designed for year-round use.
- Pool fencing—Contractors can use aluminum, vinyl, mesh, or wood to construct your fence. Some fences are made to be removable when the pool is in use.
Whether you decide to totally enclose your poor or just fence around it, providing a barrier between pets and pools of any type goes a long way toward ensuring a safe environment at all times.
Gutter guards are an important safety feature for pets and people! An open gutter is a fall hazard at best and when we look at them in relation to small children and pets, there is even a possibility that some could become entrapped.
Installing a gutter guard prevents the possibility of your pet falling into the gutter.
And, of course, they block debris, as well. So, if you have a pet that sheds a heavy winter coat, it will keep those large tufts of hair from finding their way into the gutter.
Does your pool have the classic wedding cake steps to enter and exit the pool? If not, consider installing a pool ramp. They provide your pet an easy exit.
If your pool doesn’t have steps and your pet falls in, they may not be able to exit on their own. It has to do with the size of the animal in some cases. Still, a pool ramp is a good idea even if your pet can get out of the pool on his own.
Better safe than sorry applies here, right?
If you have toddlers or young children, a pool alarm provides a huge sense of relief—the same can be said for pets and pools. Most pool alarms activate if anything greater than 17 pounds hits the water. When it happens, a loud alarm is set off inside the house.
Another option for pets is a Safety Turtle. These special turtles attach to your pet’s collar and if it is submerged, an alarm goes off on the turtle base station inside the house.
You can purchase a pool safety cover in either mesh or solid material. Pool covers stretch tightly across the pool and anchor at the sides. They prevent pets from falling—or diving—into the pool.
Doggie life jackets
Life jackets for dogs are designed to keep them afloat when in the pool. Even if your dog swims, it might not be a bad idea to get them accustomed to wearing one for added protection.
Manufacturers gauge the jackets according to size and weight.
Performing CPR on your pet
The American Red Cross offers a course on dog and cat CPR but they also list the following steps on their website.
- Check for breathing and a heartbeat. If you don’t see your pet’s chest moving and can’t find a pulse, begin CPR chest compressions.
- Begin chest compressions. Place your hands on your pet as follows:
- For cats, small dogs, and deep-chested dogs, place the heel of one of your hands directly over the pet’s heart and place your other hand directly over the first hand.
- If you have a deep-chested dog, place the heel of one hand over the widest part of the chest and place your other hand directly over the first hand.
- For barrel-chested dogs, place the dog on its back, place one hand over the widest part of the sternum, and place your other hand directly over the first hand. Lock your elbows and make sure your shoulders are directly above your hands.
Then, push hard and push fast at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, compressing 1/3 to 1/2 the width of your pet’s chest. Make sure the chest comes back fully (recoils) before compressing again. Perform 30 chest compressions.
- Give rescue breaths. To give rescue breaths, gently close the pet’s mouth and extend his neck to open the airway. Cover your pet’s nose with your mouth and exhale until you see the pet’s chest rise. Give a second rescue breath.
- Continue the CPR cycle, 30 compressions and, then, 2 rescue breaths, until your pet begins breathing again on its own.
- Check for breathing and pulse every 2 minutes.
- Continue CPR until you reach a veterinary hospital.
Wrapping it up
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use these CPR tips because it would be a traumatic situation for all involved. Installing the proper safety features and close supervision will go a long way toward ensuring you’ll never have to live through that experience.
Summer, pets, and pools—what better ingredients to create memories that will last a lifetime!