As summer approaches, dog owners will be heading to beaches, taking the boat out for that first outing on the lake or in the ocean. If you are like most dog owners, the family pet comes along for the ride. Boating requires safety for not only humans but for your dog as well.
The law requires a life jacket for every human occupant on the boat; however, nothing is required for your dog. Most pet owners are under the misconception that all dogs know how to swim. This is far from true, just ask the owners of pugs or bulldogs.
When these breeds hit the water, they sink like a rock. Basset Hounds and Dachshunds as well make poor swimmers; their long backs and short legs make it all most impossible to keep their head above water. Even breeds that seem just as at home in the water as they do on land can fall victim to drowning.
Which is why having a dog life jacket available for your dog while boating or even swimming at the beach is a must have for their protection. Although it may seem overly protective to outfit your dog in a life jacket on the beach, your dog will want to partake in the fun of sloshing around with the family and can easily drown if left unprotected.
In ground pools, also pose a danger for the family pet as well as children. Should your dog accidently chase a ball that lands in the pool your dog will follow. If this happens and your dog becomes trapped in the pool unable to climb out a pet owners instinct is to jump in and grab the dog.
When you do this, there are a few things you should be aware of; the first is that a scared frightened dog may bit and their nails will dig as you try to help them out of the pool. If you find your dog unconscious performing CPR and removing the water, out of their lungs is not unlike the treatment for humans.
1. Remove any obstruction.
Open the animals mouth and make sure the air passage is clear. If not remove the object obstructing the air passage.
2. Extend the head and give several artificial respirations:
A. For large dogs: close the animal’s jaw tightly and breathe into the nose. The animal’s chest should rise. Give 2 breaths.
B. For small dogs and cats you may be able to cover the nose and mouth with your mouth as you breathe. The animal’s chest should rise. Give 2 breaths.
3. Next perform chest compression
A. For large dogs you may be able to position the dogs on its back and compress the chest just like for humans.
B. For small dogs and cats as well as large dogs with funnel chests, you may need to lie the animal on its side and compress the side of the rib cage. Alternatively, you can position the animal on its back and press on both sides of the rib cage. Turn their head to the side as you compress the chest to allow any water to flow out of their lungs.
C. The rate of chest compressions varies with the size of the animal
i. Dogs over 60 lbs: 60 compressions per minute
ii. Animals 11 to 60 lbs: 80-100 compressions per minute
iii. Animals 10 lbs or less: 120 compressions per minute
4. Alternate breaths with compressions
The ratio of compressions to breaths should be approximately the same as for humans – 30:2 Continue doing this until the animal responds or begins to breathe on its own.
Prevention is the best medicine when comes to pet safety. Outfitting your four-legged family member in a dog life jacket will give you some peace of mind while enjoying a fun happy summer while boating. Keeping an in ground pool securely sectioned off and out of reach to both children and pets is more than worth the effort when compared to the unthinkable.