Racine & Me: Swimming tips for your pets

Racine & Me: Swimming tips for your pets

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Stacy Oatman with the Wisconsin Humane Society joined us on Racine & Me to share some helpful swimming tips for your pets before sumer ends.

Just like humans, dogs enjoy cooling off in the water during these hot summer months. Swimming can be a great way to do that, but it’s important to make sure your pet is safe. First things first, never let your dog swim unattended – make sure you keep an eye on them at all times.

Not all dogs are strong swimmers and can tire out quickly in the water. Even if your dog is a great swimmer, they might not know how to get out of the pool or lake. Make sure they have a way out, like stairs or a ramp, and that they know how to use it.

For boating or sailing, you might also want to invest in a doggie life jacket to help keep them afloat and visible. Strong currents and rip tides can sweep a dog out to sea.

At the beach or lake, be aware of blue-green algae. The toxic blooms have been identified in all 50 states and can be deadly if ingested. Blue-green algae can be hiding almost anywhere from the shore to the bottom of the water.

Dogs are particularly susceptible because they drink water when they swim or play in muck on the shore then lick their wet coats. Signs of cyanobacteria poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, stumbling, stiffness, tremors, weakness, difficulty breathing and convulsions.

If you think your dog has been exposed to blue-green algae, rinse their coat and take them to an emergency vet. For more information on swimming safety, visit our website wihumane.org.

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