If you own a home with a pool, your dog’s safety should be at the forefront. Each year there are over 40,000 dog deaths due to drowning. Most of us are familiar with the “dog paddle”, however, that is not swimming, but a panic reaction which can quickly exhaust your pup and result in drowning.

If you’re up to the task of teaching your dog to swim you will experience hours of fun. If you’re not comfortable or don’t have a lot of patience, enlist the help of a trainer. They are better equipped to deal with your dog’s fears and teach him the basics.

If you don’t have the time, money or patience to teach Fido to swim, invest in a dog life vest. They provide additional buoyancy and the bright design lets your dog stay highly visible. Although the life vest is meant to keep your dog afloat, never leave your dog unattended. If your pool doesn’t have steps, there are several products that attach to the side of your pool and provide an easy grip to allow your pet to get out of the pool on their own. Some pet stores even sell doggy goggles to protect their eyes from the chlorine.

Older dogs have their own set of needs. They may be suffering from arthritis, vision loss or seizures. Check with your veterinarian to see if your dog is healthy enough to swim. Learning how to properly give dog CPR could save your dog’s life should he accidently drown in your pool. Check with the animal shelters or other animal organizations to see if they offer a class. Check with your local Red Cross organization as well.

If your dog spends most of his time outside and you are unable to supervise them, consider investing in a pool fence. They come in various styles and if a metal fence isn’t your style, considering using one of the invisible fences available on the market.

Whatever you decide, make your time in the pool enjoyable and safe for you and your furry best friend.