Did you get your invite?
Dogs all across Nashville, get your swim trunks on and your beach towels ready – because local swimming pools are celebrating the end of summer by inviting YOU to come for one last dog-friendly splash!!
Many community pools begin their shutdown for the winter months by offering dog owners a chance to bring their best buds for a dip in the pool. Almost all of these Puppy Pool Parties help support local non-profit groups.
So if you’re planning to slather on the sunscreen and head for a Doggie Splash Day, here are a few pointers to make your swim time a success.
TIPS FOR A ROCKIN’ POOL PARTY…
- Arrive Early. All of these events will have a legal limit as to how many dogs/humans can be in the pool area. If you show up late, you may find yourself out of luck and watching through the fence.
- Bring the Required Items. We’ve attended four canine swims in the past, and each year, I’ve witnessed people turned away for not bringing proof-of-rabies or other required documentation. Don’t be that person! Your dog will be brokenhearted…
- Bring a Float Coat if needed.
- Be Prepared for Lots of Potty Breaks. Something about pools and water and swimming makes dogs have to answer the call of nature. A LOT! Bring plenty of clean-up bags. Take breaks every so often to remind your dog to potty outside the pool area. Accidents happen but you can do your part to prevent them.
- Have Patience. Your doggie may jump right in the lake or your own pool at home, but even water-loving dogs can be shy in a crowd of excited canines. Let your dog take the lead in getting in the pool. If you can jump in the water and coax him to join you, great! But never push or throw your dog in the pool – event organizers will not be happy with you…and neither will your dog.
- Leave Nails Untrimmed. Weird advice, right? But we found out the hard way that wet concrete and excited running dogs equals the best nail grind you’ve ever seen…all the way to the quick! Some doggie swims have veterinarian staff onsite that will have something on hand to stop the bleeding. If you notice a bloody nail, time to call it a day.
- Be Your Dog’s Lifeguard. It goes without saying but I’m saying it anyway – keep your eyes on your dog at all times while at the pool, just as you would a small child. You dog may be the strongest swimmer in the world and yet still may need your assistance.
- Be Your Dog’s Advocate. Most organizers provide balls and other toys for pups to enjoy in the pool, but some dogs that aren’t used to sharing may have some resource guarding issues. Be ready to divert any confrontations that might arise.
- Take Breaks. Dozens of excited dogs splashing, running, jumping, playing – who wants to stop having fun?? Some dogs will swim ‘way past the time their energy levels are up. As a good doggie parent, it’s your job to ask them to take a break away from the pool. Rest, have a treat, take a walk and potty.
- Which brings us to an important topic about water safety and dogs – a rare but potentially fatal condition known as water intoxication or hyponatremia. This condition can occur in dogs who love water, especially those who love to retrieve toys thrown into the water. When a dog takes in too much water too quickly, it can dilute the blood chemistry, upsetting the electrolyte balance. You can read all the specifics in this post. While you’re enjoying water time with your dog, keep a watchful eye for signs of water intoxication.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO…
With so many different events all around town, it’s absolutely essential you do your research before you plan on attending. Some of the events require pre-registration. Some sell tickets at the gate. Some have separate swim times for large and small dogs. Some allow owners to swim with their pets and some allow dogs-only in the pool. Different weather cancellation policies and some have rain dates and some don’t. ALL have vaccination requirements. Rabies tags/certificates are required for all of them – so be sure you check their websites and/or call. Make sure you know what to bring so you’re not caught by surprise.