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Summer is here, and many dog owners enjoy taking their dogs along when they go to the lake, the beach, or the pool. Educating your puppy buyers about water safety for their dogs is a good idea, as many people don’t understand that all dogs can’t swim or that there are some serious hazards in the water.

Learning to swim should be a good experience; a bad one can cause a dog to never want to go near the water. Dogs should be first introduced to shallow water, and wear a lifejacket designed for dogs while learning. For tips, share How to Teach a Dog to Swim with your puppies’ new families.

Boating trips can be fun for dogs. The same rules that apply to humans, regarding lifejackets, should also be followed for dogs. Always use one when boating or kayaking.

When playing fetch, flat toys rather than balls should be used. A ball can make it easy for dogs to take in too much water. Water Intoxication is potentially deadly. Another serious danger is blue-green algae, something that has been in the news over the last few summers. Read Blue-Green Algae and Dogs: Symptoms and Prevention to learn how to avoid it. This bacterium (it’s not actually algae) is found in non-flowing fresh water during hot weather and dogs are at risk of consuming a potentially fatal amount when playing in it.

For dogs going to the beach, Taking Your Dog to the Beach: Tips & Safety is a good place to start. Many beaches do not allow dogs during the summer or have special hours for them. Dogs should not drink salt water or consume sand, sea critters like jelly fish, or seaweed.

Just as on any outdoor summer outing, always take plenty of clean water and have shade available for your dog, whether you are playing in salt or fresh water. Just because most dogs will drink from a lake doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Fresh water should be available.

Encourage your buyers to try a sport that offers an exciting and safe way for your dog to enjoy water. Dock diving has become very popular, and the AKC Diving Dogs title recognition program is the best place to start. Every breed, including mixed breeds, is welcome. Visit North America Diving Dogs to learn about it and to find a training facility.