Most household pets — cats and dogs — naturally know how to swim. Many breeds of dogs love being in the water, while others will avoid it at all cost. Cats generally don’t want to get wet, but they can still fall in the pool when startled by trick or treaters, being chased, or just plain being clumsy and slipping while walking along the edge. Cats in particular can have a hard time climbing out the steep sides of the pool.
Just like kids, your pets need swimming pool supervision. We suggest you don’t leave them alone around the pool if you can help it, especially at night.
Unless your pool is heated, water temperatures in the Phoenix area can drop to a chilly 40 – 50 degrees during the winter months. Pets can suffer hypothermia (lowering of body temperature) just like people. So if you pet does fall in, towel them dry immediately. Rubbing against the fur stimulates blood flow and circulation. Be warned, cats are not overly fond of this procedure and may resist strenuously. But it is important to get your pet dry and warm as soon as possible.
Of course, keeping some breeds of dogs out of the pool can be a real challenge. Labs, retrievers, setters, Portuguese water dogs and other breeds just have to dive in no matter how cold. Here are some signs to watch out for to see if your pet is becoming too chilled: slow pulse, slow breathing, unresponsive mental state, cold skin, low rectal temperature. If the body temperature drops too low, your pet can experience an irregular heartbeat, dehydration, unconsciousness and eventually death.
So keep a close eye on your furry friends around the pool, especially during the fall and winter months.