Owning a pool can provide endless hours of fun for you, your family, and of course your guests, but every type of pool carries certain responsibilities when it comes to safety, as well.
Far too often there are stories of tragedy when a pool is not properly secured, or when swimmers – especially young ones – are not adequately supervised.
Unfortunately, these accidents also happen to family pets, and other wildlife as well. It is estimated that around 5000 family pets drown in swimming pools each year. Here are some things to consider so you can do your best to prevent such a tragedy.
Cats and dogs are some of America’s most common household pets. Most dogs and even cats can swim for a short while, but if they become fatigued and cannot exit the water, they can begin to panic, and that will cause them to become exhausted even more quickly.
Pets belonging to your friends and family, those belonging to your neighbors, and even stray animals are at a higher risk when it comes to pool safety. These animals may not be experienced with pools, or even accustomed to swimming at all, and can often be unable to figure out how to exit the pool by themselves.
All animals in your home that could potentially access the pool (and yes, this includes your outdoor housecat) should be trained to exit the pool for safety. This includes those that visit frequently, or have come for an extended stay, even if you don’t normally allow them to swim, and even if they do not like the water. Much like a visit to the vet, they may not enjoy the process, but it is an important safety measure. If you have a dog of your own that DOES enjoy swimming, invest in a special dog life jacket for those times when they are enjoying the pool with you, and never allow an animal access to the pool without supervision.
wildlife of almost any variety such as birds, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and very often including deer, are often discovered in pools. Depending on where you live, you may even encounter alligators, moose, or even a bear taking a quick dip to cool off in the water. This means that your pool is not only a danger to wildlife, but also can attract dangerous wildlife to your home and put your family at risk.
The number one thing you should do as a responsible pool owner is invest in and properly maintain an appropriate pool fence. Other options to increase the safety of your pool area include pool alarms, (which can alert you if anything enters the water when you aren’t there) a pool cover, (especially if your pool is used infrequently or you plan to be away on vacation for any length of time) and exit ramps if your pool does not have built in stairs. These items all provide additional layers of protection for people, pets, and wildlife alike.