Summer took its time getting here this year, even in the Las Vegas desert where I live. But the clear blue skies and triple digit heat have finally arrived. That means it’s time to get your dog, able-bodied or not, into the pool to have some fun. To keep your paralyzed dog swimming happily this summer and keep them safe I turned to two of my favorite companies for advice.
I found the best waterproof swim diapers and a stylish swim life jacket. Both are made specifically to get paralyzed and incontinent pups into the water.
So, if your dog loves to splash in a swimming pool you’re going to love the gear that will give them the opportunity.
Note: I am not being compensated for this story, but there are affiliate links in this article. I only endorse products I think will benefit readers and their pets
Swim diapers for incontinent dogs
If you’re a regular reader of LFPD, you know how much I respect the people at Barkertime®. They make every product imaginable for incontinent dogs and cats. From their escape-proof washable diapers to their PeeJama® that keeps diapers in place, Barkertime designs high quality products that make life better for your fur kid.
The swim diapers were originally intended for incontinent dogs who were doing hydrotherapy as part of their rehab due to disc disease or after spine surgery. Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy, paralysis and senior pets with arthritis also benefit from them.
But the best part of this product is their ability to give your dog the freedom to be in the water just for fun.
Barkertime swim diapers are completely waterproof and made to contain the accidental release of urine or fecal matter. The diaper includes a built-in “gusset” that stops leakage and cleans up easily.
And like the other Barkertime products, the swim diapers come in 8 bright, trend-setting styles. Click here to learn more.
Swim vest for paralyzed dog
I’ve known HandicappedPets.com since 2008 when my dog Sophie became a paraplegic. In addition to making their adjustable Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair, the company offers rehab devices, orthotics, slings, incontinent dog beds and more.
Their new Swimmin’ Vest will keep your pup safe and stylish in the pool. (Of course, adult supervision is required)
This is a full-body life jacket made in bright orange with reflective trim so it can be easily seen.
- Adjustable closures under the belly and across the chest
- Nylon strapping and quick-release clips for extra security
- Reinforced grab handle and leash clip on the back
- Closed-cell foam pads covered with abrasion-resistant materials
Tips to keep your dog safe this summer
Your dog’s main goal in life is to be with you whether it’s chilly outside or boiling hot. So even though they might not complain about the heat during the summer months, it’s up to us to protect them. The soaring temperatures cause too many pets to become sick or die each year. But with some simple planning, we can keep our pets safe.
Here are easy tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you have plenty of cool water on hand. Keep extra water bowls handy wherever your pup goes. Dogs don’t sweat the way people do, so keep them well-hydrated to prevent heat stroke. Signs of dehydration include dry gums, loss of skin elasticity and excessive drooling. A collapsible water bowl like this one will do the trick.
- Walk your dog before the temperatures rise. The hot pavement under their paws can cause severe burns. Protect their paws with lightweight boots or paw pads.
- Use a cooling gel dog collar to keep their body temperature down while they’re outdoors.
- Protect their skin from the sun. Sunscreen should be applied to your dog’s nose and the tips of the ears if they’re going to be outdoors for more than a few minutes. You can also apply it to their skin, if their coat is thin and their skin is fair.
- Protect your dog’s eyes from the UV light of the summer sun. My German shepherd was particularly sensitive so we turned to Doggles to keep his eyes safe. The lightweight dog sunglasses keep out the wind, foreign objects and UV light.
- Never leave your pup alone in the car. It heats up quicker than you expect in the summer and acts like an oven. Even when the temperature is in the 70s outside, it can rise to 100 degrees in your car.
- Watch for signs of heat stroke. Dogs are susceptible to this life-threatening condition because they can’t sweat the way humans do. Their only sweat glands are in their paws and this limits their ability to cool down their body temperature. The problem is even worse for pups with disabilities and medical conditions.
Signs of heat stroke:
- Elevated body temperature above 103 degrees
- Excessive panting
- Extremely red gums
- Rapid heart beat
- Breathing problems
- Muscle tremors
- Wobbly, uncoordinated gait
How to treat heat stroke:
The overall goal is to slowly cool down your dog’s body. (You can cause more damage if the cooling off period is too fast.)
- Bring the dog indoors if possible.
- Put ice in their water bowl.
- Lay cool wet towels over their body.
- Wet your dog with cool water from a hose if you can’t get indoors.
- Fill a wading pool with cool water. Be sure their head is above the water.
- Take your dog to a veterinarian if the above treatments do not work.