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How to keep your furry friends safe during pool season

Posted at 5:25 AM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 16:33:54-04

PHOENIX — The unofficial start to summer usually starts with Memorial Day pool parties.

While your family is enjoying a cool down, you have to think of that other four-legged family member: dogs.

"You've got a fur-covered toddler," laughed Kristyn Hayes with Bark Busters Home Dog Training in the East Valley. "Just like if you had your kids outside, you always want to be aware of where your dog is around water."

Hayes is a master dog behavior therapist and trainer and she said, while a dip in the pool can be fun for your pets, danger is just a slip away.

"So, if they fell in, the hazard is... that they're going to go back to where they fell in," Hayes said.

That spot is usually not where stairs or an exit is--which means your dog could be trapped and at risk for drowning.

That is the scenario that played out about one year ago in Show Low.

Laurie Becerra shared home surveillance video of her two dogs by the pool.

Her dog, Smokey, had fallen in the pool and could not get out.

"I just could not believe my eyes," Becerra said at the time.

The video shows Beccera's other dog, Remus, jumping in himself and pushing Smokey out of the water to safety.

Smokey then is seen swimming to an apparent exit or stairs himself. That is something it seems Smokey was too panicked to do on his own.

"We always want to kind of orient them to where the stairs are so they can get back out," Hayes said.

To take action for your pet, Hayes said attach your dog's collar and leash to them, like they are going for a walk.

"You always want to make... practice as fun as possible," Hayes explained.

Either stay on the pool deck or you can get in the water with them.

"You can get in the pool with him... encourage him to come in with you and then turn him around and send him back to the stairs."

Hayes said to do it over and over again so they understand where the stairs are.

Hayes also said that while the pool is great exercise for your pet, especially when a walk on the hot pavement is not possible, you need to limit their time in the water.

"Dogs don't know when they're too tired," Hayes explained. "It's like chasing a ball. They will swim and swim and swim and swim until they pass out and drown."

For more tips to keep your pets safe around water, click here.