Splish, Splash


This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Sandra Layton


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Get Your Dog in the Pool With These Amazing Homemade Floaties

Any dog owner knows how hard it is to say no to those melting puppy eyes when they are begging for something that could harm them, from eating chocolates to jumping into the swimming pool with the rest of the family. It is definitely the right choice to prioritize your pooch’s safety, but just because something is bad doesn’t mean there isn’t a way around it. You can buy your dog a special dog-friendly floatie but instead of spending money on a dog float, why not recycle some old materials to make a raft or floating aid that works just as well? Dog floaties aren’t hard or expensive to make at home at all — all you need is some old materials, some string and one very brave dog to do the test the float out.

When it comes to floaties for dogs, it’s pretty similar to what you would give to a young hild. The materials used to make dog floaties can be recycled from old pool toys that your child used in the past so you can save costs. After all, your dog will not be able to tell the
difference and he or she would still have loads of fun with simple, homemade floaties. Here
are five easy ways to make a DIY floatie to get your dog into the pool.

Photo by Pexels


1. Use plastic bottles to make body floats

Young children usually start learning swimming with the aid of arm floats which help to keepthem buoyant. You can make these for your dog too, by using empty plastic bottles. The size of the bottles depends on how big your dog is. Naturally, smaller dogs like toy breeds would require smaller plastic bottles – a 0.5-liter bottle would work great. As for bigger dogs like retrievers or spaniels, 1.5-liter bottles would probably work better and keep their heavier weight afloat. Because water bottles aren’t made of highly buoyant material like the arm floats that kids use, you won’t be strapping these DIY floatation aids to your dog’s limbs. Instead, you’ll be tying them to the body instead, for maximum support. For this, all you’ll need is some waterproof string, and raffia or twine are pretty good choices. Make sure the length of your string is sufficient long because you’ll need to loop it many times around the bottle itself first to keep it secure. After making rounds around every part of the bottle, use the remaining part of the string to tie the bottle to your dog’s side and hey presto, you and your canine companion are ready to take a dip! This may not be the most fashionable floatie, but it works and that’s all that will matter to your dog.

Even with these floaties on, it’s still important that you supervise your dog in the pool, in case the strings come loose. Also, make sure you cap the bottle lid on tightly so water oesn’t getand make the bottles lose their buoyancy.

2. Reuse old kiddie pools

An old kiddie pool that your children outgrew makes a wonderful second-hand floaty for your dog. You don’t even need to fiddle with strings or DIY anything. All you need is to find a kiddie pool that fits your dog, throw it into the big pool and get your dog used to the eeling of being afloat. If you have a nervous dog who can’t relax in the kiddie pool when in water, try letting him or her get accustomed to the feeling of being in the kiddie pool on land irst. Shift the kiddie pool closer and closer to the waters edge gradually — this will help even the most water-fearing dogs get over their phobia.

3. Make a log raft out of pool noodles?

Remember the pool noodles that kids absolutely adore playing with? They make excellent building materials for a DIY log raft. For this, you will need a mixture of long and medium-
length pool noodles. The long ones are to create the surface for your dog to lie on, while the
shorter ones will be tied to the bottom to support your dog’s weight. Depending on how big your dog is, you will need about four to six long pool noodles and two to three medium ones.
If you can get hold of a PVC pipe too, that will provide even more buoyant force to keep the
raft safer. Get a sturdy waterproof string and secure all the different components together to
make a log raft that your dog can lazily sail on for hours.

4. Create a floating platform using mats

For dogs that love running around and getting wet equally, make a floating platform that
stretches from one end of the pool to the other so your dog can splash some waves while
racing down this runway. To make a floating platform, you will need a lot of floating mats.
Line these up on the water surface and make sure they overlap for extra support. It’s as
easy as that! As a safety precaution, you should stay alert and get yourself ready to help
your dog in case they fall off the platform.

5. Make a pool ramp out of old pool mats

If floating mats aren’t available to you, you can opt to use rubber pool mats instead. The
larger surface area of the pool mat means you can do more with it, such as creating a pool
ramp so your dog can conquer the jump from the edge into the water with more ease. Pool
ramps also add an extra dimension of fun to the regular old swimming. It’s like water slides
or dive boards for dogs and provides them with a thrilling way to enter the pool. With the help of some imagination and a couple of old materials that your children used to swim with, you can create many different kinds of dog pool floaties to provide your dog with endless entertainment. These homemade floaties will put an end to all the times your dog can only whine from ashore while the rest of the family are having fun.

PGAA has had Golden Retrievers for the past 25 years so we can only support Sandra’s emphasis on water safety. I have our latesgt Golden in every day and always wear a long shirt covering my arms – dogs have nails and use them maintain their own “floatability” concerns.