MarciFor many school-aged children, summer is officially over.  As kids head back to the classrooms, canines are perking up for their yearly end-of-summer trip to a place that is usually off limits – a local public swimming pool or water park.


■Check out the event’s requirements before you head out. Many require that dogs wear their ID and rabies tags on their collars, and some allow you to bring in vaccination records. Some only allow sterilized dogs to attend. Under NO circumstances should a dog in heat be brought to a large dog event.
■Expect a wide variety of dogs and humans. You can expect to see anywhere from twenty to fifty (or more) dogs at these events. All types of dogs and people are in attendance: from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, and toddlers to grandparents. “It’s a fantastic socializing time for you and your dog,” says dog owner Doug Emes.
■Bring treats, plenty of towels, and a few tennis balls or other replaceable toys. Some dogs cannot tell the difference between their ball and yours, so plan on carrying at least one spare. And if it doesn’t end up back in your bag at the end of the day, you won’t be too worried about it.
■Locate the event’s first aid area when you arrive. If something happens and your dog needs medical attention, you’ll want to know where to go. If there is no designated first aid area, ask around and see if someone knows Pet First Aid and CPR. Even better, take a class before you go!
■Let your dog get his bearings before entering the pool. Some dogs immediately fall in love with the water, and some need time to get used to it. Don’t force it, or else your dog might creative a negative association with the water.
■Watch your dog for signs of distress. Whether it’s nerves, heat, over-excitement, or a sprained muscle from playing too hard, just make sure your dog is safe at all times. If you see your dog experiencing distress in any way, bring him in from the play area and check him out thoroughly. If your dog needs help, head to the first aid area or closest emergency vet clinic.