Community Cares: Expert offers tips on how to keep dogs safe around water

People should always watch their kids around water, but it is also important for people to watch their dogs around water.

According to officials with the Arizona Animal Welfare League, the number of dog drownings are up.

"The common misconception might be that with the puppy paddle, that all dogs are born natural-born swimmers, and that's not necessarily true," said Kimberly Vermillion with AAWL. "We just want to make sure that we are mindful of that in keeping an eye around water when we're with them."

Vermillion says there are dog breeds that will never learn to swim, while some dogs will be slow to like the water

"You want to take it real slow when you are introducing your dog to water for the first time," said Vermillion. "Just have them go on the steps. Have their paws in the water, make sure that they are getting comfortable with it. Use a lot of praise and positive reinforcement. Then, as they are getting more comfortable, you can get them deeper in the water."

People should also make sure there are barriers around their pool, so that their pup won't fall in, unsupervised.

Experts also say even if a dog is a natural-born swimmer, there are a few things that people will want to keep in mind

"You never want to throw your dog into the pool, and you never want to force them in because that is negative interaction, and they will never be comfortable in the water," said Vermillion.

Other things to be aware of include making sure that after they get out of the water, and rinsing them off so they don't have any chlorine on them that can irritate their skin. Also, people should make sure dogs don't drink pool water by giving them plenty of shade and fresh water.

"Life jacket is a great option, as you are introducing water to your pup," said Vermillion. "It's great if they are learning how to swim to keep them safe, so they never have to worry about going underwater. It's also great if you are going to bring your dog onto the boat and you're on a lake, because a life vest will keep them safe. If they accidently fall overboard, you don't have to worry that they might not be able to stay above water."

People should also speak with their veterinarians for aadvice.