Ahoy! Keep Your Dog Afloat with Boating and Water Safety

Did you know that not all dogs instinctively know how to doggie paddle? Some dogs aren’t even capable of keeping their heads above water as they try to swim. As we reach the perfect time of year to enjoy some fun in the sun and some watery adventures, we want to make sure you have what you need to know to keep your dog safe in and around the water (water wings not included).

Boating Safety

Are you bringing your dog aboard for a boating trip? If so, here what you need to know to keep your pup safe and all paws on-deck!

1. A Life Jacket Could Save Your Pup’s Life

Even if your dog is a great swimmer, a life jacket is a must. If your pup were to slip and fall overboard, he may get knocked unconscious and not be able to swim. This one is a better safe than sorry necessity.

2. Plan for a Plunge

Dogs can be erratic. We see dogs that jump from car windows even though they’ve been fine riding with the window down for years. Make sure you know what you plan on doing if your dog decides to jump, or slips, off the deck. Do you have answers to these questions?

  • Who will monitor your dog while others are piloting the boat, skiing, etc?
  • Who will go in and lift the dog back on the boat?
  • Do you have a ladder or a diving platform to make it easier to get large dogs back onboard?
  • Can your dog swim well enough to paddle back to the boat?

3. A Fido Friendly First-Aid Kit

Does your boating first-aid kit have all the dog-friendly items you may need? Along with your standard alcohol swabs and bandages, make sure you also have: 

  • Styptic powder 
  • A fabric or soft muzzle
  • An extra leash and collar
  • A towel or blanket
  • Bottled water
  • A magnifying glass 
  • A flashlight.

4. Sun Safety

Dogs with thin or light-colored coats can get sunburned on their backs. Be sure to liberally massage (and reapply) a zinc-free dog-friendly sunblock into their fur, down their skin and remember all dogs’ noses are prone to sunburn. Apply a dog-friendly sunblock there, too - and remember to reapply as needed.

5. Water, Water Everywhere and Some in a Bowl to Drink

The heat this time of year can be dangerous for dogs. Bring as much water as you think you may need plus some extra. Keep your dog’s bowl full and out of the sun.

Dog Swimming Safety

Slow and Steady

Puppies and adult dogs can all use swim lessons when taking a dip is new to them. If you just adopted your dog, don’t rush the swimming process if it’s new to them. Before you plan a full day at the lake, take them to a nearby body of water with a gentle incline and let them slowly wade in. Ideally, you will be beside them.

Never force your dog into the water if he’s not up for it.

And it’s important to remember some dogs just aren’t built to swim. Frenchies, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and other short-snouted, top-heavy dogs may not be able to keep themselves afloat. They can also struggle to breathe. It’s important to keep a life preserver on these dogs.

Don’t Drink the Water

It can be tough, but try to prevent your dog from drinking too much lake water. If you’re headed to the beach, the same goes for saltwater (although most dogs find the salt off-putting).  Keeping clean, fresh, cool water available will help with this.

Rinse Your Pup Afterwards and Dry Those Ears

After your dog is done with his doggie dip, rinse him with fresh water. Gently dry out your dog’s ears to help prevent infection.

Always keep an eye on your pup when swimming or boating and never leave fish hooks or bait where your dog can reach them. Provide a shady spot where your dog can relax whether you’re lakeside, beachside, or on the boat.

We hope you have a blast with your furry best friend as you enjoy some fun in the sun!

Photo credit: Lisa5201