Summer is finally here, and we are all ready to get out and enjoy our many lakes! For dog owners, this probably means bringing your furry friend along for a day on the water. Here are a few tips to make sure the boat ride is safe and fun for everyone:
1. Safety first! Think about the potential hazards of boating for your dog. Going overboard, slippery surfaces, heat stroke, and dehydration are some of the main concerns. Be sure to invest in and bring along a life jacket that fits your dog properly, a first aid kit, a water dish and water bottle, and sunscreen. Lighter colored dogs are in danger of being sunburned. The areas that are most at-risk for sunburn are dogs’ noses and top of their muzzle, and any other areas with thin hair. You can use a light, unscented SPF 15 sunscreen on these areas.
2. Plan ahead. Talk with your family and friends about a plan for if your dog goes overboard. What will each person do? Someone should stop the motor, another person call to the dog, and several people to lift the dog back into the boat. Walk through the plan beforehand if possible. This will help everyone stay calm if an incident occurs.
3. Give your dog time to adjust. Especially if your dog hasn’t spent much time on a boat, you’ll want your dog to become comfortable and make their boating experience a positive one. Give your dog several opportunities to get used to everything from wearing the life jacket to the motion of the boat in the water before the actual trip. Have your dog wear the life jacket at home for brief sessions, and take your dog out on the boat for short periods of time before the trip. Make the first several trips on the boat with your dog shorter. If your dog acts fearful, give lots of treats and progress slowly in gradual steps.
Please let us know if you have any questions about boating with your dog! Have a safe and happy start to the season of summer fun!
Photo Credit: dogsmagazin.cz