Spending the weekend with your canine companion in the sun and water is a great way to have fun and stay active whether on the beach, dock or boat. However, it is important to be safe while doing so. Here are a few ways to stay protected:
#1 – Wear a life jacket. That’s right; they make life jackets for dogs too! The essential vests keep your pet buoyant making it easier for them to swim around and prevent drowning. Wearing a life jacket that is bright in colour also makes your dog more visible to oncoming boaters. When purchasing a life jacket ensure it fits your dog properly, bringing them to the store with you to try it on is a great idea.
#2- Provide fresh water. Bringing a supply of clean fresh water is important to keep your pet well hydrated and cool. If fresh water is unavailable, your dog may be more likely to drink from a lake or pond, which may be contaminated with parasites, toxins or garbage. You should also keep a close eye on your dog and avoid letting them eat any dead fish, garbage or feces that may be around the water.
#3- Supervision. Just like people, not all dogs are excellent swimmers. Do not leave them unattended or allow them to swim too far from you while in the water. Keeping them close to shore or the boat, especially when new to swimming, is important in the event of an emergency. If your dog is new to the water or riding in a boat introduce them gradually, keeping trips short and positive.
#4 – Sunscreen. Dogs, especially light coloured dogs, are susceptible to sunburn as well. Spray sunscreens made for babies or children that are waterproof are a great choice for our pets. Make sure to avoid contact with your pet’s eyes and do not use zinc oxide cream. Providing shade or putting a t-shirt on your dog is also a good way to protect their skin from the sun.