If you want to bring your canine friend to the lake this summer, be sure to follow a few common-sense guidelines to keep your dog safe.
¢ While on the boat, make sure your dog is under constant supervision, especially while the boat is moving. If your puppy or dog is a newcomer to the boat and water, you want to take things slowly initially to allow your pet to adjust to the movement of the boat and the noise of the engine. The goal is for your dog to thoroughly enjoy the boating experience. If your pet is too nervous or scared while on board, you may want to consider leaving the dog behind next time around. Unfortunately, not every dog will enjoy being on a boat.
¢ No matter what size your dog is, consider using a Personal (Pet) Flotation Device for him. There are quite a few companies that make them in varying sizes and specifications. It is important to properly size your dog, so bring him along when you purchase this important safety item.
No matter how good of a swimmer your dog may be, a PFD can come in handy when a dog does not realize his true swimming limitations or accidentally falls overboard.
¢ Another important safety consideration on the boat with your dog is his footing. Remember, your dog is not wearing boat shoes, so a fiberglass boat can be challenging, especially when wet. Also, a boat's surface can get quite hot on a dog's footpads, so check the deck's temperature often.
¢ Always have a shaded area for your dog to retreat to when needed. This is especially important for those daylong trips when the sun and temperature can become overwhelming for any dog (or person). Remember to bring plenty of fresh water and a bowl as well. There is never anything good about your dog drinking too much salt or lake water while playing in the surf.
¢ Make sure your dog does not exhaust himself while swimming. Your dog does not realize that he has limitations and may stay too long in the water.