Summer is just around the corner, and with Memorial Day even closer, it’s likely lots of outdoor enthusiasts will be hitting the water for boating, tubing, swimming and other fun in the sun. If your pooch will be joining you, it’s important to remember a few safety tips to keep your four-legged friend safe.
Before setting sail, you’ll want to make sure the following safety necessities are squared away.
1. Have a Life Jacket
Anytime you head out on the water, Fido should be wearing a life jacket. Even if he’s a good swimmer, accidents happen, and if your pup gets tossed overboard by an unexpected wave, a sheer moment of panic can be detrimental to your dog. Securely fasten the life vest before Fido steps foot on the boat to ensure safety.
2. Create an Emergency Plan
In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial to have a plan in place. If Fido falls off, make sure someone keeps an eye on him while the other steers the boat. Cut the engine as you get close and call Fido over to you. Jumping in the water can be dangerous, as a panicking dog is apt to inadvertently pull someone underwater. Rather, call Fido over, offer plenty of treats, and when he gets close enough, use the handle on his life jacket to pull him back onto the boat.
3. Keep Food and Fresh Water on Board
Fresh water is a must. It’s not safe for Scruffy to ingest lake or ocean water, and out in the hot sun, he can easily become dehydrated. Pack plenty of water bottles in a cooler and a small bowl he can drink from. If you’ll be gone during a mealtime, don’t forget the food and, of course, always keep some yummy treats on hand – you never know when you’ll need them.
4. Lather on the Sunscreen and Provide Shade
Dogs with thin layers of hair or fur are extremely susceptible to the sun’s harsh rays. Find a dog-friendly sunscreen at your local pet store before hitting the lake. In addition to the sun protection, make sure Scruffy has an umbrella or some area of shade in which he can cool off. Dogs – especially those with dark fur – can easily overheat.
5. Don’t Forget the Bathroom Breaks
Some owners prefer to keep a little AstroTurf potty pad on board. Not all dogs will use one, however. If that’s the case, make sure you have access to the shoreline and make stops at least every few hours so your first mate can relieve himself.
6. Practice Getting On and Off the Boat
Certain canines are adventure seekers, and a new boat provides an opportunity to explore. Others, however, are fearful of new objects and loud noises. If your pooch falls into the latter category, make sure you introduce the boat to him before his first actual ride. Let him practice getting on and off, sniffing around and acclimating himself while providing treats and positive reinforcement. Once he’s comfortable, hearing the loud engine roar on the first ride will hopefully be a little less frightening.
7. Stay Off the Bow and Stern
The body of the boat is the safest place for Scruffy. The bow and stern – or front and back of the boat – are not ideal places for your pooch. A sharp turn or unexpected wave can easily send Fido flying. Don’t worry – he’ll still feel and enjoy the wind through his hair and the saltwater tickle his nose – even from the middle of the boat.
Thanks for stopping by! We’re glad you’re here and hope you enjoyed our article about safety tips for taking your dog boating. Please feel free to share with friends, family and on social media sites as the weather gets warmer and more people head out on the water.