Surf and Sun: Swimming and Boating with Your Dog
Let’s face it; we live in an amazing place with fun-in-the-sun boating opportunities surrounding us, from green-blue lakes to the wild Gulf Coast. So, it is understandable why we love our time on the water during the hottest months of the summer scorch. So Grab the cooler! Bring the family! And, of course, bring the family dog, too!
Our dogs do love to accompany us on these journeys to the lake or seashore. But, there are some risks associated with water and our pets. Before you stow away your friend’s dog bowl, here are some of the safety measures you can take to make your pet’s time on the water a memorable, fun-filled experience.
First, the Float!
By float, we mean Pet Floatation Device or PFD. That’s right! There are PFDs made specifically for dogs of all sizes and work quite like our own life jackets. It’s important to understand that dogs, like us, get tired in the water. PFDs should be worn at all times near the water, whether on the dock or in the boat.
When choosing your dog’s PFD, look for features such as brightly colored material that’s easy to spot on water, lifting “handles” included on the PFD (preferably on the top of the PFD), and a comfortable, yet snug fit. Consider bringing your pet into the store for a professional fitting when possible.
Baby, it’s Hot Out There!
Keep fresh drinking water around to avoid dehydration and reduce your dog’s desire to drink lake water. Lake water or fresh water often contains potentially life-threatening parasites, such as Giardia and Leptospira, which can be transmitted to humans, too.
Keep your dog’s sensitive paws away from hot surfaces and sand by purchasing protective footwear. And, don’t forget the shade! Provide breaks from the sun’s harsh rays with a screened or shaded area to avoid heat related distress and illnesses.
Close to Shore (and You)
Never leave your pet unattended for any amount of time. If you are on the ocean, be especially vigilant about your dog’s whereabouts, as waves can quickly pull your pet out of reach and rescue. When boating and swimming, make sure your dog is able to access a place to board the boat, or equip your dog with a PFD with handles built-in for lifting.
Potential Health Issues
Lakes and beaches are also hosts to a wide world of wildlife. Prevent bites, stings, and unfortunate encounters by keeping your dog on a leash or ensuring he or she responds to commands. Check to see what additional vaccinations or preventatives might be needed prior to being exposed to seasonal risks by scheduling a wellness exam.
Keep an eye on your dog’s well-being in the days following your lake or ocean visit. Watch for water- or heat-related problems, such as ear rubbing, red or swollen ear canals, or a dull, dry coat and gums. A dry coat and taut skin without elasticity can sometimes indicate dehydration, which can occur quickly (believe it or not) near water.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding boating with your dog, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help and review any potential preventatives your pet might need for his or her next great adventure.
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!