Whether it’s a river’s edge romp, a lakeside lounge, or a swim at the shore, many Pet-Parents love to take their dogs with them as they spend their hot summer days in the water. This can be a lot of fun, and great exercise for pets! Wherever you take your pet this summer, their safety is in your hands. Be sure to keep in mind the ways you can keep them safe.
Consider Your Dog’s Risk
Not all dogs are the same. A barrel-chested, short-faced breed, such as the Bulldog, is not as well-suited for swimming or hot water as other breeds. They are prone to overheating and have difficulty staying afloat.
Age is also a factor. A pet that once had the endurance to swim across the lake may not be able to go quite so far. Senior pets age more rapidly than people do.
Get the Right Gear
Whether your pet is a stoic sunbather or an unstoppable fetch athlete, be sure to bring what they need to the creek, boat, or shore at which you plan to relax. Shade is necessary, so you may consider bringing a large umbrella.
If you take your pet boating, they will need a life preserver just like your human passengers. Be sure it fits well, and preferably has a handle that will allow you to pull your pet out of the water if they fall overboard.
Fresh drinking water is critical! We have written about salt water toxicity in the past – you will need fresh water and something to drink out of for your pet at the shore. But even if you are planning to play in a freshwater creek, it’s a good idea to bring drinking water, so your pet will be less likely to drink contaminated water, which may have bacteria or algae that could make them sick.
A towel or two will be useful – first, you can dry your wet pet off. Second, if your pet overheats, you can wet the towel and apply it to the belly and groin to cool your pet.
Protect from the Sun
Some pets will need sunblock on exposed areas if they do not have sufficient fur coverage, especially around the nose and ears. Lightweight clothing can also be used – just be sure it won’t be anything that will weigh your pet down if they swim or trap in heat on a sunny day.
Be Aware of Changing Conditions
Be alert for these conditions:
- Weather. In some places, a storm can whip up quickly.
- Water temperature. Even on a warm day, the water can be very cold.
- Fast-moving water / underwater debris
- Dog’s temperature / activity / respiration rate. Don’t let your pet fall victim to heat stroke!