As important as water safety is for humans, don’t forget about it when boating with dogs too!

As the summer season approaches, we all look forward to spending more time on the water with our dogs!

Many dog owners immediately head to the lake, beach, or pool for some R&R. Most dogs love water and are natural swimmers, but some breeds are a little less graceful than others when it comes to the doggy-paddle.

Safe and responsible boating is always encouraged. With a pup in tow, taking a few extra precautions will make an afternoon on the water more enjoyable for everyone. The better you plan, the better off you will be.

Here are a few essential safety tips to keep in mind before hopping on the boat!

Safety Tips for Boating with Dogs

Know Your Dog

As much as we’d all like to believe dogs are our ride-or-die companions, the fact is that not all breeds are cut out for a day on the water. Even natural-born water dogs, like Golden Retrievers and Labs, tire out. And some of them aren’t a fan, to begin with!

Regardless of the breed, you must know your dog’s limits around the heat and water. If your dog cannot swim or doesn’t enjoy being in the water, perhaps a hot day on the lake isn’t the best idea.

Smaller dogs that are closer to the ground can become overheated quickly. If your pup seems tired, restless, or unable to relax, it may be time to call it a day.

Pack Fresh Water

Always make sure your dog has access to fresh, cool water. If it’s sweltering, add a few ice cubes or large blocks of ice. If ice cubes are a regular treat for your pup, they may think they’ve hit the jackpot!

You can find collapsible silicone dog bowls at most pet stores. Fill it with plenty of fresh, cool water and a few ice cubes if needed.

Need a tip to keep water cold all day long? Fill the water bowl halfway with water and freeze it the night before. Top it off with fresh water while boating with your dogs, and the water will stay cold for longer.

Find Shade

Does your boat have a covered area for your pup to relax? Even if your dog is outdoorsy, make sure there is plenty of shade for them to retreat. Set up the boat’s bimini or a large umbrella for a break from the hot sun.

Remember, certain breeds overheat faster than others. Especially if they aren’t used to the water, jumping in to cool down may not seem obvious to your pup initially.

Give a little encouragement with a few water toys, but never force or toss your dog into the water.

Also, if your dog has a thinner coat, use dog-friendly sunscreen to protect their skin from the sun.

Get a Life Jacket

If your dog is a water hound, you may feel as if a life jacket isn’t necessary. But, if you are doing any watersports and your dog is along for the ride, there is always a chance for your pup to take a dip – planned or not. When that happens, a life jacket will come in handy.

Doggy life jackets fit like a harness. Most of them have a handle on top, so you can help your larger dog out of the water or scoop the smaller ones up with one arm. You can easily attach a leash, which is convenient for getting in and out of the car and boat.

The AKC has plenty of life jacket recommendations for all breeds, sizes, and activities. These are the perfect, and most important, accessories for boating with dogs.

Summers are a wonderful time to do fun activities with your pet. Be sure to take precautions to continue having incredible adventures with your dog! As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call!