Dog Water Safety for Your Summer Outdoor Adventures

Dog at helm of C4 Waterman SUP
Every year our family, including our pup, packs up the car and heads “up north” to the lake to meet up with the rest of our family. This means that every year, right about now I start prepping and planning for the trip- starting with safety. Baby safety and dog water safety are my number one concerns while we are at the cabin on the lake, and if I have those concerns, then I am sure you do too. So here is my list of Dog Water Safety plan.

Related: 5 Ideas for a Water-Filled, Dog-Friendly Vacation

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Dog Water Safety

Importance of a doggie life jacket for dog water safety

1. Life Jacket

Last year on the aforementioned trip our bichon-shitzu – Pepper Jones – decided he was going to swim to shore from the boat… With his short legs, deep water and distance from shore it obviously didn’t go well. Luckily he had on his puppy life jacket so while it initially was very scary, by the end it was more comical than anything (once my husband jumped in and scooped him out of the water) but it was still scary to see him out there in the water.

The number one most important thing for your dog when going out boating or paddle boarding is to make sure they have on a life jacket. Even the most experienced swimming dog can get tired while trying to get to shore- or just from fear of falling in a lake of water! It’s always better to be safe by fitting them with the perfect life jacket like this one which includes a buckle system and handle to make pulling your pup out of the water that much easier and safer.

2. Bring Water

It’s so easy to forget to bring along drinking water for your 4-legged family member when you’re going to be out on water all day long. But just like you wouldn’t drink the water, neither should your dog. Algae and other chemicals in the lake may make it dangerous or toxic for your pup, so don’t forget to bring along enough water for them and a dish they can use to drink it.

I love using this dog canteen because I can throw it over my shoulder and not have to worry about carrying another item in my hands or bag. Or, if you really don’t want to carry along anything extra, this water bottle and bowl combo is fantastic- you both can use it!

3. Create a First Aid Kit

Dogs love to get into EVERYTHING. You never know what possible dangers await them, even when you are being your absolute carefullest they may still get into something. If you’re traveling like us, where a veterinarian won’t be nearby than it’s a good idea to have some emergency supplies on hand.

My kit contains photocopies of all my dog’s medical records and shots, gauze rolls, disposable gloves, cotton balls, flea and tick medication, tweezers (porcupine needles happen), hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting if something toxic gets eaten), instant ice pack, antiseptic wipes, and a blanket (highly recommend a foil emergency one, especially for boating and freezing water issues), also always a good idea to have an additional collar and leash in your medical kit.

Or if that sounds like too much work you can always purchase a pre-made first aid kit too.

Pro tip- research area veterinarian (especially the 24 hour access ones) before you leave and make sure to have their phone numbers in your First Aid Kit too!

4. Emergency Plan

Just like you create a kit with the hope of being prepared for any emergency, it’s a good idea to have a plan for your family as well- especially when your family includes an infant who has his (or her) own very need-based schedule. Make sure to take into consideration time to get to the nearest vet or vet hospital and how to handle different situations. For example: Do some research and find out when the best way to recover a lost dog is in that area? Is it Facebook? Or the local Humane Society?

5. Sun Protection

Our bichon, Pepper, is very light skinned and in the summer we keep his fur groomed as short as we possibly can, to help keep him cool. But this also means that he is more likely to get sunburned, so spraying him down with pet sunscreen each day helps keep him protected.

6. State and Regional Laws

Every place is different when it comes to its rules about dogs. Some places don’t allow dogs in the park at all, some don’t allow them on the beaches, most require that the pup be leashed at all times, plus there are the safety rules for dogs on boats. Make sure to check with the local enforcement boards ahead of time so that you can make sure you’re being safe and legal for everyone!

Related: 5 Best Dog-Friendly State Parks

Thank you so much to Meg Marrs of K9 of Mine for sharing this terrific infographic with me for this post.

Please include attribution to K9 of Mine with this graphic.

Dog Water Safety

Tips for Dog Water Safety out on the lake and in the boat this summer as you travel with your adventure dog. Good ideas for clothing protection, life jackets and what to include in a first aid kit.

6 Thoughts on “Dog Water Safety for Your Summer Outdoor Adventures

  1. Jenny AndersonNo Gravatar on July 12, 2017 at 11:33 am said:

    Wow, learned a lot here. I didn’t even know they made doggy sunscreen. Thank you for the education!!

  2. AndreaNo Gravatar on July 12, 2017 at 11:42 am said:

    Wow this was super helpful! I had no idea there was such a thing as pet sunscreen. Found you on the Twin Cities FB page!

  3. Jennifer SingerNo Gravatar on July 12, 2017 at 11:49 am said:

    I’ve never thought about pet sunscreen before. It’s such a great idea for short haired pups.

  4. Alissa SchrankNo Gravatar on July 12, 2017 at 12:39 pm said:

    Great tips! My dog is a swimmer and the life jacket is definitely key!

  5. Jodi SussnerNo Gravatar on July 12, 2017 at 9:37 pm said:

    This is a timely post-thank you! My yellow lab loves to swim and heads into the water at our cabin constantly. I’ll be getting him a life jacket for sure!

  6. KateNo Gravatar on July 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm said:

    Such great tips! I didn’t realize there was a pet sunscreen. And, love all the ideas for a first aid kit. Definitely going to put one together this weekend.

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