Understanding Water Safety and Your Dog

Dog shaking off water after swimming in lake

Hiking, camping, and exploring nature with your pet are one of the many joys of having a furry best friend. But even if your dog is pool-safe at home, natural bodies of water have other risks that could endanger your pet.

Here are our top tips for keeping your dog safe while exploring the outdoors together.

8 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe Near Water

Keep your pal safe in natural bodies of water with these top tips.

1. Don't Force Your Dog into Water

It could be the hottest day in history, but if your pet seems nervous around the  water, don't force them into it. Shock and anxiety can trigger an ingrained fear in your pet. 

2. Know Your Pet

Not all dogs can swim. Some breeds handle water amazingly, while others sink like a rock. Brachycephalic breeds with short snouts, like pugs, or bulldogs, generally struggle to stay afloat. Encourage your furbaby to stay on dry land if their breed is not known for their adaption to water. 

3. Provide a Doggie Life Jacket

Young puppy with pink lifejacket on a boat smiling and looking into camera

A float coat or life jacket for your pet is the ultimate floating and safety tool when taking your dog out on the water. If your furry friend loves being by your side while you go boating, surf, kayak, or do just about any water sport, then a doggie flotation jacket is a worthy buy. 

Many flotation jackets for dogs have solid handles and reflective trim that will help you retrieve your pet if they need help. 

Shop lifejackets here. 

4. Keep Your Dog Close

Your dog can get into all sorts of mischief if you take your eye off them. Restraining your pet might be necessary when fishing or focusing your attention elsewhere. Keeping them tied with a long leash to a nearby tree can protect them from eating your bait, chasing your fishing hook, or wandering off to unsafe areas.

5. Avoid Dirty Lakes and Ponds

Lakes and ponds can grow harmful algae that can make your pet ill. If your dog has gastrointestinal problems following a swim in a pond, it could have ingested something from the water.

Always check the water conditions to ensure the body of water isn't infected with blue or green toxic algae. Click here to learn more about toxic green and blue algae and learn where you can get updates on local testing results. 

Take your pet to the vet immediately if you notice the following symptoms: 

  • Impaired balance
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea, constipation, vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloody stools

6. Check Water Conditions

Dog in lake water looking into camera

Is there a strong current in the ocean tide or a river? Be sure to observe the water conditions before allowing your pet to dive right in, and be prepared to swim after them to ensure their safety. As your dog gets stronger, it may love drifting downstream and jumping out to run back up again. It all depends on your pet's familiarity with and strength in the water. 

7. Provide Fresh Drinking Water and Treats

Fresh, clean drinking water is essential for exercise or walking your dog. You want to keep them hydrated. Having fresh water on hand also means your pet won't drink river or lake water containing bacteria or parasites. Carrying fresh water for your pup is especially important if you're ocean-side. If your dog consumes too much salty sea water, it can suffer from high sodium levels, know as hypernatremia. And while you're at the beach, prevent your pet from eating toxic washed-up items like shellfish, sea urchins, or dead fish.

8. Dry Your Dog Properly

When the water fun is done, be sure you take the time to dry off your furbaby. Especially focus on the ears; wet ears are susceptible to infection.

Adventure Time with Your Furbaby!

The companionship of your furbaby is life-enriching. Accidents can happen fast, and protecting your pet while exploring the outdoors is essential. Taking care of your pet while participating in outdoor adventures ensures that you both can come home safely. 

Visit petsonbroadway.com for products to ensure your dog's health and happiness.