Boating Safety for Fido
At Planet Bark we are passionate about dog safety and since we spend a majority of the summer on or near the water here in Charleston, we thought we would take a look at boating safety for dogs.
When planning on having your dog or a friend’s dog join you on your next boating adventure, don't assume that all dogs can swim, because they can't. Also, those that can swim may not be great swimmers. If your dog accidently falls overboard, it is important to be able to retrieve them quickly to avoid the risk of exhaustion or hypothermia.
Older dogs may tire easily and breeds prone to hip dysphasia may have difficulty swimming. "No matter how well a dog can swim under supervision, any dog can drown," reports Georgia Molek, a veterinarian from the American Animal Hospital Association. "All dogs can get fatigued, too, and/or become disoriented. Life jackets are a good idea but they should never replace caution and common sense."
If you've never brought your dog on a boat, don't assume they will enjoy boating. They often prefer still and stable surfaces. A day or so before you plan on taking your dog boating, allow them to get acquainted with the boat while it is still on the trailer or at the dock. Your next step is to crank the engine since it may be an unfamiliar sound to your dog.
Make your first outing on the water a short one just to allow your dog the opportunity to get acclimated to boat movement. Humans get seasick so there is no reason to think your dog will not do the same.
Once you know your dog will enjoy the boating life, here are a few things to think about when planning your adventure.
- Life Jackets are essential, there are Pet Flotation Devices that are made just for dogs and may be purchased at most major marine vendors. You can also go to http://www.ruffwear.com and go to the float coat section or visit http://www.orvis.com and look at the surf and turf jacket.
- Make sure the PFD fits securely and allow your dog a chance to practice swimming while wearing it. If your dog has never worn a PFD they may be resistant to it at first. Give them time to get acquainted with it before actually getting on the boat.
- Always bring enough fresh drinking water for your dog. Dogs lose fair amounts of body fluid when they pant, so be sure to keep them hydrated.
- Excessive sun exposure can cause heat problems for dogs. Just as with humans, they include sun stroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. Providing a shaded area for your dog is a good idea. Let them take a dip in the water to cool them down if necessary.
- Boat surfaces, such as fiberglass, can get extremely hot in the sun. Dogs absorb heat through the pads on their feet so be sure to protect them.
- Be sure to allow your dog to go ashore so they can do their business. Don't forget to pick up behind your dog and properly dispose of the waste products.
Planet Bark is an ''all-inclusive" dog resort in Mt. Pleasant, offering dog daycare, overnight boarding and professional grooming and training. For more information on rates and daycare packages, call 884-1225 today!