If you love to boat, then there can be nothing more fun than enjoying being out on the water with your favorite four-legged friend. However, that fun could all come to an end if you don't follow the proper precautions to keep your dog safe while on your boat. Follow these tips to make sure boating is just as fun for your dog as it is for you.
1. Buy Your Pooch a Life Jacket
If you plan to take your dog boating regularly, then it is important to purchase him a life jacket that can save him from drowning if he falls or jumps overboard. While most dogs can swim, it is a myth that they are all strong swimmers.
If your dog is a good swimmer and loves the water, he may be even more at risk of jumping off the boat and ending up in rough water he cannot handle. While it is important to keep a close eye on him at all times to make sure he doesn't attempt a jump, it never hurts to keep a life jacket on him just in case.
2. Leave Your Dog Behind or in the Cabin on Too-hot Days
Most dog-owners know that they should never leave their dogs in hot cars on sunny days, but fewer are really aware of when outdoor temperatures are just too much for dogs. When you are close to home on a short walk, you can quickly take your dog indoor to cool off from the heat, but if he becomes too hot on a boat with no air-conditioned cabin, you may be miles from the shore with no cool place for him to go.
There is no official "rule" when it comes to what outdoor temperatures are too hot for dogs, but most experts agree that your dog should stay indoors where it is cool when it is 90 degrees F out or higher. If you plan to travel far from shore, then it is likely best to only take your dog along when it is under 80 degrees F if you have no cool cabin for him to retreat to when he gets too hot.
3. Know What to Do if He Does Overheat
If you see signs that your dog is becoming too hot while on your boat, then immediately offer him water to drink and cool him in any way possible (such as sprinkling some cold water on him). Turn immediately back to shore, and cover his body with cool, wet clothes to help lower his body temperature. If the signs of heat stroke continue even after you have tried to cool him down, then take him to the vet immediately for treatment.
The veterinarian can further help cool him down, give him IV fluids to re-hydrate him, and give him any other emergency life-saving treatments he needs.
While taking your dog out on your boat with you can be a lot of fun, you need to follow proper safety precautions to ensure your dog's health and life are not put in jeopardy when boating. Follow these tips and you can both have fun out on the water together while staying safe and healthy. For more information, contact a local animal hospital like My Rancho Bernardo Pet Hospital.