As the weather warms up and summer comes into full swing, we tend to spend more time outdoors with our canine friends. Some of our favorite activities with our dogs are swimming and boating.
Swimming is great exercise for dogs; it works their muscles without weight bearing. There are some precautions to take when swimming with our dogs though. Make sure they don’t tire themselves out. A dog doesn’t always know when enough is enough and may retrieve that tennis ball until they collapse. Make sure to make dogs rests and give them access to fresh, clean drinking water during any outdoor activity. If you stop playing for a moment and the dog lays down on its own, they it is time for a break.
If you are swimming on a populated lake or river beware of boats. Dogs are not very visible on the water and a passing motorist may not see them. If you are playing in the river be aware of the undertow. It can quickly sweep an unsuspecting dog under water and down the river.
Boating with dogs can be a very enjoyable activity, but requires some safety precautions. Just like people, dogs should wear a life jacket while on a boat. Life jackets for your dog are available at our clinic. They not only provide your dog with a lifesaving flotation devices, but many also come with handles on the top so you can pull your dog out of the water if necessary. These jackets are also helpful for dogs learning to swim, or dogs that swim for extended periods of time.
When you are driving your boat it is important to keep your dog securely inside the boat. If you have to take a quick turn or the dog gets excited and tries to jump out you run the risk of serious injury from the motor, or from banging their head or limbs on the boat.
A dog that spends a lot of time in the water is at risk for ear infections. You should always use a drying ear rinse after swimming and bathing. If used properly, these products can prevent most ear infections.
Dirty lake or river water can also cause a dogs skin to become irritated. A quick fix for this problem is to rinse your dog off with the hose or in the tub with clean water after swimming. If your dog spends a lot of time in the water we recommend bathing. It is best to use a shampoo made specifically for dogs as human shampoo can be irritating.
Summer is a great time to enjoy the water with your dog. If you take the proper precautions to keep your pet safe and healthy you should be able to spend some wonderful quality time together.