Water Safety Tips for Your Dog

It may be spring, but Spot has still been busy with boats—boat shows, that is. These shows get us thinking about hitting the dock in the upcoming summer months here in the Northeast (and to our friends in warmer Southern climates who enjoy boating year-round, we envy you!).

We recently saw long-time customers and met some new friends at the New England Boat Show in Boston, the Hartford Boat Show at Mohegan Sun and the Palm Beach International Boat Show. It was so nice to hear stories, share pictures, and reminisce year-round about our favorite four-legged pals!

Boating is a way for families and friends to make memories. And as we count down the days until we hit the sea again, we’d like to offer a few tips for smoother sailing with your pets.

Rinse your dog after every dip

This will remove salt from the ocean or any bacteria from freshwater. Dried salt can be itchy and irritating, and it’s just smart to rinse off any pathogens from local waters. No need to shampoo your dog after every swim, according to Tufts University veterinary dermatologists. Just a rinse with tap water will do!

Don’t have too much fun in the sun


Our resident Spot Dog, Torey, is more of a sunbather than a swimmer. But just like humans, dogs also need to be protected from too many rays. Dogs can get sunburns and skin cancer from too much direct sun. If your dog is spending a good amount of time in the sun, consider sunscreen protection. At a minimum, spray a light, unscented SPF 15 that’s free of zinc oxide on the dog’s belly and inside the hind legs.

Experts agree that after three hours of direct sun exposure, dogs should have some shade time. And of course, constant hydration is key to avoiding heat stroke. Always have a convenient, collapsible water bowl and plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink.

Keep those paws cool

Since dogs don’t have sweat glands, they pant to cool off and even perspire through their paws! So long exposure to hot surfaces (such as a hot deck or driveway) is not good. Know which surfaces on your boat tend to become very hot in the sun, and protect your dog’s feet.

Support your struggling swimmer


If your dog isn’t a confident swimmer yet (or maybe if your dog is too confident, and barges into the water every chance he or she gets!) then a doggy life jacket is a great way to help keep them safe.

Powerboating, kayaking or rafting, all breeds benefit from a life jacket, especially in a strong current or choppy water. Look for these important qualities of a good life jacket: 1. a strong handle that lets you easily yank the pup out of the water; 2. reflective trim that enables you to spot him quickly; and 3. a bright color for maximum visibility (we prefer neon yellow). Always use the life jacket handle to lift the dog from the water; never grab the dog’s collar.

Keep a pet first-aid kit aboard

Keep a stocked pet first-aid kit on board your boat or handy for any active outdoor or water sport. Some useful items for your kit include antiseptic wipes, gauze, adhesive, bandages, cold pack, sting relief pads, tweezers, emergency blanket and seasickness remedy (yes, dogs can take Dramamine).

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next time as we ‘dive deeper’ on dogs and boating.

We’d love to know…

Where is your family and dog’s favorite getaway for fun in the sun? And what are some ways you keep your dog cool?

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