#1: A Life Jacket
Whether you’re swimming, paddle boarding or hanging out on a boat – giving your dog a life jacket not only makes them fashionable but it also provides them with more safety and comfort while they swim. One of the many benefits of life jackets is that they help provide more stability and buoyancy which in turn can make your dog feel more comfortable in the water. Most life jackets also come with at least one handle that proves to be extremely helpful on many occasions – one being if your dog jumps out of your kayak to swim the middle of the lake and then you have to help him get back on without falling in…
#2: Lots of Water. Always
All year round bringing water with you is important, but during the summertime it’s definitely a big must. Even though you’ll be heading towards water, those aren’t always safe for your pup to be drinking from – especially large quantities. My favorite way to bring water along is with a hydration bladder. It allows me to bring a lot more water than in a bottle and there’s enough options to choose from to find the one that will fit perfectly inside your backpack and still leave space for anything else you might need!
#3: Waterproof Leash
Depending on where you’ll be heading, there may be laws that require your pup to be on a leash and due to the nature of water activities, my best suggestion is to invest in a good quality biothane leash. Truthfully this is a good type of leash to have for any and all outings. Biothane leashes are not only extremely durable but they are waterproof and so easy to clean. Another big plus is if you’d like to let your dog drag the leash along, it won’t get ruined.
#4: First Aid Kit
It’s a good habit to always leave a First Aid Kit in your pack, you never know when your dogs might end up hurting themselves or a tick might decide to catch a ride… There are a lot of options to purchase pre-made kits and you can add more tools to it or even completely build your own. On another safety note, before heading out, another good step to take is to check out where the closest emergency vets would be so that in case of an accident, you’ll be ready to hop in the car and go where you need to go.
#5: A Good Dryer
If your dog is anything like ours, drying them can be a whole journey of its own. This last one may not be essential for everyone, but it’s definitely essential for us. A high velocity grooming blow dryer comes in extremely handy, especially if your water adventure ends later in the day and there’s not much more sun time to help dry your pup. A dryer isn’t always needed, but if it’s an option that intrigues you the good news is that there are many good and affordable options for one.
Important Bonus Tip: Watch Out for Blue-Green Algae
During hotter months, it’s very common for harmful blue-green algae bacteria blooms to grow in water. It is extremely important to check the water source of where you’ll be swimming with your pets to ensure their safety. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, “Blue-green algal blooms are often described as looking like pea soup or spilled green paint. However, blooms aren’t always large and dense and can sometimes cover small portions of the lake with little visible algae present. Blooms can also produce a swampy odor when the cells break down.” If your pup is acting out of the normal even within just a few minutes from playing in water, please seek veterinarian help.
As it is with any outing, bringing your pups along often means some extra planning and practice, but in the end it’s always worth it. The time spent together is unmeasurable in its value and the memories you create. I hope this quick guide inspires you to get out and have fun this summer on the water with your pups!