- Pet Identification: Pet identification is a must, either in the form of a secure ID tag or a microchip, or better yet, both. Make sure your microchip is registered and up to date with contact information.
- Personal Floatation Device: It is highly recommended that your pet don his/her own life vest when on or around water. These can be found either online or at your local pet supply store.
- Obedience Training: Obedience training goes well beyond household manners. Having a dog who will obey your every command, including a solid “wait” and recall, in any situation will help you and your furry friend avoid hazardous situations and can even save his/her life. Teach your pet location specific routines, like where the steps are in the pool or how to get back onto your boat. Practice them frequently, so if a “pet overboard” situation occurs, he or she knows how to get out of the water safely.
- Get Familiar with the Water: Familiarize yourself with any body of water before allowing your pet to take a dip. Be aware of tides and currents and don’t let your pet to swim in any hazardous areas or conditions. Get to know your pet’s athletic ability and limitations. Learn to read body language and recognize when he/she is becoming fatigued so that you can call them out of the water before he/she becomes too tired to swim.
- First Aid: Know basic first aid for your pet and consider learning pet CPR. If an emergency should arise, proper steps taken in the field can save your pet’s life.
- Bring Fresh Water for Your Pet to Drink: Offering water often will help avoid having them drink salt or potentially contaminated water.
By: Katie Brunetti, Veterinary Technician