Boating With Your Pets – Simple Tips For Safety On The Water
When it comes to spending a relaxing day out on the water many boating enthusiasts like to spend the time with their family – including their fur babies. And whether your pet is a dog or a cat, many pets seem to enjoy their time out on the water boating just as much as their owners do. However, keeping our furry friends safe while out on the water can add additional steps to our boating activities.
Here are some simple safety tips to help protect your pets while boating:
GET YOUR PET THEIR OWN PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE
Some pets enjoy the water and are strong swimmers. But even if you don’t plan on your pet getting in the water accidents can happen where they wind up going overboard. We need to be prepared with a specialized life jacket made for our pet just like we need a life jacket for ourselves. Many pet stores now carry life jackets that are made just for our furry friends and even have a handle on the back of them, so we can more easily lift them out of the water if they do accidentally go overboard. Even if your pet is a strong swimmer the ASPCA recommends you are prepared with a life vest for them as they can easily become exhausted in the water and you may still need it in a rescue situation.
MAKE SURE YOUR PET HAS THEIR OWN DESIGNATED “SAFE” SPACE ON THE BOAT
Sometimes going out on the boat for the first time can be overwhelming and frightening for our fur friends. It can take time for your pet to acclimate to their new environment and become prepared and comfortable for all the new sights, smells, and sounds that will come with a day out on the boat. Setting up a designated space just for your pet, that is well shaded and easily accessible for them, will help your pet feel more comfortable and help them become acclimated to their new environment. Additionally, they will know that they will always have a safe space to go to if the waters get rough or the sun gets too hot.
BRING PLENTY OF DRINKING WATER FOR YOUR PET
It can be easy to forget to bring water with you when you are leaving for a day out on the boat. But if your pet is going to be with you, you will need to make sure you bring along their water bowl and extra drinking water for them. You will also need to make sure the water bowl is placed in an area on the boat where your pet can easily access it. Pets can become overheated and dehydrated just as easily as humans can. Overheating and dehydration can be serious problems for pets that could lead to very serious health conditions, so be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you think your pet may be dehydrated.
Common signs of overheating and dehydration in pets include:
- Sunken eyes.
- Dry mouth, gums, and nose.
- Poor skin elasticity.
- Panting, followed by disorientation and fast, noisy breathing.
CONSIDER USING A PET-SAFE SUNSCREEN
The sun’s rays can be just as dangerous to our pets as they can be to us. Although soaking in the sun is enjoyable we should still make sure we are using caution to not over-do it. Our pets need protection from the sun just as much as we do. This does not mean to start lathering your furry friend up or spraying them down with your own personal sunscreen, as these are typically toxic to many pets according to the ASPCA. But there are specialty sunscreens designed specifically with our fur friends in mind. These sunscreens can be found at many pet stores. If you’re not sure which products would be safe for your pet, you can always discuss it with their veterinarian first. If you are not going to use sunscreen on your pet, then you will want to make sure they are staying out of the direct sunlight as much as possible between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM when the sun’s rays are the harshest.
DON’T ALLOW YOUR PET TO SWIM IN HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS
Many animals do enjoy the water and swimming, but it is important for you to be aware of the conditions surrounding you before you allow your pet to get into the water for a swim. A good rule to follow is to not allow your pet to swim in any water that you would not jump into and swim in yourself.
Some additional things to consider in order to determine if conditions are appropriate for your pet to swim in the water include:
- What are the conditions of the currents and wake in your area?
- Do potentially dangerous sea creatures such as jellyfish, sharks, or alligators inhabit the area you are in?
- Does the water look and smell clean?
Using these safety tips to prepare and plan ahead for bringing your pet along with you for a day out on the water in the boat will help make the experience safer and more enjoyable for both you and your pet.