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water & Your Dog: The dos & Don'ts

Written by @liaontheloose
Summer is fast approaching! With warm weather and sunny skies on the horizon, many outdoor-loving dog owners are itching to get out and do some exploring with their canine counterparts. One of the best parts about summer is being able to let dogs enjoy the blue waters of the world; however, there are some major dos and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to dogs and water in order to ensure their safety.

Many people believe that dogs are born knowing how to swim, and while it may be true that some dogs are inherently good swimmers, not all dogs are water lovers. Before tossing your furry friend in, make sure that they have had a proper introduction to water: take them to a calm and shallow body of water and let them explore on their terms. Some dogs may need a life jacket for the first few times to get them used to the motion of swimming!
Once you feel as though your dog is confident in the water, it’s important to remember that not all water is safe. When looking for spots to cool off on a hot day, there are a few things to consider:

1. Is there a risk for toxins?
Warm, stagnant water often breeds bacteria and parasites that can be harmful to dogs (and humans). A marsh or bog-type environment generally isn’t the best for swimming and can be a source for algae, parasites, and an array of insects.

2. Is there a strong current?
It goes without saying that it isn’t safe for dogs to swim in areas where there is potential for a strong current or fast-moving water, such as near a waterfall or in a large river. Before allowing your dog to get their feet wet, make sure you can assess the safety of the situation. If you’re unsure, it’s better to err on the side of caution and not allow your dog to go for a full-blown swim. Wading around the edges of a river will achieve the same goal of keeping your dog cool!

3. Is it dog friendly?
If during your hike you stumble across a public beach, make sure that dogs are allowed to swim. Many public beaches do not allow dogs; however, there is usually a dog section or an area away from the main beach where your dog can have some fun!
Portaging is becoming an increasingly popular activity among hikers and campers and many love to include their dogs in the action. If you plan to bring your dog along for a canoe ride, you should prepare to be able to lift their soaking wet body back into the canoe if they happen to jump/fall out. This is something that is often overlooked and can turn into a nightmare quickly.

To make your life easier, make sure your dog has a life jacket with a handle to be able to easily maneuver them if you run into trouble. It doesn’t hurt to practice lifting them in and out so that all parties are prepared in case of emergency.

Safety is crucial when hiking with dogs and enjoying the water with your dog is no different. Water intoxication is rare but serious and can occur when a dog ingests a lot of water in a short amount of time; the symptoms often include lethargy, loss of coordination, and drooling. To prevent this, make sure your dog enjoys water activities in short bursts with lots of breaks in between. Try not to allow them to drink the water and instead offer fresh water and give them plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves.
At the end of the day, the goal is to have fun and there is no time like the present! Get out there and enjoy all that the world has to offer and make it a summer to remember!

Want to know more about hiking with your dogs? Read our other blogs! Be sure to follow our Instagram for more daily adventures & Check out Lia on Instagram and her hiking endeavors!!


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