There’s nothing like enjoying a day of fun in the sun with your pet, and during a long, hot, Austin summer, sticking close to the water just makes sense. But before you and your furry pal head out for a day of boating on Lake Travis or pack a picnic for a relaxing day at Lady Bird Lake, review our tips for boat and lake safety for pets.
Lake Safety For Pets
When we consider lake safety for pets, swimming and heat related dangers come to mind, such as:
- Dehydration – Bring plenty of water and offer it to your pet often, both while at the beach and on the ride home to prevent dehydration and to discourage him or her from drinking lake water (which can contain bacteria and toxins).
- Heatstroke – Take lots of water breaks in the shade to prevent overheating. If your pet displays any of the signs of heatstroke such as excessive panting and drooling, lack of coordination, lethargy, vomiting or seizures, seek emergency veterinary medical care immediately.
- Swimming – Not all dogs are good swimmers! Not only that, but even good swimmers can get tired, fall in, or become trapped in the water. Supply your dog with a pet life jacket, and never let a dog swim unsupervised.
Boating Safety 101
There’s nothing like a day out on the boat! More and more boaters nowadays are choosing to bring their pets on board for a day out on the lake. Keep the experience fun and safe for your four-legged friend with our boating safety tips:
- The prep – Make sure your pet is ready for boating by taking him or her to visit the boat while it’s trailered or at the dock prior to your first outing. Start with short trips at first, leading up to longer times spent on the water. If your dog suffers from seasickness, give us a call to discuss possible treatments.
- The gear – Even if your dog is a good swimmer, it’s important for him or her to have a properly fitting life jacket, preferably with a handle on the back for lifting out of the water (avoid grabbing your dog’s collar). A pet first aid kit is another essential component of safe boating with pet. You might also consider adding a piece of carpet or a rubber mat to provide your pet with better footing.
- The plan – Always plan for your dog’s safety ahead of time. Pack a pet first aid kit, plenty of water (and a bowl to drink it from) and pet-safe sunscreen (yes, pets can get sunburns too!). Test the temperature of the deck with the palm of your hand to make sure it isn’t too hot for your dog’s paws.
A Little “Petiquette” Goes A Long Way
Basic courtesy is essential to making your day on the water successful for everyone:
- Keep your dog leashed at all times. Don’t allow him or her to investigate wildlife or other people’s picnics.
- Keep all people food away from pets, and dispose of food related trash immediately.
- Rinse the lake water off your pet at the end of the day and do a thorough check for ticks and other signs of irritation.
- And of course, scoop that poop!