Boating Safety for 'Man's Best Friend'
We received this email from e-News subscriber Ron Chrzaszcz:
Zoe watching the action.
Ron is right on target about the need to have life jackets for your boating dogs. Many think all dogs are natural swimmers. While they probably all will naturally “dog paddle,” many dogs are not good swimmers. Even those that are can get tired in a long swim, get injured in an upset and be overwhelmed by current or rapids. Even a champion swimmer like U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps could be overmatched in those conditions, without the assistance of a life jacket.
And just like us, their natural buoyancy depends on their body composition. Muscle tissue has less buoyancy than fatty tissue. Some lean, muscular dogs struggle to stay afloat. Just as the life jacket, or Personal Flotation Device (PFD), is the single most important safety article for people, so it is for our canine companions.
The Life Jacket
Auburn taking it easy on the Salmon River, ID.
Important features to look for in a dog life jacket are sufficient flotation, adjustability for the many different body shapes, rugged attachment hardware, durable covering material, a leash attachment point and a sturdy grab handle. Some jackets wrap the flotation, or at least extend the fabric, around the dog’s body. We’ve found that this extra covering can lead to overheating during hot weather.
Durable materials and rugged construction are important for these active animals. A grab handle is essential for lifting your dog into the boat and holding on to them at times. One important safety note, never tie your dog onto the boat, at least in any condition that could lead to a boat upset.
Your Dog and Boating
Squash is stylin' in her CFD. Ya
gotta love the mug!
Gently introduce your dog to the water and boating. Put their life jacket on them at home and let them get used to wearing it. First, take them out in your boat for short jaunts. Don’t make their first outing a multiday trip; it might be a miserable experience for both of you. Don’t force the dog to swim; even dogs that don’t like the water can learn to enjoy (or at least adapt to) being on the boat and the freedom of camp. Sometimes giving treats can help reinforce positive behavior. A wide mouth water bottle is a great place for storing treats, keeping them dry and close at hand.
Your Dog’s Behavior
Your Dog’s Health
Scout sleeping off the bad belly she got
from eating a rotten fish she found.
The penalty of gluttony.
Some short-haired, light-skinned dogs can sunburn; use SPF 15 or higher sunscreens on exposed areas. Thorns and cheat grass awns can get into dogs’ paws, ears and noses. Bring along some tweezers or forceps for removing them. And if you’re in porcupine country, by all means bring along these tools; you might need pliers. If your dog gets in an argument with a skunk – good luck. Nose Plugs?