Splashing around at the beach or enjoying the gentle sway of the lake can be a refreshing way to spend a summer afternoon. If your bag is packed to spend the day around any body of water, keep these tips in mind if the family pet is tagging along for the fun.

If water is a big part of your family life, introduce your pets to water gradually as not all pets are swimmers even by choice. Choose a quiet, shallow spot in the water for your furry friend to learn, keeping her on a leash during the training. Start at the edge of the water and stay as long as she enjoys it; if she goes into the water, go in with her. The younger your pet is when she learns to be around water, the better.

  • Purchase a personal flotation device (PFD) for your pet. She might be a good swimmer, but a sudden drop into the water might cause panic. A PFD with a handle on top will also assist you in getting her from the water should she go overboard.
  • Before heading out on a boat, add an “on-the-water” contact number to her ID tag in case you become separated. Other information to have on the tag would be the boat’s permanent marina location and slip number and a secondary phone number of a relative or other land-based friend.
  • If you have a pool of any kind in the backyard, fence it off or provide some barricade between it and your pet when not supervising the area. Install a ramp or a product specifically designed to help our four-legged friends climb out of the pool.
  • Try not to let pets drink pond, puddle or lake water. These are common sources of the Giardia parasite, and while not deadly, it causes diarrhea and can be passed to humans.
  • Watch for strong currents and riptides when at the beach with your pet pal.

A little extra planning can pay off in splish, splashing fun this summer for everyone!