After our little excursion last weekend, I decided to post my 7 dog safety tips at the lake today. Going to the lake with your dog can be a lot of fun, but make sure you are prepared to prevent any disasters!
Last weekend, Bailie and I went along to a family member’s lake house up at Eagle Lake, just over an hour from our house. I’ve been there a couple times in the past, but it was Bailie’s first time. She was pretty excited as she hasn’t had much experience swimming in a real lake. The plan was for humans to have lunch and then spend time playing in the lake. Since we don’t live on a lake, dog safety tips for the lake are super important for us.
Tip #1 – Proper ID
Before you travel anywhere, always make sure your dog is chipped, and has proper ID on her collar. If we should happen to get lost away from home, we might panic and it is so important for anyone who finds us to be able to check our ID so we can get back home. Bailie and I both wear out collars even while swimming, just in case, but we are also chipped.
Tip #2 – Know your dog
The place we visited on the weekend is not fenced, so we were on leash at all times. You need to know your dog to decide if going off leash in the water or on the beach is safe or not. With two of us, Mom only had one of us out at a time so she could pay 100% attention to us. Remember, not all dogs like water, or like to swim! If your dog doesn’t want to swim, let them stay on shore or on the dock.
Bailie was super wild in the water, and it was tempting to let her loose, but Mom knew if she got on land, she would be gone in an instant. Mom kept us on long flexis so we could do our thing, not get tangled, and remain safe.
Tip #3 – What is your dog’s conditioning?
I’m in great shape, but I will be ten next month. I’m no longer the wild fool I once was. I prefer to wander into the lake, take it slow, and enjoy simply being wet. Mom knows I am content with a bit of swimming time and then off to rest.
Bailie, on the other paw, is wild and was out of her furs excited being at the lake for the first time. She was romping, jumping, swimming, basically carrying on like a crazy girl all the time.
Mom had to make sure Bailie stopped and took a break now and then or she would have gone wild until she fell over!
Tip #4 – Pay attention to the weather
Know the weather and how your dog handles it. The lake was full sun and no shade the first part of the day. It was important for us to get out of the sun to cool off. Even if you are dying to kayak with your dog, it will be hot in the sun. Take a break first. Just because your dog is wet, doesn’t mean they are cool.
Tip #5 – Be patient
Always be patient with your dog which is one of the most important dog safety tips at the lake. Dogs have fears just as humans do. Never force your dog to go into the water or participate in things on the water. I don’t mind sitting in a kayak on shore, but I’m scared to death if it goes in the water and starts rocking. Mom knows this, and leaves me on shore when she takes the kayak out. It would be not only terrifying for me out there, it could be dangerous if I decided to jump or tip over the kayak.
Bailie, is more adventurous, and she started learning to float on things in the pool at just five months old. She isn’t afraid of the rocking and rolling that happens on smaller floating items. Bailie and Mom did some kayaking and had a blast together. Remember when out on the water, both you and your dog should be wearing life vests.
Tip #6 – Stay near shore
Let your dog ease into the water at their own pace. Getting tossed into deep water can be frightening for many dogs. We always like to scamper along the shore until we get a feel for the water and then venture out slowly on our own.
If going to the lake and water toys are something new, don’t venture too far from shore. Always think of your safety plan if your dog, or you and your dog end up in the water. How will you get safely to shore, and together? At first when Bailie was on the float, she stayed real close to shore to get a feel for it and to see how she would react.
Once everything was going well, Mom hopped on and they went a bit further out being towed slowly. Bailie was wearing her life vest and was on leash so Mom would not lose her should something happen. If down the road she has more experience on the water, the leash may no longer be necessary. They both were having a blast.
The next step was acclimating Bailie to the jet ski. She was once again on leash and wearing her life jacket. The goal was for Bailie to see what it was, see how it floated, and find out where she could sit or stand. They stayed just a few feet off the dock and did some floating. Next time Bailie may be ready to have the motor started, but on the first time out, it may have been too scary.
Tip #7 – Always keep your eyes open
No matter what you are doing, always keep an eye on your dog. It only takes a split second for a dog to get into trouble, and you need to be there to help. We can get hung up or injured on something in the water. Loud noises may spook us. There are so many things that could happen. If you don’t have time to watch your dog, put them in a safe place for a break until you do have time.
Now shake yourselves off, and then head back into the water! With my 7 dog safety tips at the lake, you and your dog will have a blast! I know Mom, Bailie, and I sure did!