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Summer Fun in the Water

July 12, 2019

Now that summer has begun, the water is calling our name. Most people wish to take their furry friend to a pond or other body of water to enjoy some fun in the sun as well. As we have discussed in a previous blog, extreme heat can be a danger to your pet. Keep in mind, hot pavement or sand baking in the sun can risk burns to your dog’s paw pads and there is also a risk of heat exhaustion as well.

WARNING:For any activity listed below, West Greenwich Animal Hospital strongly suggests you put a pet flotation device specifically built for dogs on your pup. Be mindful of the temperature outside as well. If on a boat be sure you take breaks to offer your pet water and if he/she wants, a swimming break.


If you have a dog that enjoys the water, like a retriever, you will enjoy watching your pet do what comes natural. Even if you don’t, swimming is an activity that your dog may be taught to enjoy. Go slow and with enough training you may be able to build your pets confidence. Do not let your pup get too far from you. You do not want to intrude on the fun of others or risk your dog tiring out and drowning.


With an abundant selection of water sports to choose from, pick an activity that you and your pet will both like. Whether it be boating, canoeing, kayaking, or stand up paddle boarding you and your pet may find an activity that you both enjoy.

Technician Tips:

My dog Brooke hated the water at first. With the help of her friend Tuukka, the Alaskan Malamute, who is confident in the water and the discovery of fish, Brooke will now spend her time jumping in the water, tail held high searching for her finned friends.

She also did not have the best of time getting used to kayaking. I purchased a sit on top kayak and the first trip did not go over well. She jumped out and instantly regretted it. Good thing she was wearing a life vest that had a handle on it so I could pull her back in. Our second trip went swimmingly! She was comfortable enough to lay down and watch the birds fly by. Due to an operational issue she abandoned ship and landed in the mud. Training for such activities are trial and error. You must be prepared for your pup to jump out of the boat or even tip you over at times. With the proper equipment and training this will eventually become a non-issue.

Just remember: not every dog can be trained to enjoy an activity. It is okay to give up and leave Fido home. Your dog will think it is better to stay home where it is comfortable, than panic in open water on a flimsy water craft.

Brooke learning how to kayak and watching for birds. Follow more adventures of Brooke on her instagram: instagram.com/brooketheridgebackmix

There are several groups on Facebook geared towards sharing experiences and educating others on how to properly get their pups used to the water.

Paddling with Dogs Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/472866232893103/

Kayaking with Dogs Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KayakingwithDogs/

Contact us, your local animal clinic in West Greenwich, RI!

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