• By Beth Oleson, Marketing Director

Go jump in a lake!

It feels like summer is coming to a close, with school back in session, and that means a lot of us are trying to squeeze in a few more days of fun while we can. If your idea of a perfect summer day is one spent at the lake, you’re not alone; and if you’re a dog lover, you’re probably picturing your canine companion getting in on the fun, too. A day on the water can be a blast for man and man’s best friend alike, so don’t let it be spoiled by common water hazards - read on to find out how you can keep your pet safe in the boat or on the sand.

Before you even leave the house, check with your destination and make sure that dogs are allowed. If they’re not, respect the rules; the area may be unsafe for pets, and you may be fined if you bring yours along.

Know your dog’s limits, because he’s going to get a great workout - running on sand and swimming are both strenuous activities. Take frequent breaks, and control how far away your pet can swim with a nylon lead (just keep an eye out for tangles) so there’s no risk of him becoming exhausted and not being able to make it back to you. A doggy life jacket is a good idea, too. If he does get tuckered out, at least he’ll float. In the event that your dog overexerts himself, find a shady place for him to rest and keep him cool - if he can’t get up, or seems dizzy or disoriented, seek veterinary help immediately.

Bring plenty of water, even if you’re visiting a freshwater lake. “Fresh” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy,” and the water you swim in isn’t usually safe to drink; it may contain chemicals, parasites and bacteria that could harm your dog. Have a jug of water and a bowl ready to slake your pup’s thirst so he doesn’t have to turn to the abundant, but less appealing, source he’s submerged in.

If your dog is joining you on a fishing trip, keep all fishing equipment out of reach - lines, hooks and bait. Don’t ever let your dog swim in the same area as you, or anyone else, is fishing! Dogs can easily become tangled in line or snagged by hooks; worse yet, a dog who “takes the bait” and swallows a hook may need emergency surgery before the day is out.

And finally, rinse off before going home, especially if you and your pup are playing in salt water. Salt or other chemicals that dry on your pet’s coat can cause skin irritation. If there isn’t a water hose available, use a little of your drinking water to wipe off paws and faces, and take a proper bath once you get home.

Enjoy these dog days of summer, and from all of us at Woodford Humane, go jump in a lake! Call us at 859-873-5491 or email us atmanager@woodfordhumane.org with any questions about pets or pet care.

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