Water can be so much fun with your dog (especially on 90 degree days)! But make sure you’re safe before you take the plunge with your pooch.

Never force your dog to swim if they don’t want to.

Not all dogs like the water. You may have dreams of swimming and paddleboarding with your pooch, but if they don’t like it, they just don’t like it. Give your dog the best life for their specific needs, so if they don’t like the water find something they do like.


Protect against drowning.

Never let your dog swim alone. Dogs can’t stop to rest while they’re swimming. Make sure to give your dog plenty of breaks. This is especially important if you’re playing fetch in water.


Watch their paws.

You know how your fingers get wrinkled when you’re in water for extended periods of time? The same thing happens to dog paws (and that means their pads get softer when in water for extended periods of time). When their pads get softer, they offer less protection and get sore faster. Avoid injury by limiting their water time and letting their pads dry.

Remember, water washes off blood and rivers have rockier terrain than regular hiking trails. Rocky terrain and soft pads don’t mesh well.

If your dog does get a cut, take care of it with rest, balms and a wound boot if needed.


Pay attention to water quality.

Check bacteria and algae before heading to the lake.  If you won’t swim or drink the water neither should your dog.


Get a life vest.

Your dog should always wear a life vest when boating or paddle boarding. It will keep them floating, makes them easier to see and the handle makes it easier to grab them if necessary.


Rinse them off.

Always wash your dog after they swim, even if it’s in a pool. The most common problem after swimming is itchiness. Pay attention.


Dry their ears.

Dry your dog’s ears after playing in water. Pay attention to is he’s shaking or tilting his head.


Is your dog drinking lake or river water?

If ANY signs of infections occur after your dog drinks lake or river water get in touch with your vet immediately.