GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you want to head out on the boat with your dog, it needs a life jacket, just like you.
“A lot of dogs know how to swim and they’re able to swim, but especially as they’re getting to their older years, they may not have quite the stamina that they did before and it just gives a little bit of that extra security that they’re going to be OK in the water,” Dr. Christine Swanson, a veterinarian with BluePearl Pet Hospital in Grand Rapids. “And then the other nice part, a lot of the life jackets will have some sort of handle so that it’s easier getting them in and out of the boat.”
It can also get hot when hanging out on the boat, beach or at the pool. Just like people might need shade, owners should make sure there’s shade available for dogs so they don’t get overheated or suffer heat stroke or exhaustion. And, of course, make sure they have fresh water.
Don’t forget the boat is rocking and it’s hard to balance. Dogs are always working to maintain their balance, and so make sure they have a place to lie down and rest.
Ear infections can be common with dogs and there’s a way to stay on top of that.
“It’s getting them to be dry completely,” Swanson said. “So a lot of the bacteria that are normally on (their) skin are what will cause some of the infections… And so making sure that when they come out of the water, we’re drying them off really well, we’re drying and making sure their ears can clean out, dry out as well, so that they’re not going to be more prone to some of those infections.”