Welcome to this comprehensive safety guide about paddleboarding with your furry friend. You are quite lucky, considering the fact that exploring the waters on a paddleboard is not only a joy for you but can also be an intriguing adventure for your dog. However, to make sure you both enjoy this experience to the fullest, it is essential to do paddleboarding with dogs safely and ensure their comfort and safety at all times.
Understand Your Dog’s Swimming Skills
Not every dog is a natural swimmer. Some dogs may be scared of water or may even lack the natural ability to swim. If it is your pet’s first encounter with water bodies, take some time off and teach them how to swim. An ideal starting point could be a shallow lake where the dog can easily touch the ground.
Proper Lifesaving Gear
A dog-specific life jacket is nearly mandatory, even if your pet is a good swimmer. This gear prevents any possible injury and helps your pet stay above water in case it falls off the board. Choose a bright-colored vest with good buoyancy so you can easily spot your pet in water.
Familiarize Dog With Paddleboard
An effective way of reducing fear for the board in your pet would be by familiarizing it with the paddleboard on dry land first. Allow it to sniff, inspect, and get comfortable around the equipment before hitting the water.
Dog-Friendly Paddleboard Choice
Different paddleboards have different attributes that might or might not be ideal for dogs. Make sure you choose a wider, more stable board with enough room for both of you. A soft topped board will also prevent hurting their paws or causing them to slip off.
Paddling in Calm Waters
While paddleboarding, choose calm waters initially. Rough waters might scare the dog and might put them in danger due to strong currents or choppy waves. This would make the experience pleasant and safe for your dog.
Command Training Your Dog
Training your dog with commands such as “sit”, “stay”, and “off” can ensure their behavior is controlled on the board. A well-trained dog would not only follow your instructions but will also react adequately in case you both get separated.
Slow Initial Speed
The speed of your paddleboard should be slow, especially when your dog is just starting to get the hang of it. Once they are comfortable at a slower pace, gradually increase speed to ensure minimum panic or fear in them.
Dog’s Comfort and Traction
Your furry friend needs to be comfortable on the board for a peaceful ride. Placing a yoga mat or towel can provide them better grip and prevent slipping off. Also, keep an eye on their body language to assure they are comfortable.
Beware of Hypothermia
Hypothermia can affect dogs too if they stay soaked for longer periods. Make sure you dry them nicely once you finish the session.
Dogs get sunburned too! Their exposed areas like nose, ears, and belly are vulnerable, so apply vet-approved sunscreen before you head out for the adventure.
On sunny days, boards can heat up; thus, take measures like putting booties on their paws or making them wear a cooling jacket to prevent any discomfort or burns.
Wrapping It Up
Without a doubt, paddleboarding with dogs makes for an exciting adventure. Safety is paramount, and hence, taking these measures will provide peace of mind for you and guarantee an enjoyable experience for your pet. Paddleboarding, when done right, ensures enriching experiences and strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. Remember, planning and prevention are better than cure!