The complete guide to paddle boarding safely with your dog | TeamDogs
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The complete guide to paddle boarding safely with your dog

Here’s how you can get your dog involved in the outdoor activity in the safest way possible

Olivia Fox

Posted 35d ago

As we enjoy the last few moments of sunny weather, before the grips of autumn take hold, many of us may want to head towards a body of water to keep cool.


There are various ways that you can incorporate your furry friend into your adventures instead of leaving them behind at home. Paddle boarding is an activity that can keep your pup occupied and cool, whilst getting them out into the great outdoors.


Of course, if you have a dog on your hands who avoids water at all costs and prefers dry land, they are simply not going to be happy or feel safe out on the water. It should only be an activity to explore if your dog is confident around water, shows interest and is a strong swimmer.


Browsing for your board


The place to start is to decide which board to choose. Wide and long boards with a larger surface area are the best for dogs as they are the most stable.


An ideal board would be at least ten ft long and 32 inches wide. It’s also important to consider your own weight as well as your dog’s when comparing board sizes. The larger and heavier the dog, the more unstable it can be so also bear this in mind.


Smaller dogs can comfortably sit on the nose whereas larger dogs should stick to the back third of the board for a better distribution of weight.


There is also much to be said about good surface grip that will help those pesky paws to not slip all over the place.


Safety first


It’s highly advisable for your dog to have a miniature life jacket. Even if you’re confident from previous experience that your dog is a strong swimmer and shows no fear when it comes to doggy paddle, a life jacket gives that extra layer of security and peace of mind.


You never know when you might hit that unexpected wake or a sneaky wave might catch you and your balance off guard. 

Pawsitive association


A good tip is to begin building positive associations between the kit (board, life jacket etc) and your dog in the build up to any activity if you can.


By introducing the kit into the home, this will help your hound to get used to the sight and feel of it all.


Scattering treats on the board can be a good idea upon introduction as well as trying out the life jacket for size and comfort and getting acclimated to everything.


Promote hydration and stay sun safe


If your dog takes in an excess of salt water, then this can cause further dehydration as well as other health issues. Make sure to bring plenty of water for both yourself and your furry friend to keep hydrated on board and to stop any temptation for them to lap at the salt water.


Just like us humans, dogs are at risk of sunburn, especially in delicate areas such as their stomachs. That coupled with the extra reflection of sunlight on the water poses a higher risk, so you should apply sun lotion to those more delicate areas on your dog and be mindful to not spend a couple of hours in the sun at a time.


Take to the shallows 


So you’re ready to get started! Begin by holding your board in shallow water so that your dog can get on, allowing them to get familiar with being on the water with you standing alongside the board.


Then, it’s advisable to begin the activity by sitting down or kneeling before moving to a standing position only when you’re in deeper water and away from any hazards such as other people or boats.


Be prepared that your dog may jump off of the board at any time. If this happens it’s likely that the board will move a lot, possibly causing you to fall in as well. Make sure that you’re comfortable with this possibility and feel confident to handle such situations.  


Hit the showers


All that fun is exhausting! Our little friend’s skin and paws can become irritated by salt water sometimes so make sure to have a good hose down afterwards. Don’t forget the ears as water trapped in ears can sometimes result in infection if not cleaned up. 


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