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Make sure your dog can swim, and other water safety tips

When taking a dog on a boat, whether a ski boat, kayak, or canoe, it should have a lifejacket for safety, same as a human.

Pools, lakes, rivers, and streams are great places to cool off on a hot summer day, especially with your pet, but safety comes first. Follow these simple rules from the American Kennel Club for a safe and fun summer with your pet.

• Be sure your pet knows how to swim before introducing it to deep or swift water. Always watch for strong currents in lakes and rivers.

• Make sure the water isn’t too cold before getting in. Only a few breeds can handle extra-cold water. Dog temperatures run higher than humans: 101-102.5 degrees is normal. Mild hyperthermia can set in at 90-99 degrees and become severe at 82 degrees. (Also avoid giving a dog ice cold water to drink.)

• Be sure to remove flea collars before letting them jump in.

• Natural bodies of water can also contain areas of blue-green algae, which can make your pet sick if it’s allowed to swim and drink there, so avoid those areas.

• After a good swim, no matter in what kind of water, always rinse your pet with fresh water. Be sure to dry ears gently and completely to prevent infection.

• Never leave an animal alone in a body of water.

• On boats or docks, keeps dogs away from fishing gear.

• Dogs on boats, whether ski boats, pontoons, kayaks, or canoes, should wear a life vest, just like humans.

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