The time has come again to head up to the lake house! You’ve packed up the car, the kids are ready to go, and the dog is just rearing to jump into that lake water. Here are a few lake hazards to be aware of to keep your dog safe:
1. Stagnant Water & Algae
Never let your dog drink from stagnant water sources such as puddles and even some lakes and ponds. They may carry bacteria and diseases such as leptospirosis, giardia, and more.
Also beware of the blue-green algae that forms on the surface of lakes and ponds. This is Cyanobacteria and is highly toxic to dogs.
A canine life jacket is a good investment for swimming, boat/kayak rides, or hanging out on the shores. Even strong swimmers can get tired or cramp up. Always start with a leash on and remember every breed is not created equally! While a retriever or spaniel may catch on quick, a Bassett Hound or Bulldog may need some swim lessons first. And never let your dog swim in high-traffic boating areas.
Again, make sure he/she isn’t lapping up water as they go and provide them a fresh bowl of water. Swimming is hard work!
3. Snakes, Leeches, and More!
Keep in mind that there may be other inhabitants swimming in the lake including snakes, leeches, and snapping turtles. If your dog gets bitten or scratched by any type of wildlife, seek veterinary care immediately. Also be mindful of the less dangerous species, such as ducks, loons, geese, rabbits, and possums, who may not appreciate being chased or barked at. Especially when they have very vulnerable babies!
4. Ear Infections
Be sure to wipe your dog’s ears dry after each and every swim session to prevent ear infections and irritation. You may want to use an ear cleaner to flush out your dog’s ears at the end of the day. Always talk to your primary care veterinarian before starting a new ear cleaning regimen.
5. Hidden in the Fur
Check your dog’s fur for ticks, injuries, and other debris that may have gotten buried throughout the day. Be sure to check their paws for cuts and/or ticks. Always use flea & tick preventative as well as heartworm preventative to prevent diseases from parasites and mosquitoes.
6. Dead Fish & Other Yummy Treats
The smell of a dead fish, snail, or other lake animal may be disgusting to you, but it’s very enticing to your pet. They may contain deadly toxins or cause an upset stomach, so keep an eye out when spending time on the beaches! If your dog is insatiable when it comes to these wild treasures, you can try using a loose fitting basket muzzle to prevent them from grabbing anything while your back is turned.
7. Fishing Hooks
Speaking of fish, exercise caution when fishing with your dog. Fish hooks are dangerous for dogs and can be ingested or get stuck in the lips, face, legs or paws. If you like the company of your pup when fishing, take care to keep them safe. It only takes a quick second for them to excitedly grab a lure or step on your fishing hook.
8. Loud Noises & Overstimulation
Lakes can be noisy – fireworks, firecrackers, boat engines, you name it! Even if you think your dog can handle it, don’t take the chance; even the most calm dogs can get spooked or overstimulated. Keep them on a leash, fenced in, or secure inside.
And if they’re door dashers or you have guests going in & out, don’t forget to use baby gates, close the deck gate, and keep their ID tags on at all times.
There are many fun and happy days ahead at the lake! Lakes are a great place for your dog to burn off some energy, have fun, and spend time with you! We’re here if you need us.
Written by RACHAEL GILLIS