If you can’t wait to get your paddleboard on the water, and you have a pet, why not bring them along. Paddleboarding with them can be another one of your great adventures. Here are some tips to ensure both you and your dog will be safe.
Bring the Essentials
As a general rule of thumb, you should always bring a first aid kit whenever you are traveling with your pets. Make sure you have all the essential equipment in case your pet gets hurt, so you can minimize and prevent further damage until you get her to the vet. First aid kits also work well for making temporary repairs to damaged equipment. The second essential thing you should bring is, of course, sunscreen. A little known fact is that pets are also prone to getting sunburn, especially on their stomachs. Some pets that have little to no hair, or the ones that recently had a haircut should use sunscreen every time you’re outside, especially near water, as it reflects even more sunlight towards you and your pet.
Find the Right Equipment
The first piece of equipment you will need is a solid paddleboard. The paddleboards meant for pets are wider and longer, so they could offer more stability. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t use a paddleboard shorter than ten feet because they are most stable. Be sure to consider both your weight and the weight of your pet. There aren’t any size limitations, however, a big pet on a small paddleboard is more likely to send you both into the water. Make sure you use boards that have a full deck pad for traction so your pet can stand on it more easily. It is also advised to buy a life jacket for your pet. Even though it might be a good swimmer, the experience is new and it might panic, which is the last thing you want.
Work on the Solid Ground First
It’s a known fact that the first surfing lesson is done on the solid ground first. The same goes for paddleboarding, especially if your pet is completely new to it. Firstly, your pet should already know the basic commands such as “stay” and “sit”, and you should be comfortable paddle boarding on your own because pets mirror the behavior of their owners. As the experts over at StandUpPaddleBoardsReview.com suggest, the next step you should take is to introduce your pet to the board. Remember to do it out of the water, and in a place where your pooch is most comfortable. Once your pet is comfortable enough, put on her life jacket and place her on the board. Do this several times until she feels completely comfortable. If your pet shows good manners, remember to reward her good behavior for example every time she jumps off the board only if you’ve commanded it.
Some additional preparations don’t fall under familiarizing your pet with the paddleboard. These include common sense aspects like bringing treats, trimming your pet’s nails, and making sure your pet is not too energetic before taking her onboard. The first thing however is to make sure your pet is comfortable being around big bodies of water. If she’s afraid of water, then chances are your trip will be a disaster. If you can’t solve this problem on your own, consult a pet trainer for advice. Your pet’s nails should be trimmed so the paddleboard doesn’t get damaged. It’s also important that you bring a lot of treats to reward their good behavior. If your pet is a ball of energy, it’s highly advised that you tire her out before going out on the paddleboard, as this is a sure way to let her knock you over.
Beware of the Surroundings
If you have ever been paddleboarding before, you’ve surely been informed that you should not stand on your board when in shallow water, near docks, boats, other people, and potential health hazards. This is also highly recommended if you decide to bring along your pet with you because they can be unpredictable and throw you off at any second. Additional health hazards can be found even in open water. Creatures like sea lice can irritate your pet’s skin, and jellyfish can leave a nasty sting, leaving your pet in distress. Remember to rinse your pet after you’ve finished for the day because salt from the water can also irritate your pet’s skin once it dries out.
Hopefully these tips on how to keep you and your pet safe when paddleboarding ensure both of you have an enjoyable experience.