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How to Keep Your Pup Safe on a Paddle Board

Dog goes stand up paddling

Got a pup AND a paddleboard? Don’t rub it in. One of the best perks of owning an iSUP is the option to take your favorite companion out on the water with you, although there are a few risks. But trust us, the upsides to cruising the water with your dog completely outweigh any negatives. Before you head out with your furry friend, review these safety tips to prevent any accidents.

Comfort is Key

Before you take your dog out on your iSUP, make sure he’s totally comfortable with the water. There’s nothing more frustrating or sad than a panicking pup. It’s a recipe for your day getting cut short.

How? Ease into it. Walk along the shore and see how he reacts to the waves. Most likely, there will be a little hesitation at first. Keep walking into deeper water until your dog is swimming. Let him swim away from you for extended periods of time. When he is no longer bolting for the shore at the sight of a breaking wave, you’re ready to begin your paddling adventure.

Start Small and Shallow

Pick an isolated spot with glassy water. This allows your best bud to get used to the water, but gives him an easy out if he panics. Make sure you pick a beach with safe, relatively empty shores. It’s totally normal if your dog jumps off the board for shore, but make sure it’s okay for him to run freely on the sand.

How? Check local surf and weather reports to choose a calm, clear day. Visit your local iSUP spot to find a deserted area.Inlets and small points are usually a safe bet.

Traction Matters

Lucky for you, iRocker boards have the perfect traction for your pup. You want your dog to easily sit or stand on the board, even if there are waves. But, your board’s safety is also important. You don’t want to end your day on the water with scratches and claw marks all over your precious paddleboard.

How? Choose a firm, sturdy board with traction pads. (Hint, hint: iRockers are right up your alley.)

Expect a Rougher Ride

Most pups like to move around quite a bit while on the board, so you’ll definitely be kept on your toes! Expect to be even thrown into the water. Remember, you’re maintaining balance for a party of two.

How? Balance, baby. If you’re planning on a relaxing ride the first time you take Fido out, you’re in for a splashing surprise. Do some core exercise to increase your balancing ability. It’s really just a huge learning experience for both of you.

Strive for Safety

In the form of a doggy life jacket and doggles, that is. If you’re best bud is a newbie in the water, opt for floatation. Also, the handle on the life jacket will help you scoop him/her back onto the board. Unless your dog has a history of eye problems, doggles aren’t necessary. But, they do make for some pretty cute pictures!

How? Floatation, protection and hydration. Pups with short hair, white fur and/or pink skin can burn easily. Limit your dog’s exposure during the sunniest parts of the day. If you plan to be out for awhile or you just want to be better safe than sorry, apply sunscreen to his ears, nose and belly. Also, have water available. When dogs gets thirsty, they’ll instinctively drink the salt water. A few sips won’t hurt, but anything more can cause salt poisoning.

Keep Clean

Salt can irritate your pup’s skin and paws. Do the best you can to clean your dog after a fun day on the water, to prevent rashes and infections.

How? Completely rinse sand and saltwater off of your dog’s skin and coat. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean and dry the ears. A bacterial ear infection can easily result from trapped water.

iSUPing with your pup (Pup-SUP? Doggy Paddle?) is a blast when it’s done right. But if you and your dog aren’t totally comfortable with the situation, the stress will take all the fun out of it. Keep the day fun for both you and your furry friend by following these safety precautions. You’ll thank us later.

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