People in Chicago who were following the story of Tank recently breathed a sigh of relief when this 5-year-old Pomeranian—lost after falling off his owners’ boat into the Chicago River—was found alive and playing with other dogs on the city’s northwest side. Although this story’s happy outcome is worth celebrating, it could have just as easily turned tragic, and it underscores an essential dog-safety issue in the summer season: boat safety for dogs.
Tank’s survival is partially credited to the fact that his owners had the common sense to put a life vest on him before taking their boat on its river route. Although many dogs can swim, they are just as prone as humans to panic in a high current or to become tired before reaching shore.
But even with the life vest that allowed Tank to safely reach shore, his owners are still very lucky to have found him, as they had taken off his identification tags to put on the life vest. Dogs outside of the home should always wear identification tags. If a collar cannot be comfortably worn with a life vest, it is advisable to find some other way to attach identification to the animal, for example, by attaching a waterproof carabiner holding the ID tags to the life vest.
Read this article for additional information on keeping dogs safe on the water. Here’s to a safe boating season!