The summer sun is luring us Ocean Staters out onto our 40 miles of coastline, and naturally we want our dogs to share in the fun. But before you get nautical in Wickford or make waves in Narragansett, check out these essential items:
First port of call, life jacket shopping at The Kayak Centre. Manager Rachel McCarty explains that even strong swimmers tire. “Plus, it’s far easier to haul a dog out of the water using the sturdy handle than it is to grapple with wet, slippery fur, especially if the dog is panicking.” McCarty stocks performance dog gear from RuffWear, and recommends bringing your dog into the shop for a fitting. “Avoid under-belly floats if your dog has short legs as they tend to tip them upside-down – the opposite of the safety goal.” Wickford
Did you know that dogs are susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer? “Dogs with shaved down fur lack natural protection, as do those with thin or short coats and light coloring,” explains Fetch RI owner Johnna Devereaux. The solution? A Solis UV Cover Up – basically the canine equivalent of a rash guard. Or, if your dog is more fashion-forward than sporty, you can opt for a dapper yacht-motif shirt from The Worthy Dog brand. Richmond
For sea-faring snacks, Devereaux recommends The Honest Kitchen’s protein-packed Ocean Chews, made from wolffish, aka sea wolves. Just make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water: “Too much salt water can disrupt the fluid balance in a dog’s body, which can be fatal,” Devereaux cautions.
With safety and snacks covered, it’s now toy time. Nothing says Rhode Island more than a plush lighthouse. Get yours, along with a pirate squid squeaker, at Pet Supplies Plus in Narragansett. They also stock a wide range of more economical life jackets by Outward Hound.
Over at Critter Hut in Wakefield, you can find Tall Tails lifesaver rings and Kong’s resilient fish-shaped Wubba Finz. Meanwhile, South County dogs are giving two webbed paws up to the unique rubber seal toys which bob upright in the water, available at Fetch RI.
Finally, don’t forget to pick up a waterproof collar light, just in case you find yourself sailing into the sunset!
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