As the days stay long and hot, you’re probably thinking of fun water activities to do with your cockapoo. After all, many dogs like boating and swimming as much as the next person. If you do want to bring your dog for water activities, here are some vital tips to keep in mind.

Before going to your chosen activity, make sure that you are allowed to have your dog there. Many beaches and pools don’t allow dogs and you don’t want to drive all the way there to be disappointed. Regardless of whether your dog is allowed or not, you need to keep an eye on your dog in the water. He can easily become fatigued if swimming too much or chasing a toy in and out of the water. Also you need to establish where your dog is going to go potty, and clean up after him. This will keep the dog friendly areas open to you and other owners.

Watch for signs of dehydration and fatigue. Your dog should not drink the water he is swimming in. This may seem obvious for salt water and pools, yet even in fresh water lakes the bacteria levels can be high enough to make a dog sick from ingesting it. When you get to the swimming area you have chosen, take out your dogs bowl and fill with fresh water. Show him where it is so he will go back to it when thirsty, instead of lapping at the water he’s swimming in.

Keep your dog cool. When a dog swims, he cannot pant to cool his body naturally, so you need to watch him and encourage resting as needed. A dog can become fatigued and overheat easily while swimming, especially on a hot day. Dogs exert a lot of energy while they swim, and although it is great exercise for them, it is very tiring.

In deep water, make sure your dog has a life vest of some type. There are many flotation devices designed for dogs, so you can shop around. Make sure the chosen one fits your dog correctly and is not restrictive to his movement of breathing. The level of confidence you and your dog can get from proper flotation devices will go a long way to making your dog’s day out more fun for both of you.

Watch your dog around anything that could be mistaken as food. Take stock of the area before you let your dog in the water, look for floating debris or other “edible” objects on the sand or pool deck (old barbecue food, a dead jellyfish, etc.) You don’t know whats out there, and what it would do to your cockapoo. Don’t let your dog eat anything that you don’t give him yourself.

Look for any lifeguard flags or notices posted around. Know what the signs mean or ask if you don’t. If the current is too strong, do NOT let your dog swim. If there are bacterial warnings, you and your dog shouldn’t go in. When you get home for the day, rinse your dog off at the least, or give him a full bath at the most. This will get any filth or toxins off of your dogs coat. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t swim in it yourself, your dog shouldn’t either. Watch for any wildlife that may bother your dog, or that he may bother, and keep him a safe distance away.

Above all, be sure that your dog can swim, before doing any water activities. If your dog has not been swimming before you may need to teach him. Never throw a dog that may not know how to swim, into water. This could be traumatizing and dangerous to your dog’s health. If your dog is not good at swimming, keep him near the shore or go in the water with him. Don’t take him in deep water and make sure he knows where the exits to the swimming area are.