(WXYZ) - Veterinarians from Michigan Veterinary Specialists, a BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital, are asking people to take certain precautions to ensure they're safely boating with their furry friends this Labor Day Weekend.
"We recognize that many people may be planning to bring their pets with them on the water this weekend," said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. "Whether they're on a lake, ocean or river, we hope they'll make sure to not only take their personal safety into consideration, but also the safety of their furry companions."
According to statistics released by the Coast Guard, every 2-and-a-half hours, someone is killed or seriously injured in a boating accident. Last year alone, the Coast Guard responded to 19,790 search and rescue cases and saved 3,560 lives.
While federal law requires recreational boaters to have a sound producing device like a bell or air horn, flares, fire extinguisher, enough life jackets for every person on-board and a throwable flotation device, the Coast Guard also recommends for people to have a VHF-FM marine radio, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon(EPIRB), a dewatering device and a first aid kit.
In addition to those safety requirements and suggestions, veterinarians from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend these basic precautions when boating with pets:
- Make sure pets have an area on board the vessel where they can get out of the sun so they don't overheat.
- Ensure pets have access to plenty of fresh, drinking water.
- Pay attention to your pet, the movement of the boat can be quite a workout for them and could cause them to become fatigued or injured due to the constant movement and balancing they have to do.
- If your pet has trouble swimming, consider purchasing a floatation device(life-jacket) for your pet.
- If your pet is going to go swimming, ensure there is an easy access point for them to get on and off the boat to prevent fatigue or injuries.
- Make sure engines are not engaged while anyone or any pet is in the water nearby.
"Most importantly, we want to make sure people and their pets celebrate this and every holiday weekend safely," said Shaw. "Of course, if there is a pet emergency, please seek veterinary attention as soon as possible."