Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fishing Safely with Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

Anyone with a high-energy dog knows there are few experiences more treasured than a shared adventure, and fishing together rates high up on that list. I can't wait to get my chocolate Labrador, Wuppy Teddy Bear, out on the bank, but there are some precautions I need to take to ensure his safety during the trip. The list includes precautionary prep, some essential packing and an end-of-trip to-do list, but it is all totally worth it to share some quality bonding time. You can use this list yourself to make sure you and your dog have a safe fishing trip.

Nail Check

A dog's nail length is important to how much they will enjoy the trip. Nails that are too short won't have enough traction, and too long of a length will be painful to your pet. Medium length nails are best for outdoor excursions. Also check for cracked or sore foot pads. No one wants to run around for very long on painful feet.

Not Too Far

How far you can take your dog in search of the perfect fishing hole will depend mostly on their endurance. If your animal isn't conditioned to walk across fields or other long distances, then leave them at home or pick a location with easier access. Be especially wary in heat or humidity, to prevent heatstroke.

Some dog breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, are prone to Exercise Induced Collapse, since they are unaware that they have passed their endurance limit. So, even if you have a high-energy pooch, keep them walking by your side.

Know the Fish

It is a bad idea in general to let your dog eat raw fish, as they can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. Not only that, but there are certain fish, such as salmon and rainbow trout, that can contain a parasite which can be fatal to dogs. Always check fishing guides to see if these fish are prevalent where you will be going. If so, you may want to reconsider letting any dog that is a fetcher go for a swim.

Stay Out of the Brush

There are so many wonderful new sights and smells to investigate when taking your dog fishing that you have to be extra vigilant to keep them out of the brush and in your line of sight. Staying on the trail will keep your dog from getting lost and make it less likely for a snake to bite your pet. It will also lessen the chance of ticks and poison oak transfer.

Sunny Day Precaution

There are several things you need to do to keep your dog safe from suffering heatstroke, including:

● Avoid fishing during the hottest part of the day.
● Stay in the shade, when possible.
● Provide shade with an umbrella.
● Bring plenty of water and a drinking dish.

Bringing your own water source is important, since local lakes and rivers may be contaminated. It's also a great idea to bring along some CANIDAE dog treats for your pet and even dog food if you will be fishing during mealtime.

Beware of Hooks

There are plenty of nasty ways hooks can get caught on your dog that will harm your pet and ruin your outing. Be a responsible pet owner and keep your furry friend safely away from any fishing tackle, and make sure to cast where they can't be accidentally snagged.

Return Rundown

When you return home from your fishing trip, take the time to thoroughly check your dog for any ticks or weeds. This includes in their ears, skin and genitals. You'll also want to give their nails and footpads a look, to make sure they didn't get hurt during the trip.

Running through this list will let you and your dog safely explore and enjoy going fishing together. Have a great trip!

Photo by Tony Alter

Read more articles by Tamara McRill


  1. Wow, those are some really important things to remember. We don't go fishing but those sound like some great rules to remember if you do. I think the fresh water sounds the best. Great post.

    1. Thanks, Marg! Yes, fresh water is super important on any outing, but probably the easiest one to forget when you're going to a lake or river. It seems like a lot to remember at first, but it's really not once you're used to the routine.

  2. Those are some great tips! Wish we had a boat to go fishing on!

    1. Oh, you are braver than I, Finn! I'm not a big fan of my squirmy trio going out on the boat. Of course, they can probably swim better...

  3. Sadly no one here goes fishing. We sure would love some fresh fish. But we will manage with our salmon treats:) Very good and informative post again.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

    1. Bet you would love fishing, but it looks like the Woos still manage to have tons of fun! Thanks for reading!

  4. Your threads and posts are very informative. TY and I am honored to be your friend.

    1. Aww...thanks, ~E! Happy to be your friend too. :)

  5. Ooooo maybe one of the doggies would like to catch us some fishies... *looking cute*

  6. What a cute idea...I would have never thought of that.

  7. These are some excellent tips I hadn't thought of before. They make a huge difference in the health and safety of your dog, so thanks for sharing them.

  8. Thanks for the tips and threads.

  9. My dog is so afraid of the water! I'm just now teaching him to swim; Unfortunately I got a life jacket that was one size too big for him. Poor guy flails about. Water scares him. I don't think he was meant for fishing.


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