Taupo dog owners who enjoy sharing watersports with their pets are encouraged to consider what they would do in the event of an emergency.

Dogs are just like any other family member and can benefit from water safety measures is an underlying message from the Water Safety New Zealand.

Chief executive Jonty Mills confirms the Water Safety Code applies to the care of animals.
"It is the owner's responsibility to take care of their pets in, on and around water. There have been incidents in recent times when people have fatally drowned trying to rescue dogs," says Mr Mills.

The code stresses the importance of being prepared, watching out for yourself and each other, being aware of the dangers and knowing your limits.

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Don Shanks, local veterinarian and clinical director of Vet Plus, reinforces the view.

"It is the same principle for dogs as for humans. While many dogs can swim well in normal circumstances, in an emergency situation where they may be in the water for an extended time they may suffer from exhaustion and/or hypothermia."

Mr Shanks also highlighted that care should be taken when choosing a life jacket for dogs.

"Choose one that is comfortable but not too loose and one that has a handle or strap on the back to allow the dog to be lifted out of the water into a boat."

Local Nukuhau resident Derek Price has gone one step further with his 11-year-old retired breeding labrador Hollie and puts a life jacket on her for retrieving sticks at Acacia Bay.

"It's for extra safety. She's a lovely dog and I'm lucky to have her," says Mr Price.
Boaties Greg Currie and Sally Rowe bought their puppy Willis a dog life jacket at the start of summer.

"Willis is our fur baby and we weren't going to risk anything happening to him as he is part of our family," said Ms Rowe.