It came to mind the other day, after seeing a dog in distress on a rocky cliff at Cadboro Bay, that some paddlers bring their pets along on the water. It's a good idea to make plans for how you would rescue your dog (or cat, or other pet) if there were any problems.
Since it's a safety law for humans to have life jackets or PFDs, you'll probably want to have a life jacket for your dog. This choice might seem optional, as some dogs are very strong swimmers. There are plenty of styles of life jackets, as you could see on this Google search page. The most practical designs have a sturdy harness with a handle for lifting the dog -- two handles on life jackets for big dogs! This design is a good reminder that it's very hard to grab hold of a wet dog and lift it out of the water. Even if the dog is a strong swimmer, a PFD is stronger than an ordinary harness, and will make rescuing the dog easier.
While some dogs might be assisted with a paddle float tied on a rope or some other improvised float, most will be less able to assist in their own rescue than a human. Our paddle group does safety practise, learning how to assist each other on the water. It's a good idea for a pet owner to do some safety practise with the dog. Maybe you already do lots of swimming with the dog, or maybe it's never gone in the water before. Take some time in safe conditions to try some of the ways you might have to help your dog if there's a problem. Start simple, make it fun, and maybe you'll feel prepared in practical ways for your time on the water with your dog.