Tips for Boating With Your Dog

There’s nothing more fun than bringing a four-legged friend along on boating trips. Most dogs love the water almost as much as they love being with their people, but before heading out into water, consider a few of these simple tips for bringing a dog on a boat and keeping a canine companion safe and happy aboard the boat.

Purchase a doggie life jacket
Even if your dog isn’t a natural swimmer, a life jacket will provide peace of mind for everyone. Canine life jackets are made of high-floatation neoprene or nylon, and they feature reflective trim, rescue handles and leash rings. If your local pet supply store doesn’t carry pet life jackets, check out West Marine, Outward Hound, Overton’s, L.L. Bean or SwimOutlet.

Get your dog acquainted with the boat before going out
Before you take your dog out for the first time, let them check out the boat while it’s not underway. If they seem comfortable, you may want to start up the motor to get them accustomed to the sound of it.

Put together a pet first-aid kit
Keep a first aid kit on board in case your dog steps on a sharp shell or decides to take on a marine animal. In addition to the basic supplies like gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, scissors and tweezers, consider items such as hydrogen peroxide, extra towels, ear cleaning solution, styptic powder, a flashlight and needle-nose pliers.

Bring along fresh water
Bring along a water dish and extra drinking water so that your dog always has fresh water to drink. Even if you’re boating on fresh water, it’s never a good idea to let your pet drink from the lake.

Don’t forget the sunscreen
Yes, even pets need sun protection. Dogs with short hair or light skin, such as white boxers, are especially susceptible to sunburn. Sunscreen with SPF-15 is a good choice for most dogs. Be sure to reapply often.

Potty time
Whether you’re on land or in the middle of the lake, when a dog’s “gotta go”, a dog’s “gonna go”. An ideal situation would be to train your dog to go on puppy training pads in a certain spot on the boat, but we all know that’s not always going to go exactly as planned. Be sure to take lots of pet waste bags along with you on your boating adventures. Paper towels and odor neutralizer are also good items to have on board. Take along some odor neutralizing trash bags, the kind you use in your kitchen trash can, to dispose of everything until you’re near a proper trash receptacle.

“The most important thing to remember is to make sure your pet has access to plenty of cool fresh water, wet towels and shade to prevent heat stroke or heat exhaustion from occurring,” said Dr. Ira Zaslow, a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care and founder of Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists, a specialty and emergency hospital for pets in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “If you notice abnormal behavior, excessive panting, drooling, reddened gums or increased body temperature, your dog could be overheated. You should try to cool the dog down with cool fresh water and get them to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.”

Courtesy of Boatsetter

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