Our four legged friends love going out on the boat almost as much as we do. Our dogs are part of the family and we need to insure that when they are on the water that we are prepared and they are safe. Here are six tips for boating with your dog
1. Invest in a life jacket. You may know that your dog is a good swimmer, but depending on conditions such as the current, they could face problems. Life jackets are especially recommended if you have a small dog or one that is not strong. You can purchase a dog life jacket from your local marine store, pet store, or online. Before you purchase a dog life jacket though, you should measure your dog’s length, neck, and girth to ensure that you are purchasing the correct size. Once you purchased a doggie life vest be sure to have your dog try it on before you head out on the boat to ensure it fits correctly.
2. Bring extra water. The atmosphere out on the boat can be very hot and dry which is conducive to dehydration for dogs. Dogs do not sweat, so keep an eye out for heavy panting and a rapid heart beat. It is important that you take extra fresh water along for your dog and make sure that they have ample water available at all times. Collapsible dog water bowls are a good thing to have when out on the boat with your dog.
3. Take doggie waste bags or wee-wee pads. A big challenge of boating with your dog is making provisions so that they can go to the bathroom. If you can make stops to land then you should bring waste bags as a courtesy and pick up your dogs waste. If you are unable to make stops to land then you should train your dog to use wee-wee pads.
4. Bring a leash. You never know where you could end up when going out on the boat. So, it is always good to have a leash just in case you end up going to an island that has a leash law, a marina, or a restaurant. It is recommended though that you do not tie your dog to the deck, as it is not safe.
5. Bring treats for positive reinforcements. There are times such as docking and anchoring that you really need your dog to be well behaved and out of the way. Something you can do to help them is to give treats to help them to stay put while you are doing these tasks.
6. Develop a plan incase your dog goes overboard. While we hope this never happens, if it does you need to be prepared. You should talk to everyone on board so they will be prepared and know exactly what to do.
Photo from: dogster.com