Boating with Dogs – Amazingly Simple Tips You Will Love

April 2nd, 2019 by

Boating with Dogs – Amazingly Simple Tips You Will Love

There is nothing better than taking your dog on a boating trip and sharing the fun. Dogs are, by nature, fresh-air creatures and love to go romping in different places. They are also natural swimmers, so the combination is right for boating with dogs. In addition to this, you will surely enjoy their company as much as they do during a boating trip.

If you take a child on a boating trip, you need to make special considerations. You need to adopt a similar approach if you are taking Man’s best friend with you on boating trips, as well. Here are a few hints and tips to make boating with dogs safe and enjoyable:


Making Adjustments

Animals are sensitive to loud noises and strange sounds, and dogs are no exception. Try vacuuming the house or shouting in front of your dog. You will probably see your dog’s ears go back, meaning that she does not like it. Boating involves strange sounds and some potentially-loud noises associated with boat life.

You need to get your dog acclimatized to the environment of the boat and its associated noises. Dogs are comfortable with stable surfaces. You cannot assume that your dog will be pleased with the rocking motion of a boat.

Take your dog on board the boat when it is moored a few times and perhaps start the engine. This way, she will familiarize herself with the rocking motion and engine noise. Once your dog is a bit familiar with the boat, make a few short trips before embarking on a longer one. Dogs also get seasick, so this way, they can get gradually used to going on a boat ride, especially in choppy water.


Training your Dog for Boating Trips

Just as with any other crew member on your boat, while boating with dogs, discipline is a critical factor. You need to create a game plan between you and your four-legged friend. Dogs respond well to commands, and you can make the best use of this by teaching your best friends the right commands. Obviously, you wouldn’t need your dog to roll over, play dead or beg on board the boat. However, basic commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ will keep your dog where you want her to be, especially while piloting the boat.

You don’t want a ‘pooch overboard’ situation, just because the dog didn’t stay put at the critical time. ‘On’ and ‘off’ are also useful commands, so that your canine first mate can be in your control at all times!


The Importance of a Pet Life Jacket

French Bulldog In Lifejacket

We all know that dogs are strong swimmers. But that said, like any other crew member, you should fit your doggie with a doggie life jacket. Life vests for dogs are readily available in the market. However, not all life jackets are the same. Due to this, you should try different models.

Once you have the lifejacket, it would be a good idea to try it out before sailing forth. For this, you can even try it out in a swimming pool or wherever you have your boat. You need to get your dog used to the life vest. It should also be a snug fit. Once your four-legged friend is comfortable with the life jacket, you are good to go.


Health Issues

While boating with dogs, exposure to the sun can be extreme, with little or no shade available. To prevent the adverse effects of the sun, ensure that you take sufficient stock of freshwater. Even if you are going to be boating in a freshwater lake, carry separate water for your dog. The lake water may be unhealthy for your dog to drink. So, when you plan for drinking water, include enough for your canine crewmember as well.

If you come across blue-green algae, make sure your dog can’t swim in or drink the water, it can kill your dog. We strongly recommend not letting your dog in or near the water.

It is essential to be aware of your dog’s exposure to the sun. Short-haired dogs are especially susceptible to sunburn. Carry pet-friendly sunscreen with a good SPF – this should be readily available at your local pet store. A first-aid kit is also a useful thing to carry. Stock your first-aid kit with stuff that can be used on both humans and dogs. But ensure to label the items appropriately.


Potty Breaks

You need to address this somewhat critical issue as well. Train your dog to do her business on a newspaper, a patch of astroturf, fake grass or a disposable doggy mat. Alternatively, you can also spread puppy pads on the deck where your doggie can be trained to go whenever required. Alternatively, you can train your dog to go on the swim platform, which can be hosed down later on. However, ensure that only urine is hosed down into the open water. You should collect solid waste in a paper towel and dispose of the doggie waste onshore.

If you can’t make your dog “go to the bathroom” on command, then you need to pick it up and store it securely to dispose of later. Ensure to keep a good supply of odour neutralizer and paper towels.


Special Fishing Precautions

Dogs are curious animals. The presence of lures, baits, and hooks often gets overlooked when a dog is onboard. Ensure that you keep such fishing accessories like fishing hooks and fishing nets out of reach. You don’t want your pooch to pierced with a fishhook, ingest bait or get entangled in a fishing net.


Legal Aspects

There aren’t any national laws and regulations regarding how dog owners should handle dogs on a boat. However, there can be some state laws that you wouldn’t want to overlook. Hence, be aware of the particular requirements of your state. Also, make sure to learn a bit about any specific regulations you need to take notice of as a responsible dog owner.

For example, there is a restriction on the number of dogs you can have on a fishing boat. There is also a rule that you should keep all pet dogs on a leash. However, the law does not apply to dogs on board a boat.


Pet-Specific Supplies for Safe Boating with Dogs

Here is a neat list of useful items that you can keep handy to be prepared for any contingency:

1. First-aid kit

Stock up your first aid kit with both human and veterinary medicines. Alternatively, you can carry a dedicated first-aid box, available in most pet shops. Here are a few essential items to consider before embarking on a boating adventure with furry friends:

  • Bandages
  • Scissors
  • Forceps
  • Antibiotic ointment for cuts and burns
  • Tablets for sea sickness
  • Muzzle
  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Gauze rolls
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages


2. Water and food bowls

There is likely to be a lot of bouncing about. You can use a Road Refresher water bowl. These water bowls have Velcro attachments that fix the base of the dish to carpets and other surfaces. Bowls with suction cups are also available


3. Leash

You never know when you are going to go ashore in a busy marina while boating with dogs. Do keep a leash handy. Everyone isn’t comfortable with our four-legged friends. The leash will keep your dog safe in case of traffic, as well. You may also find it necessary to put the dog on a leash in case of rough weather. However, if you are going to leash your dog, use a harness instead of a collar. This will be easier on the neck, distributing the load across the body.


4. Retrieval Gear

Carry some necessary retrieval gear like a ladder, rope, fishing net, or swimming platform. The equipment should be in line with an action plan in case of a dog overboard situation. For example, if you have a small dog, you can consider using a fishing net for retrieval. You would do well to rehearse the scenario once or twice to be ready in an eventuality.

Pay particular attention to the ability of your dog to get back on board. You may have to practice this a few times until your dog gets the idea, create a game plan. In the case of a powered boat, it is critical to cut the engine the instant a dog is in the water.


5. Mats and Carpets

The deck of your boat can be a slippery place for your pooch. Keep the boat surface nicely padded with bath mats and carpets. This will help your dog to get a firm footing on the boat surfaces.


Dog Breeds that are Suitable for Boating

For a breed to be compatible with boating, it is preferable that the breed can swim well. Some breeds find it difficult to swim. A dog should preferably have long legs and a long snout like a Golden Retriever. Longer legs will help in stronger swimming, and a longer muzzle helps to keep the nose above the water. If the feet are somewhat webbed, it is an additional advantage.

Just imagine a pug swimming alongside a Labrador. Further, imagine a pug falling in the water and trying to save itself. It paints a somewhat clumsy picture. Labradors and Golden Retrievers are natural water dogs and can swim with ease. In fact, these breeds just love the water. So, make sure that your dog’s breed is one that is conducive to boating. You can still take small dogs, but you need to be particularly cautious. Whatever the breed, always ensure your dog wears a canine lifejacket when boating in open waters.


Weather Protection for Boat Dogs

It cannot be stressed more about the need for weather protection for our four-legged friends. Here are a few pointers which should set you on the right track:

  • In freezing weather, or in bad weather as in a storm at sea, ensure that your dog has additional protection like a warm coat. Waterproof raincoats for dogs are also available in the market today.
  • Extreme heat can also affect your dog adversely. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to the harmful effects of the UV (ultraviolet) rays of the sun. Keep a pet-friendly sun protection spray or ointment at hand that has a good SPF (sun protection factor).
  • Like humans, dogs can also suffer from seasickness in choppy waters. Keep a stock of seasickness medication on the boat. You can buy specific pet-friendly seasickness medications from a pet store.


Safe Boating with Dogs with Basic Safety Tips

So, you see, you need to consider many things if you want to take your dog boating. However, by following these boating safety tips, you can look forward to loads of fun boating with dogs. Just keep in mind the information that we have provided, and you and your boat dog can have some great boating experiences together.

We hope these tips will help you keep your dog safe while boating. If you have any tips or good advice we missed, we would love to hear from you. Comment below or contact us.

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