If you want to take your pup out on the water, be sure to consider some safety precautions and measures to take to ensure a fun filled boating experience. Before even bringing your pet on the boat, you will want to make sure they feel comfortable and confident out on the water— prepare them with these safety tips for boating with your dog:
Before the Boat Ride:
It’s important to prepare yourself and your pet for the potential dangers of boating in the open water. Here are some preparation tips so your pet can enjoy their first boating experience, safely:
- Doggy swimming lessons: Make sure your dog is a confident swimmer and is comfortable doing so in a PFD-Personal Flotation Device/Pet Life Vest.
- Pack an emergency kit: This should include a fully stocked safety kit, flares, medications that your dog may be on, their Pet ID card and vaccination record should be stored in a waterproof container.
- Pet life jacket: Ensure your pet’s life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is the correct size and fit for your dog, and it meets all specifications and functions properly.If they have no experience wearing a PFD, take your pet to a pool or small, calm area of water to make sure it works and fits them correctly before going into open water.
- Check local pet laws: It is important to know the laws about dogs on boats in your location. You don’t want to ruin a pleasant outing with your pup with a ticket.
- Familiarize your dog with the boat: Your dog’s first trip to the boat should be when it is still tethered to the dock, so they can explore safely and become familiar with all aspects of the boat. For example, show them where the bow is, the cabin and the engine. Make sure to provide a ramp for your dog to get on and off the boat safely and easily.
- Develop a plan should your dog go overboard: You can practice this by putting your dog in the water (with their PFD) and letting them swim away from the boat. Cut the engine, go to your pre-designated part of the boat and call your dog. Pet life vests have handles which allows you to easily haul your dog out of the water.
Now that you are well prepared for your boating trip, here are some additional tips you’ll need while out on the water.
During the Boat Ride:
- Keep the first trip short: A dog unfamiliar with boating should have a short first trip. This will allow them to get acclimated to their surroundings and acquire their doggy sea legs.
- Bring plenty of water: It is important that your dog stays hydrated. Dogs can easily overheat on a boat, so it is important they have constant access to fresh water and shade to cool down.
- Sun protection: Dog skin is very sensitive. It is important to protect your pet from sunburn with dog-safe sunscreen. Don’t forget to reapply on longer outings.
- Potty breaks: Be sure to schedule appropriate potty breaks. When planning your trip, don’t forget to schedule stops where your dog can relieve itself.
Stay attentive to your dog’s body language and behavior during the boat ride that could indicate dehydration, anxiety or fear and respond appropriately. With these tips you will have a fun and enjoyable boating trip with your four-legged friend. Continue on with your adventures and stay safe! #boatingsafety #seadog #pawpalspetsitting