Boating With Your Dog

Summer time has finally arrived and with it, many of us enjoy going out to the lake with our boat. Several of you are probably considering taking your dog out on the water with you. Taking your dog on the water is fun for both, you and your dog. Boating with your canine companion can be a great way to explore the outdoors.

Any dog can enjoy being on a boat. Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in the water often enjoy spending time out on the boat with you, and even dogs that do not enjoy the water can still have a great time in a boat. Even if your pup prefers to stay dry, it’s very likely they will enjoy being with you and will have fun riding around in the boat.

When taking your dog out on the water don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag of dog food (for longer trips), a bowl for water, pet waste bags and a pet first aid kit.

Here are a few safety tips when taking your dog out on the water.

I suggest starting with a short trip, especially if it is the first time your dog will be in a boat. You might want to spend some time in shallow water so your dog can get her/his sea legs and allow time for her/him to adjust to the sounds and movement of being on a boat.

Make sure your dog is under constant supervision. It only takes a split second for something to go wrong.

Keep a life jacket on your dog, even if he knows how to swim. There are many different types of vests, you’ll want to make sure to buy the correct size for your dog. I know what you’re thinking, whatever, my dog is a great swimmer. Just keep in mind some dogs may panic when they accidentally fall over board. Another reason to keep a life vest on is in case your dog does not know his limitations. Some dogs will keep going until they pass out. Most of the life jackets come with a nifty handle to help pull your dog safely back onto the boat.

Another thing to consider is your dog’s footing. Dogs do not have boating shoes and boats with fiberglass decks can become especially slick for your dog to walk on. Consider putting down some carpet, which will allow your dog to have better footing. This will also keep your dog’s paws from burning on a hot deck.

We all wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from the harsh sun when out on the water. You may want to provide your dog with a pair of doggles. What in the world are Doggles? Doggles are safety glasses made for dogs. If your dog will tolerate wearing them, they will protect your dog’s eyes from the sun.

You’ll also want to make sure you have sunscreen for your dog. There are special sunscreens available, which are formulated to protect your pooch. A dog’s nose is very susceptible to sunburn. If you have a dog with very short hair you’ll want to make sure he’s protected on his head, belly and anywhere else he may burn.

Make sure if you’re out fishing that all hooks, bait and anything else a dog is likely to get into is kept away from your dog.

You will also want to make sure your dog has a place to get out of the sun. This is important so your dog has a place to cool off when temperatures and sun can become overwhelming, and always keep plenty of fresh drinking water on hand for your canine sailor.


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  1. In your article “Boating With Your Dog” thank you for telling pet owner that they should “Keep a life jacket on your dog, even if he knows how to swim” Your quick link to dog life jackets is also very helpful. My only regret is that Critter’s Inflatable pet life jacket (the most comfortable life jacket) does not pop up until page 5 (see items 97, 98, and 99). Please let me introduce you to Critter’s Inflatable pet life jacket. This inflatable life jacket can be extremely helpful for muscular breeds like the bulldog that have little or no buoyancy in water. The advantage over foam life jackets is that it is very comfortable for the dog to wear and there is buoyancy directly under the dog’s neck to help keep its ears and airway out of the water. Critter’s Inflatable comes in three sizes: small (for up to 15 lbs), medium (10 to 40 lbs) and large (35 to 200 lbs).
    If you are interest in testing/reviewing a Critter’s Inflatable (at no cost to you) and then writing about it or update your article, please get back to me with the size you need and your shipping address.

  2. Doing a review sounds great, I’ll send you an email.