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6 Tips for Boating with Dogs

Whether you’re planning a scenic excursion or an epic duck hunt, bringing the family dog can be a great addition to any boat trip. Keep your pup safe and happy with these tips.

Boat safety for you, boat safety for your dog. You’re already taking steps to stay safe when boating, so think about how to extend those safety habits to your dog, too. Here’s a quick list of boat safety measures for dogs to keep in mind:

  • Find a doggie life jacket – they come in all shapes and sizes
  • Make a dog overboard rescue plan
  • Pack a first aid kit for pets
  • Apply a pet-safe sunscreen to exposed areas

Some dogs, such as English Bulldogs, simply cannot float or swim because of their physical characteristics, so make sure to research your breed and take the steps necessary to ensure their safety in your watercraft.

Planning and training. Dogs don’t come with built-in boat skills, and may need some special gear and training to get them ready for a ride. Here are some tips to get Fido ready for boat life:

  • Teach your dog to swim, and get her comfortable with the water
  • Practice walking on floating docks so she learns new balance skills
  • Plan for the extra space or weight, especially on a small boat
  • Make the first trip short so it’s not overwhelming
  • Invest in a swim platform or boat ramp for dogs so she can easily board from the dock and from below in the water
  • Train her where to “go” on the boat with a pad or a carpet (and pack waste bags, too)
  • Use a life jacket with sturdy straps instead of a collar so you can lift her out of the water easily if needed

Make your pup comfortable. A little thinking ahead can make all the difference. Try these special touches to keep your boat trip comfy and fun for your four-legged family member:

  • A fresh water rinse after ocean swims to prevent salt ingestion
  • Water-resistant bedding with a no-slip bottom
  • Plenty of food and water
  • A shaded area to stay cool
  • Dry towels
  • Take shore breaks
  • Dog toys for the water

What’s better than boating? Boating with your best friend. With these tips, your four-legged family members can enjoy boating just as much as you do.

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Related Topics: Recreational , Travel