Dogs are man’s best friend, and most of them love few things more than going out on a board with you to enjoy the sun, fresh air and water.
Packing Fido on board, along with a cooler of drinks, extra towels and sunblock for all should be fairly easy and safe for all involved. But responsible dog and boat owners should be aware of some specific needs that Fido may have and make sure that both people and dog are safe and happy.
Here are a few good tips for bringing Fido along on your boat.
Yes, the dog needs a PFD. While most dogs love the water and most dogs are good swimmers, not all breeds are the same. A dog splashing around in a puddle, the pool or a shallow pond is different from a dog trying to swim in deep water, especially if there are strong waves or currents.
That’s why most vets and boating experts strongly recommend purchasing a personal floatation device for your dog. There are plenty of choices — check out the selection on Amazon here. Prices start at around $25 and come in many different sizes to fit different dogs.
A doggie life vest will help Fido keep his head above water in most cases and they also come with built-in handles on the top for hauling the dog aboard.
Doggie Health. A dog on a boat needs a little extra consideration. Make sure Fido is well hydrated: keep a water bowl handy and make sure the dog knows where it is. Many vets also recommend that Fido’s tender parts get treated with a special pet sunblock. A dog’s ears, belly and nose are specifically subject to burning in the hot sun. The spray-on Epi-Pet brand is FDA compliant. Finally, it might be a good idea to keep a pet first-aid kit on board, just in case. RC-Pets sells a first aid kit for pets that includes gauze pads and bandages, cold-packs, antiseptic wipes, saline solution and an emergency blanket.
Doing what a dog’s gotta do. If you’re taking your dog out on a boat for any length of time, you need to plan for a place for the dog to do what dog’s gotta do. You can buy pee pads on Amazonto handle No. 2; some boat owners with dogs recommend a square of artificial turf to provide a place for No. 1. You’ll also need disposal bags, paper towels, disinfectant spray and maybe a pair of nitrile gloves.
With some pre-planning for those necessities, plus an extra towel, some chew toys, and lots of treats, it should be possible to enjoy a boating trip with Fido on board.
Fay’s loves dogs and the boatyard is pet friendly, but alas, we cannot allow them on rental boats!