Most dogs love getting out on the water as much as you and I do and you wouldn’t leave you best friend stuck on shore every time you left the dock, would you? So the next time you are headed out for a day at the lake or favorite fishing hole, also grab the leash and the water bowl. Just remember to use these dogs-on-board tips, to keep the trip a fun one for everyone. Boating can be a fun experience for the whole family, so don’t leave your canine members out. Be safe, and have fun!
Your Dog’s Behavior
You love your pet; just don’t expect your boating companions to feel the same way about your dog. Check with others before bringing your dog on a trip. It’s up to you to monitor and moderate their behavior. Make sure they aren’t barking at the wildlife and disturbing others. Also, make sure the dog has a chance to relieve himself, before you leave the dock. Nothing ruins a trip on the boat like having to go and being unable to!
Use a ramp or carry your dog onto the boat, if it sits well below dock level. Otherwise there’s a fair chance your dog will try to jump onboard, and possibly injure himself. Boarding and disembarking should always be controlled, planned motions.
Buy your Pup a Life Jacket
Gently introduce your dog to the water and boating. Put their life jacket on them at home and let them get used to wearing it. It doesn’t matter if your dog is a lab who swims like a fish, he still needs a life jacket. Your dog could fall in while the boat is moving or he could panic when he senses the depth of the lake. Either way, isn’t it easier to put a life jacket on your dog than to risk his life?
Bring Fresh Water
It is very important to bring water for your dog to drink on the boat, especially if it’s a warm day. Just like you, the sun beating off of the water can make your dog even warmer, and he can become dehydrated. Have a very fresh source of water for him; don’t just expect him to drink out of the lake.
Bring Towels and a Blanket
If your dog goes swimming he’s going to be very wet, and it’s far better to towel him off than have him shake all over your boat! Bring your dog’s blanket as well. Even if it is warm the breeze that blows by when the boat is moving can be very chilly, and your dog will be much more comfortable with a blanket.
For Your Health
In areas with poison oak/ivy/sumac be aware that the irritant plant oils can transfer from the dog’s coat to you when you handle them. If you’re allergic, the only thing you can do is bathe the dog, with soapy water (well away from any water source), after they’ve been running through this vegetation.
Boating with your dog can be a great experience or it can be a disaster. Like some people, some dogs just don’t make good boating companions. Do your best to introduce them to your favorite pastime; then if they just don’t take to it, leave them at home. You’ll both be happier.