Things to Consider Before Taking Your Dog on a Boat

Recently I went on a get away to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. I never find the time to get out on the water but this was a special event that I couldn’t deny. While out on the water we noticed many boats had dogs on their boats. Now, the dogs looked extremely happy and in all their glory. Why wouldn’t they, boating can be a lot of fun, especially in those hot summer months. It’s even more fun when you get to go do something you love with the ones you love. Who do you love more than your dog!? Boating with your dog can be a lot of fun but there are some steps that you must take to ensure your four-legged friend is safe.

Safety Tips for Boating With Your Dog

First and foremost, it is important that your dog always has clean drinking water. It will get hot out on the boat being under the sun all day. The only water that your dog may think they have access to will be salty ocean water or organism-filled lake and pond water. Salt water is actually more dehydrating than hydrating. Organisms in lake water can cause sicknesses, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. You’ll want to make sure that your dog does not get tempted to drink water other than their clean drinking water. Bring a water bottle full of fresh water and a bowl specifically for your dog.

Next you want to make sure that your dog will be safe if he/she decides to jump in the water. We know dogs are known for their doggy paddle and being great swimmers, but rocky waters and exhaustion can put your dog in danger. Just like with humans, safety jackets are important to have on the boat for your dog too. Make sure the life jacket that you get for your dog fits properly for your dog’s size and weight. Again, if your dog does decide to get into the water, you will want to make sure that there aren’t any potential predators in that water. Be aware of the animals and creatures that are native to the environment. Jellyfish can be very dangerous and potentially fatal in saltwater. Snapping turtles or other biting creatures can cause harm if they feel threatened by your curious pup.
Once your dog gets out of the water, you’ll want to give him a quick rinse or a wipe down to remove any excess salt from his coat which could cause dry and itchy skin. Also, check to remove any sort of creatures, like leeches. You can never be too cautious.

If you find that your dog has sensitive eyes, you can get him/her a pair of doggy goggles. They have them for all different sized dogs. They help protect against bright sun rays as well as the harmful UV rays that cause burning. They also help protect against sand, wind, and salt. Lighter colored eyes are naturally more sensitive to bright sun rays, so consider that when deciding whether your dog may need goggles. Speaking of harmful sun rays, dogs can get sun burned just like humans can. Just as you would apply sunscreen to yourself every 2 hours, you should apply sunscreen to your dog as well. There is sunscreen made specifically for dogs. This is important to have in case your dog starts to lick their skin, it will not make them sick. Dogs with light-colored coats, like white, and short-haired coats, tend to burn more easily. You will absolutely want to make sure that these dogs are wearing sunscreen. Not sure where to apply sunscreen on your furry dog? Be sure to cover all of the spots that are hairless first, which includes their ears, snouts, and bellies. You may also want to refer to our article, Can I Bring My Dog to the Beach? which covers more details about dogs and sunscreen.

Last but not least, it is important for you to first test if your dog has any sort of motion sickness. You will not want to get on a boat for a long period of time and then find out that your dog has motion sickness. If your dog gets sick on long drives, it is possible that they will also get sick out on a boat in the ocean or lake. Go for a little test run with your dog on the water first to see if they can handle the ocean’s waves. If you follow all of these tips, you’ll be on your way to have an amazingly fun time out on the boat with your dog. But more importantly, your four-legged friend will be safe!

Written July 16th, 2018