As the calendar shifts from winter to spring and spring to summer, millions of people across North America will be looking to have fun on their local lakes and rivers. Sailing can be a very pleasant and relaxing experience, as long as you know the basic safety rules. Naturally, many people who will be getting on boats in the near future are interested in bringing their dogs. A boat trip with your dog can also be an amazing experience if you are sure to follow a few simple rules and engage in logical preparation. Here are some things to make sure to cover before bringing your dog on board.
Assess your dog’s comfort level with water
Most dog owners already have an idea of how comfortable their dog is around water, but taking them to a large body of water can create a higher level of anxiety for your pet. To minimize this, familiarize your dog with the boat he will be traveling in before he reaches the water, if possible. Dogs that are allowed to roam and sniff the scents of a boat that is docked or parked in concrete will immediately feel comfortable and safe when they board the boat for a day on the water.
Have the right information
Obviously, you must have all of your pet’s tags and permits up to date with current information. Also, it’s a very good idea to have a phone number for a local marina handy in the rare event that your pet needs professional care of any kind.
Only a small fraction of dogs have the guts and carefree attitude to jump out of a boat while on the move, but if they do, they will surely need a floating device or life preserver of some kind. Various floating devices have been designed for dogs of all sizes in recent years and can be found at your local pet store or by doing an online search.
Portable food and water bowl
Many dogs give off very few signs when they are getting dehydrated or overheating, so you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of food and water on hand as well. Portable bowls that can be folded and unfolded are perfect for boats. Another thing to keep in mind is exposing your dog to the sun for a long period of time. Parts of a dog’s body that have exposed flesh, such as the ears or belly, can definitely get sunburned over time. Bringing a small blanket or sheet that allows your dog to protect itself from the scorching sun is a simple solution.
Know your itinerary
Many boat adventures involve a stop or two along the way. If your adventure involves your dog, it’s a good idea to check the various places you plan to visit in advance to see if they are dog-friendly. Leaving a dog alone in a boat while you tend to other business is not an option, so a few quick phone calls to gather information can go a long way in ensuring that you and your dog really enjoy your day on the water.