Nothing is more exciting than sharing life adventures with your furry best friend — and that includes boat rides. If you’re a marine enthusiast, there’s no reason to not include your dog in your boating activities. Many dogs enjoy boating and spending time on the water. Having your dog with you can also elevate the mood of your family and loved ones, making for an unforgettable day on the water.
That said, there are a few important steps you need to take to make sure that your dog is safe and happy while onboard. DEKit is a leading marine products company and we know what it takes to have successful and action-packed time on the water. In this article, we’ll share our best boating with dogs tips so you can have an amazing experience with your four-legged friend.
1. Get a Life Vest for Your Dog
Investing in a properly fitted life jacket for your dog is the best way to ensure safety and prevent drowning accidents. Dogs get easily tired swimming and a boat-friendly dog life jacket is a must for a worry-free day on the water.
When choosing a life vest for your dog, pay attention to the following features:
→ Appropriate coverage: It’s a good idea to get a dog life jacket with full-torso coverage for better buoyancy and protection. The more coverage the life vest has, the better it’ll float.
→ Bright color: Having a bright-colored life vest will make it easier to spot your dog overboard.
→ Strong handle: A durable handle makes it easier to get your dog out of the water.
→ Ability to attach a leash: Make sure the life jacket has a ring where you can attach a leash for better functionality and protection.
It’s important for your dog to wear a life jacket at all times when onboard. Keep in mind that it may take some time for your dog to get used to having the life jacket on. Many dogs dislike it at first, so practice on land first for a smooth transition.
2. Prevent Your Dog from Dehydration
Spending time surrounded by sun and water will undoubtedly make your dog thirsty, so it’s important to have proper gear to hydrate your dog. You don’t want your pooch drinking lake or seawater because it could expose them to parasites or make them sick.
Make sure to have fresh drinking water and a boat-friendly pet dish onboard. Bring a portable water bottle with a bowl or install a pet dish to ensure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh water throughout the long day.
It’s also important to provide a shaded space for your dog where they can take breaks and recover from all the fun in the sun. Depending on how long you’re planning on being out on the water, you should also consider bringing some snacks for your dog.
3. Introduce Your Dog to Swimming
Many dogs love swimming, but for some canines it may take time to get used to swimming and start enjoying it. To make the introduction to water, find a calm spot where your dog can feel relaxed. Encourage your pup to get into the water with toys and treats and allow them to slowly build up their confidence and go deeper into the water. Offer lots of encouragement and support.
If your dog is scared of the water or appears uneasy, don’t force them to swim. Some dogs are simply not built for swimming or don’t like water as a personal preference. Give your best effort to make swimming fun, but go at your dog’s pace.
4. Have a Plan for Going Potty
If you’re going to spend more than a couple of hours on your boat, your dog is going to need a place to relieve themselves. If you don’t want to go back to the shore to give your dog a break, set up a potty station with puppy pads or artificial grass. Show your dog where the potty area is so they feel confident using it.
5. Protect Your Dog’s Skin and Paws
Just like humans, dogs can get sunburned. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun — especially in the peak hours between 10am and 4pm — protect your dog’s skin and nose with a dog-specific sunscreen. Make sure to read the instructions of your chosen sunscreen to apply it appropriately, especially if your dog is in and out of the water.
It’s also important to remember that some boat decks can get very hot on sun-filled days. If your deck has this problem, it’s a good idea to get dog booties to protect your pooch’s sensitive paws. For a long-term solution, consider getting DEKit marine boat flooring. It dissipates heat, giving hours of barefoot comfort to humans and dogs alike.
6. Have a Pet First Aid Kit on Board
Even though you’ll hopefully never need to use it, it’s important to have a dog first aid kit on your boat in case of an emergency. You can assemble a dog first aid kit yourself or get a pre-packaged one. If you’re making your own, some essential items to include are gauze, non-stick bandages, cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, healing aid, thermometer, medicine to counteract poison, and tweezers. Talk to your vet for more ideas on what to include.
7. Go at Your Dog’s Pace
You probably can’t wait to start bringing your dog on boating adventures with you, but it’s crucial that you go at your dog’s pace and not force any activities that may be making your four-legged friend uncomfortable or uneasy. Especially with things like swimming, remember to be patient and offer lots of positive reinforcement.
With consistency and a positive attitude, your dog will love boating as much as you do in no time.
Take Your Boating Experience to the Next Level with DEKit
Upgrading your boat with high-quality marine products will make it more enjoyable to use both for you and your dog.