Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors with your pet. For those lucky enough to live by the water, boating can be a particular thrill for our furry friends.
But it’s not without its dangers.
Boat safety is as important for pets as it is for humans. There’s no telling what could happen when you’re out on open water, so stay safe by following these steps and make the most of your summer days!
6. Have a Plan
While you may hope that you never have to jump in after an overboard dog, you should also plan to.
“Talk about what everyone would do if your dog goes overboard,” Terri Parrow Botsford, vice president of internet operations for BoatUS tells Vet Street. “You’ll cut the engine, go to this part of the boat to call them, etc. Think about it ahead of time and practice if you have the chance.”
5. Pack Flotation Gear
No matter how strong a swimmer your dog is, a life jacket is still essential when boating in deep water.
Rough or choppy waters can pose a problem for any canine swimmer, Discover Boating reports. A fatigued animal has a much harder time staying afloat and needs a reliable snug life jacket to prevent drowning.
4. Remember Sunscreen
No one likes to get burned, but it can happen, even to dogs.
A red inflamed tummy is no fun in the sun. Sunburn can also lead to hair loss and scaly skin, PetMD maintains.
Sunscreen can be applied to a dog’s belly and inner hind legs for an effective preventative measure.
“It’s actually very important to put sunscreen on dogs, especially those with light skin and white fur or hair,” says Richard Goldstein, DVM, chief medical officer of the Animal Medical Center in New York City. “A dog’s skin can be damaged by the sun just like our own, so they require the same protection against the development of sunburn and skin cancer.”
3. Board Safely
According to The Boat Galley, the best way to start your journey is to carry small dogs under one arm and lead larger dogs by a leash.
Stay close to your animal from the time you board until the ropes are secured safely to the mooring cleats and you and your dog are on dry land once again. Animals left unattended for hours can get anxious and cause damage.
2. Stay Hydrated
There may be water as far as the eye can see, but you shouldn’t be drinking it. Some freshwater lakes are home to untold amounts of industrial runoff and bacteria, Discover Boating maintains. And if you dog is swimming in it, chances are it may be drinking some, too.
Bring containers of safe drinking water on the boat for you and your dog. The summer sun can make your pet drool and perspire, which means it will be losing vital fluids that need to be replenished. Be prepared with a cool bowl of water, and you’ll make your dog’s day!
1. Make Room For Relief
When a dog has to go, a dog has to go.
Discover Boating recommends bringing doggie bags and paper towels along on the trip, to be used as your animal answers the call of nature. And The Boat Galley offers some helpful information on training a dog to use a piece of astroturf for its business.
No matter how to choose to accommodate your dog, keeping it comfortable throughout your trip is a great way to find fair seas. GreaterGood has a number of items that can help you on your next sojourn at sea. Follow the link below to find our favorite floatation device!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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