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Safety Tips for Boating with Dogs

Do you have plans to bring your dog on your next boating excursion? While you may think you are fully prepared with food and water for your furry friend, there are still many safety considerations you should know to ensure that both of you will have a fun-filled boating adventure. Here are some tips to keep you and your dog safe out on the water.

Purchase a dog life vest

Even if your dog is a good swimmer, he or she should be outfitted with a life jacket to prevent drowning. If a dog falls overboard or off the dock, the pooch could be startled by the fall causing it to go into a panic. The life jacket should be equipped with a lifting handle to make recovering your dog easier. You also should make sure your dog is adapted to wearing the PFD before heading out.

Stock up on water

If the weather is extremely hot make sure there is more than enough water for your dog to ensure he or she is well hydrated. You should also provide some shade for your dog on the deck to prevent heat exhaustion. Monitor your dog’s heart rate, panting patterns and saliva production as much as you can. In general, you should bring out a cold bowl of water for your dog every hour.

Bring your dog’s health and vaccination records

If you go ashore to an unfamiliar marina or place officials may require you to hand them a copy of your dog’s immunization records before allowing your pet to explore the land. Make sure you have copies of their records and not originals in case they get lost.

Bring a portable dog potty for long trips

If your trip requires infrequent land stops, you must make provisions for your dog so they can do their business. We recommend the Pup-Head ® Portable Indoor Dog Potty. The system looks and feels like grass, preventing the dog from having an accident on the boat deck.

Make sure your dog is comfortable

It's imporant to make sure that your dog is acclamated to their surroundings and are at ease. To guarantee your dog is comfortable, we suggest following these steps below:
  • Make sure your dog knows the commands “sit”, “down” and “stay”.
  • Purchase or create a ramp or stairs to assist your dog into your boat. There are a variety of retailers that sell dog stairs and ramps. If your are using one of our JetDock Floating Boat Lifts or Docks we suggest expanding one side or the front of the boat lift or dock by attaching more cubes. This will give adequate room to fit an ascending ramp or stairs for the dog to climb into the boat.
  • Put nonslip padding in the cabin, cockpit and deck of your boat so your dog will grip rather than slip everywhere when the boat is moving.
  • Put a ramp over the cabin stairs so your dog can easily slide down into the cabin. You might need to assist your dog up and down the ramp if it is steep.
  • Encourage your dog to walk around your boat as well as getting on and off. You should also test your basic dog commands to ensure he or she still listens to you.

Don't take your dog out in bad weather

Most dogs are afraid of storm, especially thunder. This can cause them to try to escape to a safe place. This can cause them to run around the boat and possible cause injury to themselves and others, as well as falling overboard. Plan your trip accordingly and be aware of bad weather that may arise during your trip.

It's important to safety measures in place for you and your dog before boarding. Taking proper precaution will help your dog feel safer and will ensure a safe boat trip.

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