Do you ever take your dog out on the boat from your lakefront property? Here are some tips that will make your day on the water safe and enjoyable for all the pet participants.
PFD’S (Personal Flotation Device). If your dog falls overboard, will he/she be able to avoid exhaustion or hypothermia before they can be retrieved? Believe it or not, PFD’s are made just for dogs and may be purchased all the major marine vendors. Make sure the PFD fits securely and allow your dog to practice swimming while wearing it. If your dog has never worn a PFD they may be resistant to it at first. Give them time to get acquainted with it before actually getting on the boat.
FRESH DRINKING WATER. Always have enough fresh drinking water available for your dog. Canines lose fair amounts of body fluid when they pant, so be sure to keep them hydrated. While moving and bouncing boats may not be the most practical place for a dog bowl, an alternative it to allow your dog to drink out of a sports bottle, which are less messy and you can squirt water right into their mouth.
SUN AND HEAT. Excessive sun exposure can cause heat problems for animals. Just as with humans, they include sun stroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. Providing a shaded are for your pet is a good idea. Again, give them plenty of water. Let them take a dip in the water to cool them down if necessary. Boat surfaces, such as fiberglass, can get extremely hot in the sun. Dogs absorb heat through the pads on their feet so be sure to protect them.
RELIEVING THEIR BLADDER. If your boat surface allows, try to train your dog to go to the bathroom in a specific spot. This eliminates stepping in surprises and you can easily wipe it clean. Obviously, if your boat flooring is carpet the first suggestion isn’t ideal. If this is the case, be sure to allow your dog to go ashore so they can do their business.
THE INEXPERIENCED BOATING DOG. If you’ve never brought your dog out on a boat, don’t assume they will enjoy boating. They often prefer still and stable surfaces. A day or so before you plan on taking your dog boating, allow them to get acquainted with the boat while it is still on the trailer or at dock. This is also a good time to let them wear their PFD for the first time. Your next step is to crank the engine since it may be an unfamiliar sound to your dog.
Make your first outing on the water a short one just to allow your pet to get acclimated to boat movement. Humans get seasick so there is no reason to think your pet will not do the same.