Sailing the seven seas with your pooch is like the ultimate adventure. There’s no better way to just kick back and relax while spending uninterrupted time bonding with your family and pet.
But before you ride off footloose and fancy-free on your next boating expedition, here are a few tips The Barking Lot found to not only help ensure your dog’s safety but also make sure every aspect of your trip is smooth sailing for the whole family.
Does Your Dog Know How To Swim?
Was your pooch born with fins? According to Lindsey Wolko CEO of Center for Pet Safety, some pets instinctively know how to swim and others would rather stay home and choose the dog boarding option.
Try preparing your dog for the trip by doing mini swim lessons with him in a small pool. Make sure the water is no higher than the halfway point at your pet’s legs. If you’re not sure what to do, have your dog take lessons from a professional. Once he gets used to swimming in shallow waters, try adding more water to the pool.
Have a Plan In Case Your Pet Falls In the Water
Experts suggest mapping out a plan for the family to follow beforehand in case your dog falls from the boat. Do a practice run to make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of an accident.
Bring a Crate Onboard For Your Pet
Just like you, your dog will need some down time. In order to keep him safe while you’re resting, bring along a sturdy dog crate and place it in a shady area on the boat. Having a dog crate will give your dog a break from the hot sun, help prevent heat stroke and provide a cool, dry place to sleep.
Purchase a Life Jacket
There are some stores with dog supplies for sale that include life jackets, floats, and vests for your pet. And Terri Parrow Botsford, vice president of Internet operations for BoatUS, advises that it’s always good to have something to hold on to if you have to pull your pooch from the water. “Most life jackets have a handle so you can lift and pull them out. You don’t want to ever grab the collar,” says Botsford.
Don’t Forget the First Aid Kit
Your boat should be equipped with a first aid kit. If not, purchase one ahead of time. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are specific pet products you’ll want to include. It’s also a good idea to bring along any medications your dog will need for the trip.
Familiarize Yourself with Local Laws
Some states have specific laws about dogs on boats. Research them prior to leaving so that you know what to expect. If you plan to tread international waters, foreign guidelines might vary from those in the states.