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Boating with Pets

Boating with Pets
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Boating is fun for the entire family – and we mean the entire family. Over 44% of U.S. households have at least one canine member. Taking your four legged kiddo out on the water can be so much fun; but, it is important to keep their safety as well as your own safety at the forefront of your mind. This blog will go over how to safely boat with your pets (sorry feline owners, but it will be geared towards dog owners).

There are a variety of topics that should be addressed before your pets inaugural ride out on the water. You will want to make sure your boat is capable of having your furry friend with you – some boats are better than others for this. It is also crucial to have the proper gear for your animal to keep them safe while aboard. It is important to know that not every dog is going to be able to handle being on a boat, so that will need to be taken into account too. Lastly, just like you would when you and or the family are going out, you will want to triple check the weather to make sure it is optimal for your pet. You want to make sure everything is just right.

The Right Boat for Your Pet

Much like choosing the right boat for your needs – if you are an angler, you will want a boat that is designed for optimal fishing. If you are into water sports, you will probably want a boat that has a tow bar of some sort so that you can easily tow for various water sports. If you are wanting a boat that is good for gathering your family – pets included – you may want sometimes that has a bit more space.

If your boat is mostly open and low in the water (much like an aluminum fishing boat) you may not want to take your dog out with you unless they are a seasoned boater. Open boats may lead to your dog falling (or jumping) overboard if they are not used to being on that type of boat. A boat that has some closed off space like a cabin, sits higher on the water, or has high side walls will help your dog feel more secure inside the vessel. Pontoons are great choices for your furry friends because they typically have higher sides.

The Right Boating Gear for Your Pet

It is the law to have proper safety gear aboard your boat for all riders. It is just as important to make sure you also have the right gear for your pet. Life vest manufacturers make dog vests that will securely fit your dog and keep them afloat in the water. Even if your dog can swim or is a strong swimmer, it is recommended to have them in a life vest while out on the open water to keep them safe. Dog life vests usually go around their midsection and have a part that will help keep their head above water.

If you are taking your dog on your vessel, make sure you have a way to supervise them at all times or have someone else there to help watch over them. You do not want your dog to get into anything nor do you want them to fall overboard/get hurt by not being watched closely enough.

While safety gear is important, you will also want to make sure you bring enough food and water for them for the day and incase of an emergency. Make sure to also have a canine first aid kid, just in case. They even make sunscreen for your dog (they can get burnt too).

Pet friendly ramps and dog ladders are also good investments if you plan on taking your dog out often. It will allow them easy access on and off of your boat. Many of these accessories will be slip resistant so that your four-legged friend can use them without worry.

Some other items that might make your boating more enjoyable are dog potty options – a puppy pad holder or even the fake turf holders. These allow for a designated potty space for your pup that is not your boat. If you can walk your dog while on your boat, that is the most preferred, but if not, there are other options.

Ensuring Your Dog is a Boat Dog

Not all dogs are water dogs. Similar to some people just not liking being on a boat or in the water, dogs are the same. If your dog has never been out on a boat or in the open water, it is recommended to start small. Take your pup to some smaller bodies of calmer water so that they can get used to the water itself. Slowly work your way up to taking them onto the boat and then onto the boat while out on the water. If your dog is not comfortable on the boat, they are more likely to get hurt or fall overboard. The less stressed the dog is, the better the boat ride will be. You and your dog deserve to be comfortable and safe on the water.

Weather Guidelines for Boating with Pets

Even though you probably do not want to be out on the boat in less than desirable weather, there are some other factors that play into being the right weather for your pet to join you. If it is too hot with direct sun and no shade available, it is probably not a great idea to bring your furry friend to tag along. The same can be said if it is too cold. You will also want to keep an eye on the wind – if it is too windy, it can be harder to control the boat and this could cause your dog's boating time to be stressful. Keep in mind that your dog cannot handle being out in extreme weather, so you will want to check the weather for optimal conditions.

All in all, taking your family – human or canine – out on the water should be enjoyable for all. If your dog is able to handle being on a boat and out on the open water, there is nothing to stop you from bringing them along. Afterall, you are your dog's whole world; so, why not let them be a part of yours as much as possible.

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