How to keep your dog safe while boating

Adventure 3 min read

Dogs are our very best friends. So, naturally, we want to take them everywhere—including out on the high seas (or lakes or rivers). It’s just more fun when our four-legged pals get to tag along.

Boating with your dog can be an exciting adventure for both of you, but before you leave the dock, you’ll want to make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions. Here’s a quick overview of everything you need to keep your dog safe, happy, and comfortable out on the water.

Life jacket

Dogs look so cute in life jackets. Making your dog wear one is also a great way to keep her safe—which is equally important. A quick internet search pulls up tons of doggy life jacket options. You can choose a size depending on your dog’s weight and measurements—just make sure the one you select fits your pup comfortably and securely.

Treats, water and a bowl

All that sun and salty air can dehydrate your pup quickly. So, make sure you have plenty of water onboard. It never hurts to pack some extra food or your dog’s favorite treats, too. That’ll surely score you some serious tail wags.

Leash and collar or harness

Chances are, you bring these along whenever you take your dog with you. Having them handy will make navigating the dock a breeze!

Potty bags

Your dog might decide that she needs to use the potty while you’re out on the water. And you don’t want to get caught empty-handed! Pack a few extra waste bags just in case.

Doggy first aid kit

Keeping a pet-specific first aid kit handy is always a good idea. A quality kit will include things like tweezers, gauze, tape, antiseptic towelettes, sting relief pads, rubber gloves, cold packs, and a “how-to” guide. Chances are, you’ll never need to use any of that stuff (I hope you never do), but it’s good to have around just in case.

Towel or blanket

Even if your pup isn’t much of a swimmer, it’s a good idea to have a towel or a warm blanket handy. You’ll want to keep him cozy if he gets wet or the wind kicks up.

Ball or favorite toy

It never hurts to have your dog’s favorite toy or tennis ball handy—even if you’re not playing on land. Your pup will appreciate having her go-to toy around if she gets the urge to play a little tug-of-war or a water-bound game of fetch!

And a few nice to haves …

If you want to be extra prepared, plan on bringing these “nice to have” skills and supplies along, too!

Doggy sunscreen

Yes, it’s a real thing! Dogs can get sunburned on their noses, lips, ears, and bellies—just like us humans. So, if you’re going to be out in the sun all day long, you might want to pack some doggy sunscreen for your pup, too.

Canine CPR training

This is a great skill to have in general, but it’ll give you extra peace of mind while you’re out for a sail with your favorite sea dog. Ask your vet if she can recommend classes in your area.

Portable potty set-up

If you’re planning to take your dog out for a longer cruise, you might want to pack a portable potty arrangement. Puppy pads, doggy litter (yes, they make it for dogs, too!), or a faux grass potty pad can all serve as a makeshift restroom for your pup.

Doggy bed or crate

Most dogs are perfectly happy laying out on the deck or snagging a spot on the flybridge, but if you’re going to be out on the water during naptime (or overnight), don’t forget to pack your dog’s bed.

Happy tails—and sails—to you and your sea dog!

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