Hey boaters, it’s summertime! Can you feel the waves hitting the boat and the wakeboard beneath your feet? If you’re a dog owner, chances are Fido is itching to get out on the water, too! They are as much a part of our family as our kiddos, so make sure that you practice safety precautions with your dog.
Follow our tips to ensure a smooth and safe outing.
1. Develop a plan in case your dog goes overboard. Knowing what to do in case of an accident or emergency will make problem-solving much easier and smoother. Talk about what your friends or family will do if your dog happens to go overboard and practice if you get the opportunity.
2. Check local laws regarding dogs on boats. Regulations vary by state, so check before taking your pup out on the boat!
3. A proper fitting life jacket. Even if your dog is a great swimmer, invest in a proper life jacket! Depending on weather and currents, your dog may need help staying afloat if he will be in and out of the water throughout the day. Dogs get tired just like we do! Also, make sure the life jacket fits the dog well and is bright to maximize visibility!
4. A first-aid kit. Make sure a stocked first-aid kit is on the boat at all times. Consider adding dog-specific items like a pet first-aid book, nylon leash, self-clinging bandages, and a muzzle to prevent biting.
5. Do a test run with your dog. Before you go out on the water, simply take your dog to the boat. Let him explore the boat and get used to being on it with you.
6. Keep the first outing short. If you have a boating newbie, keep the first outing short! Get her used to the movement of the boat and the spaces on your boat.
7. Your dog needs to stay hydrated. Make sure you have enough water for your dog while on the boat. All that fur and the hot sun is a recipe for overheating!
8. Protection from the heat. Protect your dog from heat by providing a shady spot on the boat. He may also need sunscreen on his nose and other parts of his body that are not covered with hair.
9. Common sense! The boat is a hot place! If your boat floor is too hot to walk on, it’s too hot for their paws as well. Know where your dog is at all times and block off any unsafe areas.
Have fun out there, and do your best to make sure everyone’s safety, especially your dog, is top priority!