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Bringing Your Dog Out On The Boat

With spring finally breaking through and Memorial Day only weeks away, everyone in the boating world will be getting themselves and all their gear ready to get out on the water.  What about your best-four-legged-friend? After all, dogs love going places with their owners.  Just some on-board doggy tips to keep the fun going for everyone:

  1. A LOT of fresh water. Not only is it super important for yourself to stay hydrated while out in the blazing sun but of course your furry friend.  Dogs do not perspire like we do meaning they need plenty of water to stay cool.
  2. Carry your dog onto the boat or use a ramp of some sort. Without doing so, there is a fair chance your dog will try to jump onboard and possibly injure themselves.  Boarding and disembarking should ALWAYS be controlled and planned motions.
  3. Make sure you give your dog a good amount of time to relieve himself before leaving the dock.  Nothing ruins a boat trip more than needing to go and not being able to.  Going out on a longer trip than usual? Portable dog potties or wee wee pads work as well but most likely will only work if your dog is already used to using these options. Have a plan in place (doggy waste bags, paper towels, odor neutralizer etc.)
  4. No matter how good a swimmer you have, consider purchasing a doggy life vest.  These provide flotation, and neoprene models provide some warmth if you’re boating in cold water and/or chilly air.
  5. Let them off the leash. Yes, you heard that right, OFF the leash-if you trust them not to take a flying leap that is.  Majority of dogs will not jump overboard when the boat is moving (unless you are working with an inexperienced puppy or a poorly trained hunting dog). However, when the boat is no longer moving, keep an eye out because plenty of dogs will take that unexpected dive. If keeping your dog leashed, another good option would be to use a dog tie out or tether to give them extra space on the boat while still having peace of mind.
  6. Bring a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet for your dog to have a spot to have solid footing.  Fiberglass nonskid decks work well for you and I but can be very slippery for a dog.
  7. When cutting bait, do not leave it sitting out!  Do so and there’s a good chance it’ll get eaten and you’ll be working with stinkier breath than usual.
  8. Make sure not to leave lures swinging from any fishing rods. A dangling temptation involving a hook is definitely not something you want your dog chasing after.
  9. Last, but certainly not least, dogs are most certainly susceptible to sunburns and bug bites just as we are.  Light colored dogs are at greater risk for sunburn but still important across the board.  Use a sunscreen and bug repellant that is specifically made for dogs.