Boating is a well-loved activity during summer as it gives us a reason to spend the whole day amidst the sparkling water under the warm glow of the sun. If you enjoy boating, then you probably will want to share that exhilarating experience with your four-legged best friend. But before you take him out to the water, take note of some essential items that you should prepare for your dog.
Canine life jacket
You can find canine or doggie life jackets at most boating stores and pet shops. Bring your dog along with you to the store, if possible, so you can check the right size and fit for your pet. Most dogs can swim by instinct, but don’t get too confident with that idea. Dogs get tired too just like any ordinary swimmer, so get him a life jacket to avoid drowning in case he falls into the water. Have him practice swimming while wearing it and get him acquainted with it before getting on the boat.
Fresh drinking water
Dogs are fond of drinking anything and everything but discourage them from drinking the water from the lake or sea, which may be contaminated or contain harmful organisms. Bring fresh drinking water with you and use a sports bottle instead of his ordinary dog bowl to keep it from splashing all over the moving boat. Remember that dogs can get dehydrated too so feed him some water from time to time while onboard.
Dogs, especially short-haired dogs, also need protection from harmful UV rays. Keep them from getting sunburned and use a light SPF sunscreen like an SPF-15 or a higher SPF factor if it is an unusually hot and sunny day. Choose an unscented sunscreen to avoid irritation on his skin.
Waste bags and paper towels
If the shore is too far away and your dog has to relieve himself then and there, make sure you’re ready for the clean-up. You can also train your dog to use puppy pads to make it easier to clean. Avoid the risk of feces-borne diseases and odor so pick up after him right away and dispose of the waste products properly.
Bring a first-aid kit for your pet such as antibiotic ointment, absorbent gauze pads, adhesive tape, blanket, and scissors. If your dog needs medication, bring a sufficient supply of it to the boat as well. It would also be helpful to bring his paperwork in a waterproof bag on board, just in case you need to see a veterinarian after the trip.
Don’t assume that your dog will like boating right away. If you can, take your dog out on a boat that has a large deck, such as a pontoon boat, to give them more area to move around – like these pontoons. Take a short trip on your first outing to let your dog get used to being on the water. Check on his reaction when your dog hears the unfamiliar sound of the boat engine. The more he gets used to being on board, the more your dog will get comfortable moving around on it—and less chances of seasickness! And remember to be safe at all times so both of you will have a great time and enjoy more boating trips together to last the summer!