Many people love taking their dog everywhere, including on boat trips. While you might think you don’t need to take any special precautions to take your dog along on your fishing trip, there are certain safety issues you need to address. So, before you fill a snack bag full of the best dog food for Yorkies, and pack up your pint-sized pooch for a day on the water, here are some safety tips to help make sure everyone makes it home safe and sound.
Get a Life Vest
Yes, most dogs can swim based on pure instinct. However, that doesn’t mean your dog is designed to swim under all conditions. Wind, inclement weather, and a strong current can all pose a risk to your dog should they fall (or jump) overboard. A life vest helps provide them with extra buoyancy and can help them keep their head above water in an emergency.
Additionally, most life vests that are designed for dogs have handles integrated into the design. This means that, if your dog does end up in the water, you have an easy point to grip to pull them out. Otherwise, you may have trouble getting a secure enough hold to lift them back into the boat.
Plan for Water
If you are going to be on the water for most of the day, then you need to make sure your dog stays hydrated. This is just as relevant during hot weather as on cooler days, especially if your dog tends to be on the excitable side when they get to accompany you on a trip.
Make sure you have a water dish available at all times and check it often to ensure that there is always some fresh water available. Ideally, you want to keep the water in the shade, as this will help keep it from heating up, so your dog will always have a cool, refreshing water source when they need it.
Most people don’t think of their dog when it comes to sunscreen, but they can get sunburns just like a person can. Find a suitable light and unscented product with an SPF of at least 15. Often, sunscreens designed for young children will be safe for your dog as well. Just make sure to shield their eyes if you use a spray version.
Watch Their Feet
The deck on a boat can get incredibly warm, especially after it has spent the afternoon baking in the sun. And while most of the people on a boat might not be fully aware of exactly how hot it can get, your canine companion is acutely aware of the problem. In fact, if the surface is hot enough, it can actually cause burns on the pads of your dog’s feet.
To help prevent injuries, make sure there are shady areas available to your dog at all times. Additionally, bringing along a small rug can provide a cooler spot to stand when the surface of the floor becomes too hot on its own.
You can also purchase shoes for dogs. These provide a barrier between their pads and the hot surface and can prevent burns. Additionally, they may increase traction on slippery surfaces, such as wet decks or other boat surfaces.
As you can see, there are numerous precautions that should be taken to ensure your dog’s safety. Consider your pet’s needs before bringing them out on the water, and you will both be more likely to have a fun day out on the water.