Boating with Dogs


Warm weather, glassy waters, and clear skies all make for the perfect boat day. But for those of us who have a four-legged companion, leaving the house for the day while your pup gives you that oh-so-sad look might make you think twice about leaving. We’ll we’ve got the answer for you – bring he/she along!

When bringing your dog, there are a few extra details to think through before hopping in your boat. The packing list and extra precautions to follow may get a little complicated. We’re here to help with that. Whether you’re headed on an overnight boating adventure or simply setting out for the day, following these tips will see you and your pup have a stress-free escape.

Here’s how to take your dog on a boating trip.

Bring Extra Food and Water

This one might seem like a given, but it’s essential to not only bring enough food and water for your human passengers, but also your furry ones. A good rule-of-thumb is to pack twice as much as you think you’ll need. If you’re worried about wasting food that way, bring some items that are nonperishable or have an extended expiration date.

Your dog will most definitely eat the same amount as at home, but will probably consume more water than usual. Spending the day in the sun and swimming in the water is a recipe for dehydration. Make sure your pup is drinking a ton of water throughout the day.

Check Local Restrictions

This one only applies if you plan to leave your boat and head out to a restaurant, local park, dock, etc. Typically, I’m sure you don’t have to think twice about tying up your boat and exploring the area. When you have a dog on board, however, you may have to plan ahead. Some places may have restrictions when it comes to pets, so it’s best to call ahead or check online before venturing off the boat.

Know Your Dog’s Limits

Dogs are always down for a fun adventure. But sometimes they will go, go, go and be completely wiped out the following day. Think about how much exercise your dog generally gets on a daily basis. Then, apply a similar amount of energy output for a boat trip. Unless they’ve had months of exercise buildup and training, they probably can’t handle swimming for hours on end. Overall, know your dog’s limits and allow quality rest time in between activities.

Have a Plan in Case of an Emergency

Just as you have a hurricane plan for your boat and an accident plan, make one for your dog as well. If you’re traveling far, be sure to research vets in the area that can help in case of an emergency. Additionally, your previous boating plans should now include your dog. If there is an accident, how do you plan to evacuate your dog as well?

Always be on the lookout for signs of overheating, panting, hypersalivation, and a rapid heart rate. Familiarize yourself on the best techniques to help your dog in a situation like that. Do some research online ahead of time and bring any medicine or equipment needed to keep your pup healthy and safe. 

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