First, get he/she a doggy life jacket. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer or doesn’t swim at all, this is a must. All your human passengers are required to wear life-jackets under safety requirements; your dog should be no different. Plain and simple – a lifejacket can save a life. You can find doggy lifejackets on Amazon for a reasonable price. Look for guidelines on weight ranges, etc. to see which is right for you.
Second, watch your dog. Just like any other family member, your dog should be monitored both in and out of the water. When in the water, check for signs of exhaustion and know your dog’s limits! If she is starting to look tired, call her to the boat for a quick break from swimming. While aboard, your dog can get very excited. We don’t blame them; marine life is awesome. You can try keeping her on a leash or in the cabin for extra security.
Third, keep the tags on your dog. Make sure your dog can be identified if lost. This should be the case with any other day, but especially on boating days.
- Bring a first-aid kit, including bandages, antibiotic ointment, essential oil bug spray, and any other prescribed medications.
- Don’t let them overheat. You can have them swim to cool down, or put them in a shaded area if your dog isn’t too fond of the water.
- Use doggy-sunscreen. That’s right, dogs can sunburn too. Lather their noses and any thin-haired areas with either baby or dog sunscreen.
- Give them water. Bring along your dog’s water bowl for the day. Your dog should be drinking fresh water constantly throughout the day. Hydration is key when in the sun for extended periods of time.
- Bring along in-case-of-emergency motion sickness remedies. This can include veterinarian-prescribed meds or any natural treatments (ginger or flower essences).
- Check that their paws do not get overheated on the boat. When the deck is covered in sun, their paws may not be able to handle it. It’s easy to forget if you have shoes on, so just keep this in the back of your mind. You can bring some form of paw protection or splash water on the deck.