It’s very hard to leave a family member at home while you are out enjoying the outdoors. But the harsh reality is that it is not a good idea to bring your dog out boating if it is not safe.
Please take the time to do some research if you must bring out your dog on an outing. Generally, taking a dog out on the water isn’t such a big deal because larger dogs are often quite fond of the water and are very good swimmers. Even if your dog is not a very good swimmer chances are that they familiar with being on a leash. However, leashes are not practical for long excursions.
You may feel that you have all of the bases covered, with a leash, kennel, plenty of food and water but there are other considerations. You need to plan for bathroom breaks. That means getting your dog to solid ground to they can do their business. Try to keep them on the same schedule as you would at home, because being out on a moving boat can be a big enough variable for them to overcome.
The age of your dog is also a factor to consider. If you have an older dog that is not used to the water than plan for the unexpected as the motion of being on the boat can make them very sick. Regardless of age, if you are bringing your dog out on to the water for a first time, consider bring dietary medicines that may bring them stability and prevent sickness.
If you have a puppy that isn’t trained, than finding land so they can use the washroom may not be as big of an issue. If you are a boater and you expect your dog to be around boats their whole life this may be a good opportunity to train the dog to use the washroom on a part of the vessel that can be easily washed off. However, staying consistent with regular land breaks it far more ideal, but not always possible or practical.
Know, Know, Know the boat
There are a few questions you need to ask the boat owner. You may need to also evaluate your own boat.
- Does the boat have an underground compartment where it can stay without having to be in a cage?
- If the dog jumped in the water would you be able to jump in after it?
- Are there life jackets on board?
If there are life jackets on board seize the opportunity to snap a few pictures for public shaming of your dog. They will be sure to be a hit with your friends.
Know Your Pet
Does your dog respond well to commands? This is important if it goes to an unsafe area of the boat where it can potentially jump in.
Even if your dog is a very strong swimmer, the conditions of a jumping off a boat may be very different to what it may be used to from running out from a beach or jumping into a closed lake or pool. Big bodies of water can be very cold which may make your dogs muscles seize up and make the fatigue a lot faster. If the water you are out on is choppy this can also make your dog get tired quickly and much more difficult should you need to save them.
David Hammel is dog lover, freelance writer, professional blogger and an avid boater. He is from the Napanee area and enjoys blogging for Atkins & Hoyle about his boating knowledge and experiences.