Tips When Taking Your Dog On A Boat
If you have a furry friend, then you want them to experience everything with you.
In fact, nothing beats a warm summer day out on a boat with the companionship of those you love and your pet.
When you are taking your dog on a boat, or your cat, it's important to remember just like humans, not all animals have sea legs.
Pets are an important part of most families and there is no doubt you won’t want to leave your first mate at home if possible.
But what do you need to think about when you're thinking of hitting the ocean wave with them?
Here are nine tips you can use to make sure you and your pet get the most out of a day out on open water.
Taking your dog on a boat: what you need to know
Believe it or not, dogs (and cats) get seasick, just like humans. To start, you should get your furry friend used to being on what to them seems like a very unstable surface.
Introduce them to it slowly before you pull out of the dock. That way, they can get used to the new smells and sounds of the vessel.
A good idea is to have some seasickness remedies to hand. Consult your vet, but many of the medications we use as humans work perfectly well for animals.
Another thing to remember is tides reverse about every six hours. So the conditions you saw arriving for your boat trip may not be the conditions you had when you leave it.
This can have an impact on the docking, which is when your pet could get agitated and feel nauseous. And if your pet is refusing to budge off the dock? Don't force them onto the boat.
*Practice swim first
Most dogs are natural swimmers, but it's a great idea to get them to practice swim before your trip or while your boat is docked.
Then you know if it's puppy overboard, they know what to do!
Your pet’s wellbeing on board
*Fresh drinking water
Always make sure you have plenty of fresh drinking water available for your animals. Dogs can lose body fluid when they pant; this is how they stay cool. So make sure you keep them hydrated as much as possible.
Boats also move and bounce around a lot, so it's a good idea to bring a bowl that isn't going to tip over with their fresh water in.
Seawater can also be contaminated by other boats and contain harmful organisms, so never allow your dog or cat to drink from the ocean.
*Check for sunstroke and heat exhaustion
A sign of heat exhaustion is heavy panting or little movement and fatigue. If your pet appears to be suffering give them fresh water immediately.
Check they have a cool place to sit as well – at Captain America Boat Rentals, we are happy to talk to you about the logistics of our boats and whether your dog, whatever size, will have a shady spot during your trip. You can check for more information on our vessels here.
Safety When Taking Your Dog On A Boat
*Consider your pets sea legs
If you are getting a boat rental from Newport Beach, any vessel you hire can be a slippery place for pets. Always check the vessel has somewhere for your pet to sit where they won't be sliding around.
Consider your boat's traction on deck. Is there any place your dog is slipping and sliding? Bath mats or outdoor carpet with rubber non-slip backings can help with your dog's footing.
*Commands are essential
Does your pet know basic commands? This is very important if your furry friend wants to go for a swim at the same time you have opened up the throttle and are speeding across the ocean.
Your dog should know the basics of 'sit,' 'stay' and 'lay down' for your comfort and theirs.
Is your pet microchipped? This will be very handy should they accidentally jump ship or get lost on the dock somewhere.
If you don't want to have them chipped, make sure they get an ID tag on them with your number and name.
*Lifejackets and Pets
If you are really concerned about your dog or cat going overboard, you can get them a personal flotation device (PDF). Yes, this is more tricky for a cat than a dog!
While dogs are good swimmers, cats struggle in the water. It can also be a shock to the system if they have a sudden dunk in the drink.
Choose a bright orange PFD that will be easy to see that it is also easy to grab if your pet is in the ocean.
If you plan to go on a much smaller craft, for example, a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard (SUPs). Your pet should ALWAYS wear a life jacket.
You can even take your dog on jet skis with you if they are so inclined and enjoy it!
What To Do When Natures Calling
Of course, when you have your pet on board and natures calling, you are limited to where they can go.
If your dog is scared by the movement of the boat, this can lead to them pooping and peeing everywhere. That's not great for you or for them.
Make sure your pet has done their business before you start your journey, and bring plenty of bags so you can dispose of their mess when you leave.
*Don't dump the doo-doo
It goes without saying you shouldn't throw your pet’s poop in the water, even if it's in a bio-degradable bag.
Taking these simple tips into consideration can help you make the most of your boating trip. Your pooch and cat will enjoy the fresh air and time they spend with you, and you can have a fun day out together, providing you take care of their needs.
If you liked this blog post, then check out our post on the best food to take on your boat trip.