Pets on the Water: 11 Tips for Taking Your Pets Boating

Pets on board

If you love your pet, and your pet loves the water, you may be tempted to take your pet (usually a dog) boating. But what steps can you take to maximise enjoyment for both of you while keeping your pet safe in the process?

Tips for Taking Your Pets Boating

These are some of the most important tips to follow if you want to take your pets boating with you:

  1. Know your pet. Before you commit to the idea, make sure you know your pet. Does your dog usually like going new places with you and seeing new things, or do they have a tendency to get anxious when going to places? Does your dog love to jump in the water and swim or do they act terrified of being wet? If you have a cat, it probably hates being wet and going on adventures – but if you have a particularly friendly, outgoing, and outdoorsy cat, they might be the perfect companion for your boating excursions. Much depends on your pet’s personality and disposition.
  2. Practice obedience training. No matter what, you should practice some obedience training before you attempt to take your pet on the boat. If you're considering taking your pet onboard with you, you probably have at least some rapport with them, but it may be worth investing in some additional training and practice. Ideally, your pet will know a wide range of different commands and will stick by your side even if they're tempted to go exploring; this way, they'll be less likely to jump overboard and more likely to respond to you and work with you in the event of an emergency.
  3. Get a specific lifejacket. Did you know there are canine lifejackets designed specifically to keep dogs safe on the water? Hopefully, you already know how important lifejackets are for human beings. Wearing a lifejacket at all times while on a boat has the potential to save your life; even good swimmers can succumb to the water in challenging conditions, but a flotation device like a lifejacket can keep you alive and breathing for long enough to be rescued. For pets, this is even more important, since they may not understand the danger of going overboard. Shop for a life jacket that fits your pet as perfectly as possible; it should already be designed to keep your pet floating horizontally, in a swimming position, but make sure it has some handles at the top so you can assist your pet in getting back into the boat. Additionally, choose a lifejacket with bright, vibrant colours so you can spot your pet in the water if necessary.
  4. Prevent water drinking. To a dog, water is water. But ocean water, lake water, and river water aren't the best options for them. Drinking salty ocean water could leave them dehydrated, and other waters could be full of parasites, fungi, bacteria, and other harmful pathogens. Instead, bring some water with you for them to drink.
  5. Bring plenty of food and water. On that point, bring plenty of food and water for your animal. Even if you're only going out for a few hours, it pays to have some extra supplies on hand. This way, if you intentionally or accidentally stay out longer than you originally intended, you can keep your pet fed and happy.
  6. Consider using sunscreen. Dog sunscreen may seem strange at first glance, but if you think about it, most dogs are just as vulnerable to sunburns and solar radiation exposure as humans. Dog breeds with short hair are especially vulnerable, since they don't have much additional protection. On days with excessive sunlight, consider applying a high SPF sunscreen directly to your dog. Just make sure you purchase a product that is unscented, so it doesn't make your dog uncomfortable.
  7. Pack waste bags, paper towels, and pads. Sooner or later, your pet will also need to relieve themselves. Make sure you pack plenty of waste bags, paper towels, puppy pads, or litter, as required. There are many potential options for how to manage this; you'll need some kind of plan in place.
  8. Practice swimming. No matter how careful you are, there's always a chance that your pet could end up in the water. Accordingly, you can maximise your pet’s chances of survival by giving them an opportunity to practice swimming before you take them on the boat. Consider bringing them to a pet friendly swimming pool, a local lake, or somewhere else where you can practice the doggy paddle – and build their confidence in the water.
  9. Spend time on the boat without being in the water. Similarly, your pet will probably behave better and be safer if they're already familiar with what it's like to be on the boat. Consider bringing them on your boat and introducing them to this environment before you take the boat on the water. Pay attention to how your pet acts and reward them so they get even more comfortable here.
  10. Never leave your pet unsupervised. Just as it can be dangerous to boat alone, it's dangerous to leave your pet unsupervised, even if it's only for a few minutes. Make sure someone else is looking out for your pet at all times, even if that means bringing someone else along to help.
  11. Reward your pet! Your pet will be much more engaged and motivated to behave well if you reward them throughout their boating adventures. Give lots of treats and love!

Finding the Perfect Boat

You and your faithful, furry companion can have a lot more fun together when you have the right vessel for your adventures. Are you in the market for something newer and more exciting? Or something bigger and more spacious? Whatever you're looking for, we've probably got it – so take a look at what we have to offer!

Change units of measure

This feature requires cookies to be enabled on your browser.

Show price in:

Show lengths, beam and draft in:

Show displacement or weight in:

Show capacity or volume in:

Show speed in:

Show distance in: