From Millers Boating Center:
Tips for Safe Boating with Your Dog
Want to take your furry friend boating? I mean why not. You love to boat so of course you want to bring your dog along. Before bringing them along, make sure to follow our safety tips to ensure your pet’s adventure is a safe and happy one.
Doggy Life Jackets
Life jackets can be a lifesaver in the event of an accident. You may think your dog is an excellent swimmer but remember that dog’s simply doggy paddle. If their body is made up of mostly muscle, they will become extremely tired. They won’t be able to float easily and keep their head above water. If you do take your dog out on the boat, make sure to have a life jacket for them that fits properly. Remember to introduce the life jacket to your pup before you take them out so they can become familiar with wearing it.
Make sure to take plenty of fresh drinking water for your dog. (Tip: Take water in a sports bottle which makes it easier for you to give to them.) Your pup can become dehydrated when being outside in the sun for too long because they tend to lose dehydration quicker due to panting. Don’t allow your dog to drink directly from the lake or river since there could be potentially dangerous algae, pollutants, and parasites.
Protect your dog’s skin with sunscreen (especially if they have short or light colored hair). Keep an eye out for sunstroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. Have your dog take an occasional swim in the water to cool off. If your dog happens to become extremely lethargic, starts to gag or vomit, get them out of the sun right away and call your vet.
Remember to give your pup plenty of opportunities to take bathroom breaks. Also, pack baggies to dispose of waste properly.
Make sure your dog is respectful to others on the boat, water, and on the docks. Reward them for good behavior.
If your dog has never been on a boat ride, it’s best to take them out on a few short trips to see how they do. If you notice that your dog doesn’t enjoy the water, it’s best to leave them at home.