Co-Authored: Aaron Fong

Are you looking to cool off during these hot summer days? Boating is a popular activity whether that’s in a lake, ocean, or river! Now, don’t forget about that friend at home, YOUR DOG! Some people might think boating is not a safe activity to do with your pets, but there are lots of safety tips and precautionary measures that will help both you and your pet have a splendid time on the water! For both yours and your dog’s safety, follow these safety tips:

The Need for the Right Type of Life Jacket 


We all know our furry friends can be high maintenance when they’re at home, and sometimes we can get by without everything they “need.” This is not the case when boating with your dog. No matter how strong a swimmer your dog is, it is important to have the right type of life jacket. If your dog does fall off the boat, it is too risky for them to not have a life jacket because of rough water, being knocked unconscious, or even swallowing too much water. 


Similar to human life jackets, they all come in different sizes. No matter what type of life jacket you end up purchasing for your dog, it should ALWAYS be tested in calm and shallow water to properly prepare for a real emergency. 


When it comes to safety, fashion does not matter. However, make sure to get one that is bright and reflective that will catch your eye in case your four-legged friend falls into the water.


TIP: Make sure the life jacket has handles on the top, that way you’re able to easily lift your dog up out of the water!


Shading and Fresh Water 


We know that summer gets unbearably hot sometimes in the warm sun, but imagine how hot your dog can get with all their fur! Your dog should have a big enough spot on the boat where they can seek shade if needed. There are many options for this on all different sized boats whether that be under a seat, below the deck, inside some part of the boat, or even under an awning. 


Along with needing that shady spot to rest, there should be enough supply of fresh water for your pup to drink. Making sure your dog has access to water will help avoid dehydration and heatstroke and will help both you and your dog have a better time boating together. 


Some owners believe that pouring cool water on their dog will help them remain cool, however, this is false! We are here to tell you that this could potentially even make them hotter, so if they are looking too warm, it’s better to just take them to that designated shady spot!


Dogs Need Sunscreen Too!


Just like humans, some specific dog breeds need sunscreen to protect them from the UV rays. In particular, short-haired breeds of dogs are at a higher risk of getting burnt compared to a dog with long hair. It is recommended to use an SPF-15 on your four-legged friend and one that does not have a strong scent as it could cause some irritation! For more information on how to keep your dogs safe from sunburns, check the link out here: https://bit.ly/2ONwAEY 


Prepare for the Bathroom Break


We have all taken our dogs on walks before and have noticed how much they use the bathroom within 20-minutes. Upon boarding the boat, make sure you have more than enough doggie bags and paper towels with you to clean up any accidents that may occur! (It might be smart to pack an odor neutralizer to cover up any smells that may be left behind)


If your dog however is trained to use puppy pads, this might be the smartest way to go about this situation! Puppy pads will reduce the mess and the smell that will be left behind without one. 


TIP: Make sure to clean up after your dog right after they take care of business to reduce the risk of diseases and odors to stain the boat!

Planning Ahead


The worst thing that can happen while boating with your dog is if they go overboard. Nobody wants to think about seeing their loved one falling in and being stressed, but it is a possible reality that all owners need to have in mind! Having a squared away plan can be the difference between life and death, we recommend following these steps:


  1. Immediately turn the engine off
  2. Call your dog to come to you (this will be manageable because the engine will be turned off)
  3. Help them back onto the boat (the handles on the life jacket mentioned earlier will be a big help for this)

These steps can be all accommodated and personalized depending on the type of boat and dog that you have. Having some type of outlined plan can go a long way when worst comes to worst. 


Taking your dog on a boat with you is not only fun for yourself or your family, but your four-legged friend could also be having the time of their life! These boating and safety tips should help you feel confident for a fun adventure out on the water with your dog right by your side!