Even though summer is over, in Texas we still have plenty of time to take our boats out on the water! If you’re like many boat owners, you also own a dog and take along with you on your boating excursions. To better prepare your dog and you for the trip, take a look at these safety tips from www.vetstreet.com to make sure you’re prepared for the waves:
Before You Get on the Boat
1. Develop a plan in case your dog goes overboard. Create a game plan before you even bring your dog on a boat. Discuss with everyone onboard what would happen if your dog goes overboard.
2. Invest in a life jacket. It’s important for your dog to have a life jacket before you take him out onto the water. You may think your dog is a strong swimmer, but depending on the conditions, including weather and currents, he could face problems.
Check the size on your dog’s life jacket before purchasing it and check to see where straps and buckles fall to make sure it is comfortable.
Give your dog a chance to practice swimming in the life jacket before taking him out on the water.
3. Bring a first-aid kit. Make sure you have a stocked first aid kit on your boat. The Humane Society of The United States recommends a number of pet-specific supplies and useful items to include.
4. Visit the boat with your pet prior to your trip. Let your dog get acquainted with your boat before taking him out on the water. If this is his first time on the vessel, bring him to visit it while it’s on a trailer or at the dock so he can get used to his surroundings in a safe, secure environment.
5. Check local laws about dogs and boats. While there are no national legal restrictions or requirements pertaining to having animals on your boat, double-check local laws, since regulations can vary by state. Also, if you plan to enter international waters, look for foreign laws regarding dogs on boats.
When You’re on the Boat
6. Keep your dog’s first outing short. It’s best to make your dog’s first boat outing brief so he can adjust to the ship’s movement. They might get a little seasick the first time out so keep any eye on them. If seasickness becomes severe, ask your veterinarian about possible medication for future outings.
7. Keep your dog hydrated. If you’re going to be out boating in the sun all day, be aware that your dog may be in danger of overheating. Keep plenty of water to drink onboard as well as providing a shady area.
8. Don’t skip sun protection. It’s also important to remember that if your dog is spending time in the sun, he may need sunscreen protection. You can use a light, unscented SPF 15 spray. Be aware that boat surfaces tend to become very hot in the sun. Know which areas will heat up, and protect your dog’s feet.
9. Use common sense. The best thing you can do when you have an animal on your boat is use common sense. If there are areas that may become slippery and cause your dog to fall, block them off. In addition, always knowing your dog’s location will help you be aware if he is in any danger.