Boating With Your Dog

Boating With Your Dog

It feels like summer is never going to end, and I’m completely content with that. Late nights, long walks with lots of smells, playing fetch with my family at the bark park, going on outings… yes, summer is a royally good time to be a royal dog.

One of the newest activities I’ve partaken in is boating. There’s nothing like gliding along on a little skiff or chugging on a majestic yacht. After all, I deserve to travel in style!

Labor Day will soon be fast upon us, and even more dogs will be able to enjoy this superior hobby. I highly encourage you to take your dear canine companion onto the water—but only if you follow these important pieces of advice!

Avoid heat stroke at all costs!

Heat stroke is a type of non-fever hyperthermia that happens when the body overheats. It’s usually associated with temperatures of 106° F and can lead to organ dysfunction if untreated. Symptoms in dogs include excessive drooling, reddened gums, vomiting blood, and black, tarry stool. The very old, very young, obese, long-haired and flat-faced are at heightened risk.

Provide your dog with a cool area to get out of the sun, like under an umbrella or in front of a fan. We don’t sweat like you unsightly humans, so we need plenty of shade and water to keep healthy body temperatures.

Cater to your canine by providing unlimited amounts of fresh drinking water. Never encourage your dog to drink from the lake or seawater, as they can contain dangerous organisms.

Practice good water safety.

Even if he’s a strong swimmer, your dog needs to wear a life jacket and be supervised while swimming. Falling overboard, getting tired, or rough waters can all cause even a natural born water dog to flounder.

A good jacket will fit properly, be a bright color (or even reflective!), and include a handle on the back to lift him from the water. In case of rescue, you never want to pull from the collar, which can be dangerous. You can purchase a good flotation device or safety jacket from a boating store or from our friends at PetSmart.

Engines should be off when anyone (pooch or person) is in the water.

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Protect his skin.

Even though we have fur, harmful UV rays can burn our skin, too. Apply unscented sunscreen to your dog every hour and make sure it dries before letting Rover back into the water. Short haired breeds are especially susceptible to sunburn.

Give your dog a break by pulling him onto your lap now and then.

The constant movement of a boat means a constant balancing act for your four-legged friend. It can be ruff on the joints, particularly if your dog is older or has arthritis.

If it’s his first time on the boat, keep the visit short—some dogs get seasickness and nothing ruins a party like cleaning up a big pile of sick.

Take care of business.

Although this isn’t a classy thing for a pedigreed pooch to discuss, remember that your dog will need to “do his business” somewhere. Make sure he goes before you board, and take plenty of doggie bags and paper towels to clean up the poop deck after he’s relieved himself.

If you follow these tips, your dog is sure to enjoy boating just as much as you do. But I would advise you to leave your cat behind… she won’t enjoy it.

Cowabunga, my royal subjects!

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