7 STEPS FOR PET SAFETY ONBOARD YOUR VESSEL
Doesn’t your pet deserve a day out on the boat too? Of course, you want to take your best friend out on the water. But there are some important steps you should take to make sure that they stay safe and have just as much fun as you do out on the water. To help make life easier we have put together a list of the top seven ways to take care of your pet while out on the water. Most of these tips are for dog owners, but the same principles apply for any type of animal.
1. PREPARE FOR YOUR OUTING AHEAD OF TIME.
Before stepping onto the boat there are a few things you should do to help ensure the safety of your dog. Most dogs love the water, but not all. Practice swimming with your dog. Understand what he feels comfortable doing in the water and what causes anxiety. For example, some dogs avoid waves or open water. Practice getting your dog safely from the pier onto the boat. It’s best to use a walkway so that he can walk onboard himself. Never let your dog jump onto the boat as it’s easy to slip and injure himself. Make sure to have a plan for how to rescue the dog in case he goes overboard. Share this plan with everyone on the boat before leaving the dock.
2. LET YOUR DOG GET COMFORTABLE & SETTLE IN ONBOARD.
Let your dog get familiar with the boat before turning it on or leaving the dock. He should be comfortable spending time there while the boat is docked and in stable conditions. Take a few short, slow speed trips with your dog onboard in preparation for longer trips. Look for signs that your dog is feeling seasick.
3. MAKE SURE YOUR DOG WEARS A LIFE JACKET.
Ensure your dog’s safety in case he goes for a swim or accidentally goes overboard by buckling him up in a life jacket. Even dogs like Labrador Retrievers are great swimmers, they should have a specially designed floatation device that fits well and supports their weight in the water. This will keep your pet afloat even if the weather conditions rapidly change or there are strong currents. Make sure you try out the life jacket in a safe environment before heading out to ensure it functions and floats properly.
4. COME ONBOARD PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING.
Here’s what you should always have on hand when there are pets onboard: A first-aid kit with any medications that your dog might need if he gets hurt. It should also include veterinary medicine for motion sickness and eye drops in case something in the water irritates his eyes. Sunblock is recommended for light or thin-haired breeds as dogs can get sunburn as well. There are special sunscreens made for dogs, which are made without zinc, a toxic substance for animals. Apply this to your pet’s ears, snout and other place where skin is visible. Don’t forget to bring waste bags and puppy pads to clean up messes while out on the water.
5. KEEP FRESH DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE FOR THEM.
Hydration is always important when out on the water. Ensure that before you leave you have enough clean water onboard for you and your furry friend. As a rule of thumb consider them another person on board when preparing your cooler. Between the heat, salty water, wind and panting can quickly dry a dog’s tongue out and lead to severe dehydration. Make sure to have a clean water bowl always available and that your dog knows where he can go to get a drink.
6. SIT. STAY. GOOD BOY!
Dogs shouldn’t wander around the boat or go near the bow while you are moving. Waves, wet spots on the deck and movement from navigating can easily cause them to lose their balance and potentially injure themselves. Create an area on the boat where your dog can safely stay while the boat is running or at speed. It should be on the floor of the boat and have plenty of shade. Possibly put down a mat which will make him feel at home and secure. Make sure that the deck in this area provides enough traction for your dog to sit and stand without slipping and falling.
7. SAFETY FIRST ON THE WATER.
It’s possible for dogs to drown even if they are a great swimmer. So, keep your dog in sight at all times and especially when he swims. Never throw him. It’s better to let him jump in for a swim or choose to stay onboard as you don’t like getting thrown in either.With all these pet safety tips, you should be set up for an amazing day and experience for not only you, but your furry companion out on the water. Safe travels.