10 Tips for Taking Your Dog Boating

Dogs want to go everywhere with their human companions, so why not bring your dog out on your next boating trip? They'll love the wind in their fur and the excuse to go swimming, but there are a few things every dog owner should know before cranking the engine.

Check out these ten tips for taking your dog boating so you can have fun on the waves.

1. Practice Entering and Exiting

Your dog should feel comfortable getting in and out of the boat before it leaves the dock. It's smart to practice with a boat ramp since they'll likely need one to get out of the water.

2. Bring a Leash

Once your boat starts moving, your dog may run excitedly around to explore. They could accidentally fall over the side or injure themselves, so bring a leash to hold them in place if they won't sit still.

3. Watch for Trash

An empty soda can or snack wrapper could hurt your dog if they're excited and chew on it. Look for trash before they enter the boat and keep up with regular maintenance, so it's a safe place for everyone to have fun.

4. Invest in a Life Jacket

Even dogs who love to swim will benefit from wearing a life jacket. Find one in their size and make sure it's snug, so if they get tired or fall over, they can easily float back to the boat.

5. Prep a First-Aid Kit

Be the responsible pet owner that you are and make a first-aid kit to store in your boat. It will have emergency supplies for cuts and injuries, as well as useful provisions like poop bags. Sometimes even potty-trained dogs have accidents on boats because they're super excited or feeling anxious.

6. Pack Fresh Water

Bring a couple of extra bottles of water and a bowl for your dog. After exercising in the water, feeling excited as the boat moves and spending time under the sun, they'll need to rehydrate long before heading home.

7. Store Extra Towels

Your dog won't have much fun if they have to sit in a puddle from their soaking wet fur. Store a few extra towels on your boat to help them dry off when they finish swimming. They'll be much more comfortable, which helps dogs who might feel anxious if they spend an extended period in the boat.

8. Look Into Dog Sunscreen

You might think their fur coat protects them, but dogs can get sunburns too. If your pup has short hair or a thin coat, you can apply sunscreen made for dogs to protect their skin. It will lower the risk of skin cancer and potential burns.

9. Find Fun Toys

If your dog is crazy about playing fetch, make sure you find fun toys that float. They can play fetch by jumping off the boat or rest in a water lounger when they get tired. Some dogs even enjoy chasing after water sprayed from a squirt gun, so get a variety to see what your dog prefers.

10. Stick With Your Pup

From the moment your dog steps onto your boat, you should keep an eye on them. They may get scared if you leave them alone or don't stop to pet them during the trip. As long as you're by their side, they'll have a great time.

Pay Attention to Their Needs

Even if you're enjoying your time on your boat, your dog might become anxious, tired, or thirsty and not know how to communicate their needs. Pay attention to your dog's body language and activity. When you take your dog boating, these tips will help everyone stay safe and have fun until it's time to turn the boat around and go home.


Emily is a freelance wildlife conservation and pet blogger. To check out more of her work, see her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her Twitter account @emilysfolk.

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