Tips for Boating & Pontooning with Dogs
Getting out on the water on hot summer days can be irresistible. It’s hard to leave any family member or friend on shore — even four-legged ones. Fido enjoys a flying plunge off the back of a pontoon as much as any human, after all.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your dog safe and happy out on the water:
- Keep plenty of fresh drinking water available. Consider a “spill-proof” dog bowl.
- Provide a shaded area. Excessive exposure to the sun can cause problems for dogs.
- Protect their feet. Dogs absorb heat through the pads on their feet and boat surfaces can get very hot in the sun.
- Give your dog a chance to get acquainted with the boat while it is on the trailer or at the dock.
- Walk your dog so it can relieve itself before boarding; if the boat surface allows, you may wish to train your dog to go in a specific spot.
- Keep your first outing short, to let your dog get used to the boat movement.
- Make sure if you let your dog jump into the water you have a plan for getting it back on the boat. Dogs aren’t good with ladders, so if you have a large pet you can’t lift when sopping wet, keep it on the boat.
- Dog life jackets or personal flotation devices are a great way to keep your dog safe while on the boat. They can also help when lifting your dog back into your boat after they take a dip. See dog life jackets by clicking here.
Remembering these simple tips should be fairly easy — it turns out most of the recommended precautions for having pets on boats are the same as for humans. We all need protection from the sun, access to drinking water and a place to go potty, no matter how many legs we have.