Bowser on Board

Do dogs like to go boating? For most dogs, it’s the second-favorite thing they like to do, right after sticking their heads out of your car window while you’re driving around town!

As pack animals, dogs love to do what the pack (i.e. you and your family) is doing. Most dogs will love being on the water, going fast and enjoying the great outdoors.

But responsible pet owners should consider a few important do’s and don’ts when taking their pets out on a boat.

  • Acclimate your pet.  As in any new experience, it helps to get your pet used to being on a boat. Take Bowser on a docked boat first, let him sniff around, get used to the sound and vibrations of the engine. Once a dog learns what it feels and sounds like to be on a boat, he should be fine.
  • Dogproof your boat.  Just as you would with small children, look around your boat and eliminate things a dog might get into that would be harmful. Think of things like fishing hooks and other sharp gear, and access to bait. A dog will also need a safe space to lie down and rest: bring along a favorite blanket or doggie bed.
  • Life jackets for dogs.  Yes, they make them and yes, they are a good idea. Most dogs are good swimmers and few dogs have suicidal tendencies that would lead them to jump overboard. But out on the water, anything can happen, so be prepared and outfit your animal with a well-fitted floatation device. Better safe than sorry.  Also, outfitting your pooch with a snug fitted harness is a better idea than relying on a collar and leash.
  • Plan for elimination.  When a dog’s gotta go, he’s gotta go. Pet supply stores sell pee pads, and you should also have on board a good supply of poop bags and regular paper towels. 
  • Hydration.  Bowser will need a source of fresh drinking water when he’s out in the hot sun for any extended period of time. Invest in a good, nonslip travel bowl, and make sure you keep it filled and that your pooch knows where it is. 

Most pet owners find that dogs just love boating. So much so that most of them will be too tired to stick their heads out the car window on the drive home!