• Whether you’ll be on a small skiff or a luxury pleasure craft, if you plan to take your dog aboard a boat, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:


  • Introduce your dog to the boat well before it’s time to board. If possible, let your dog explore the boat and acclimate himself to it while it’s still docked or on a trailer a few days before your outing or trip.


  • Get your dog a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket especially for dogs, which he should wear while aboard, and let him get used to wearing it before boarding.


  • Once on board, be sure you know where your dog is and carefully supervise him.


  • Until you know whether your dog will be susceptible to motion sickness, watch the amount you.


  • Always provide your dog with a shady, secure spot to rest. Small battery-operated fans could help keep your dog cool.  Shade will help prevent hyperthermia and heat stroke which is a life threatening emergency.  Should your dog become overheated place cool wet towels on your dog. And seek medical help.  Keep a thermometer to measure temperature. If temperature is greater than 103 F cooling is essential.


  • Provide plenty of fresh water. Consider teaching your dog to drink from a water bottle, which could prove useful in addition to a splash-free water bowl. If your dog is swimming do not allow your dog to drink sea or lake water as your dog may become ill with infectious organisms, salts, or even become bloated.  If your dog appears bloated try to help your dog vomit.  If that is not possible seek veterinary attention immediately.


  • Decks can become slippery and hot. Lifelines or net webbing could help your dog be secure on board.  Provide plenty of shade on your boat and areas your dog can walk that are cool to the feet to avoid burning paw pads.


  • Have a plan in mind for how you would retrieve your dog from the water, especially a larger dog, should you need to get him out of the water and into your boat.


  • Pack a dog first aid kit for everyday accidents and try to avoid hazards from fishing gear and walking around unfamiliar shores. our dog cool.


  • Pick a spot for your dog to relieve himself aboard the boat (if you’re not docking often enough to allow him to go ashore), and train him to go there. You may also want to check into using absorbent “belly bands” (that work similarly in to the concept of a diaper (or house breaking pads. If you do go ashore frequently enough for your dog to relieve himself and exercise remember your manners and always pick up after your dog and keep him a leash.


For the Animals,

Hillary Hart, DVM

Please send questions and comments to hhartdvm@gmail.com