This weekend's hot weather will send thousands of people to local rivers and beaches. If you plan on hopping on a boat with your pet, make sure safety is a priority.
According to TripsWithPets.com, pet owners should plan ahead and always keep the best interests of your four-legged friend in mind in order to keep them safe.
- Identification Tag: Make sure your pet has a collar with an identification tag. Include contact information, marina address and slip number.
- Familiarization with the Boat: It is best to gradually introduce your pet to your boat and the water. Let your pet explore the boat while it is docked before going out on the water. Turn on the engine and let them get used to its sound, smell, and feel while the boat is docked.
- Safe & Easy Boat Access: Provide a special pet ramp for your pet to get on and off the boat. This not only includes from the dock to the boat but also from the water to the boat. Pets weigh much more wet than dry and it can be very difficult to lift them back into your boat after a swim.
- Flotation Device: A personal flotation device can also ensure safety while on the water. Not all pets can swim and even if your pet is a good swimmer, getting tossed overboard can put any animal into a panic. Make sure they have a life jacket! Many pets also fall into the water from the dock or while trying to get from the dock to the boat. Having your pet equipped with a flotation device with a lifting handle makes retrieving your pet much easier and safer. Help your pet get used to the PFD by first practicing at home for short periods of time. Start by putting the PFD on your pet and let them walk around with it on.
- Proper Hydration & Staying Cool: Pets do not sweat, so keep an eye out for heavy panting or drool and a rapid heart beat. Protect pets from heat by providing some shade on the boat, providing plenty of water and keeping the deck cool to protect paw pads. Bring along a travel water bowl and fresh water. It is critical to hydrate pets before they get into the water. Otherwise, they will drink the natural water and may get sick.
- Going Potty: A big challenge of boating with your pet is making provisions so that they can go to the bathroom. If your boat trip does not allow for regular land stops for your dog to do their business, then provisions must be made so that they can relieve themselves on the boat. A portable dog potty that simulates grass is an excellent solution.