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Help your pet beat the heat.

July 28, 2017

PetSafe® Expert

Caryl Wolff

Boating With Your Dog

If you will be spending time out on the water and taking your dog boating with you, you might want to look at some safety tips so you both enjoy the trip.



  • Check local laws and marina rules to see if they allow dogs.
  • Plan for his potty area and cleanup If he pees on the deck, wash it off and use an odor neutralizer. If he poops, bag it until you get to shore and then dispose of it.
  • Check for slippery deck areas and block them.
  • Check to see if the water is safe for dogs many lakes have algae blooms which are toxic or contaminated. In the ocean, there are shark-infested waters.


  • Life jacket with a lifting strap check its size, buckles and straps to see it fits comfortably
  • First aid kit which can be one for people but should also include
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Muzzle
  • Your dog's vaccine and health records
  • Seasick meds
  • Sunscreen made for dogs (not humans because it contains zinc oxide)
  • Fresh water and a nonslip bowl
  • Identification both a Microchip with your home information and an ID tag with
  • Your boat's marina location
  • Your slip number
  • Your cell number while sailing
  • An emergency contact phone number
  • Bathroom rubber-backed rug or outdoor carpet for traction on deck, to protect his feet from the heat, and give him a home base to stay.


  • All the training in the world will not help if your dog does not enjoy boating and some don't. Please respect this and don't force him.
  • Have a procedure in place if your dog goes overboard, including teaching him to come to either a ladder or platform. Practice with your fellow passengers.
  • Let him explore your boat.
  • Train on dry land first and while docked.
  • Then go on short excursions in shallow water so you can see if he gets seasick and also so he gets used to getting on and off
  • Movement
  • Noises
  • Swimming in life jacket
  • You'll want to train him to
  • Get on and off the boat
  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Down
  • Potty on command


  • Don't take him out in rough seas.
  • He should have room to move around. The gunwale should be high enough to keep him onboard.
  • He should have a safe, shady spot to go if he is nervous.
  • Tether him on a harness for arrivals and departures. There should always be someone to watch him, especially if he is tethered. During the trip, attach a safety line to his harness.
  • Make sure he is hydrated before he gets into the water so he doesn't drink water which may be contaminated.
  • If he likes swimming, take frequent breaks so he doesn't get overtired or water intoxication (staggering and loss of coordination, lethargy, vomiting). Check also for heatstroke (excessive panting and drooling). If you see any of these symptoms, get him to a vet fast.


When he comes out of the water after swimming, rinse and towel him off. If he is not allowed on land at a particular port, he should be crated or accustomed to being alone in the cabin. If it's hot, he cannot be left in a cabin, which is why you need to check the rules and regulations before docking.

Following these safety tips, both you and your dog will have an enjoyable cruise. Have fun!

Written by

Caryl Wolff

Caryl Wolff

Puppy Expert

PetSafe® Expert

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