Safety Tips for Boating With Dogs

Boating With Dogs Safely With Dog Life Jackets

People and their pets are ready to get out and enjoy the summer! Being from coastal North Carolina, one of my favorite activities is getting out on the water and enjoying the natural therapy the sea brings. But like everything else in life, the sea is even better with your dog!

Paws aboard! Dogs seem to enjoy boating almost as much as their owners do, and they can be a fun addition to any boat outing. To keep your boating adventure safe for your pooch, make sure you keep a few safety tips in mind:

  • “Water water everywhere/nor any drop to drink” goes the old saying. You wouldn’t drink salt water, so why would your pup? Seawater will not satiate thirst. Be sure to bring fresh water and a portable water dish like a Port-A-Bowl for your pet to drink out of.
  • The sun is HOT! Keep pets cool and offer them shade while boating.
  • Float coats are vital for all! Always have human and dog life jackets on hand to stay safely buoyant should an accident occur. Don’t sail anywhere without a dog life vest if you’re bringing Fido along.

“Hello, ocean. I am dog.” Introducing Your Pup to Swimming

dog swimming

To help your pet enjoy their trip, introduce them to water and swimming with a dog life jacket before they are on the boat. Getting the best dog life vest that’s adjustable for a secure fit is just as important for keeping your dog safe.

Measure your dog’s girth before buying a life preserver. If you have the Outward Hound Granby dog life jacket, you can find the fitting guide here. There are detailed fitting guides for the Standley and Dawson dog life jackets, too.

If you aren’t sure which dog life jacket is right for your dog, you must make sure it has these key safety features:

  • Grab handles to make it easy to pull your dog out of the water
  • Neoprene belly bands and chest strap with adjustable straps for a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Reflective strips and bright colors so you can spot your dog in the water
  • A front float neck closure to support your dog’s head above water
  • Foam panels for optimal flotation and buoyancy
  • Is made of high-quality ripstop material and secure fastenings
  • A D-ring to clip a leash attachment to in case you need to keep your pup close

Introduce them to the boat

“Hello, boat. I am dog.”

Before you go out on the open water, it’s important to help them have positive experiences on the boat. Remember the fiberglass may be slippery for them and they need to learn to get their “sea-legs” too!

Teach your pet to get on and off the boat just like you would when introducing them to the car. Then if your dog ever jumps out of the boat, they will stay buoyant and know how to get back on without hurting themselves. It could save their lives.

Unfortunately, I have seen more than one dog vs. propeller while working in animal emergency hospitals. Keeping pets confined to the front of the boat area and a safe distance from the edges while wearing a flotation device is very important!

Boating With Dogs: Boat Smart

dog kayak

A flotation device like a dog life vest for your furry friend is the best preventative measure you can take to keep them safe. Regardless of your dog’s swimming skill level, all dogs can benefit from wearing a life jacket as an overall safety precaution.

Now go have FUN!

Let’s all stay safe so everyone can enjoy the dog days of summer!

boating with dogs checklist

Need a dog life jacket? From sizes extra large to extra small and bright colors in camo, pink, yellow, green, and more, Outward Hound has you covered for your next water adventure. You can find them on our website, Chewy, Amazon, your local pet store, and more.