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Is Your Dog’s Name Skipper?

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Bolt, guest commentator, fun-loving Yorkie-Poo, friend to Bo and Jess: Well, it seems my humans just returned from a weeklong Caribbean cruise but did not bother to bring me along.  Did they not know that boating with dogs can be a blast?  In fact, most dogs enjoy the experience.  While a commercial cruise line is probably not the best place for a pet, you do have the option of going sailing on a much smaller craft and taking your beloved four-legged companion along for the ride.

If your summer vacation plans include setting sail and enjoying life on the water, and your dog is begging to come along, there are a few things you can do to prepare him for the adventure.

If your dog has never experienced a marina before, bring him to it before you set sail so that he can get used to the sights, sounds, and smells associated with it.  Introduce your dog to life on board a boat gradually.  Let him get onto the boat while it is docked.  He will want to sniff around.  Be aware that when you do head out to sea, the sound of the motor may initially frighten him.

Be sure to call ahead to determine if your planned stops along your route allow pets.  Be sure to have at least one strong leash aboard the boat and have a special hook on the boat just for that leash.  That way, you won’t have to scramble to find it when you do dock.

Make sure your dog has proper ID on him, and this includes your phone number, the marina address, and slip number. You should also carry along with you proof of your dog’s vaccinations.

Make sure your dog has a life vest and is wearing it.  Put it on him before getting onto the boat.  While most dogs can swim, if your pet falls overboard, the sheer shock of the experience alone can send him into a panic and he might not be able to swim as well, becoming fatigued as he fights the stress of it all.  Besides, if your dog does fall over or jumps off the boat, the bright orange color of the vest will make it easy to spot him.

Be sure to have a couple of blankets and/or towels for your dog to rest on.  The surfaces of boats can get very hot while out in the sun.  Also, allow your dog access to the cabin area of the boat so he can momentarily escape from the heat outside.

Be sure to have ample food and water on board.  If your dog is one who wants to go for a swim, be sure to offer him plenty of fresh water before he hits the waves, as drinking excess sea water can make him sick to his tummy.

Another good investment for your time on the high seas with your dog is to get a doggie potty.  Place this somewhere on board to allow him access to take care of business.  The last thing you want to do after your fun day at sea is to clean up his waste products all over the place!  Ew!

And, if you have a pampered pet such as myself, be sure to throw in some stylish shades, a wide-brimmed hat, some cool tunes, a straw for my beverage, and a few mouth-watering snacks served on a silver platter.

Now that I have come out of my dream, if I just get a fun day on the water wtih my favorite humans, I don’t care of my snack is served on a paper plate!  I just want to have fun!  Let’s go, Gilligan!

(Information for this post was found at the web site, offering tips for baoting with dogs.)


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