By: Tracy Zysk – June, 2015
Summer is here, and if you are like most New Englanders, at some point over the next couple of months you will be on a boat. Newburyport, Portsmouth or Winnipesaukee, actually it doesn’t really matter where you go; but if you do, take your dog!
There are a few safety tips to take into consideration for you and your pup before you leave the dock.
10 tips For A Successful Day On Your Boat:
1. Life Jacket – Yes, first and foremost get your dog a “doggy life jacket”. Even if your dog is a hotshot swimmer, he should still wear a jacket. Mother Nature is not one to fool with. If the currents are strong, or another boat comes by and makes waves, your dog will benefit from the added protection a life jacket will offer.
2. First Aid Kit – When stocking your first aid kit for your boat you should consider a few extra items for your dog. Antibiotic ointments, bandage wraps and an ice pack. Many pet stores sell pet first aid kits for under $15.
3. Visit the Boat First- Before you take your dog out on the boat for the first time, take him for a visit. Let him on the boat to smell, sniff, and get used to the surroundings and boat design. This would be the perfect time to put that new life jacket on him and try out the water too.
4. Check Local Laws – MA, NH, and RI. My understanding is New England states are very liberal with letting you have pets on your boats. But as always, check first. Also, review the by laws of any boating club you may be at to ensure you are compliant to their policies.
5. Rescue Plan – Have the discussion of who will do what before you take your dog out on the boat. Your dog may become very excited on the boat and want to play and jump. He could even slide or fall overboard. Planning ahead on who will cut the engine, where the rope is, and who will jump in all could save your dog’s life in case of an accident or emergency.
6. First Time Out Do A Trial Run – The first time taking your dog on the boat, plan on making the trip a short one. You want to let your dog adjust to the movement of the boat. Some dogs do experience motion sickness, and some dogs just do not like being on boats. Do the test run first to see if this is the right activity for your pup.
7. Hydrate – Water, water, water, make sure your dog has enough water to drink while out on the boat. Also designate an area of shade for your dog too.
8. Sun Protection – Yes, your dog can get a sunburn. Especially while spending the day out on the water. There are sunscreen sprays that are totally safe for your dog. A price well spent.
9. Treats – You may need treats if your dog becomes anxious or if he just gets the munchies. If you are taking a longer trip, remember to pack his meal and any medications too.
10. Have fun – Planning ahead and taking all precautions will lead to an enjoyable trip for all of you. Summer is here, what a great way to spend the day with your furry best friend!
Tracey Zysk, owner of Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care in North Andover MA is a local pet care professional. She has been featured on local radio, TV and newspapers educating the general public on animal care and animal health & wellness. Tracey is a proud supporter of Police, Fire & Military K9 units and National Award winner of the Platinum PAW award. Tracey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Become a fan on Facebook at Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care