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Boat Safety - Making your pet seaworthy

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Four-legged companions are the best boat-going crew mates one could ask for. They enjoy the ride, don't talk back, do what they are told and shower you with affection. Not only that, they take up little space and don't eat all of your hot dogs and potato salad.

These furry friends, which most often are dogs, also include cats, birds and other creatures are often times a big part of a great boating experience.

Your pet might not immediately take to the water, but with patience and a little training most grow to love outings on the boat. You will want to be sure that your dog is comfortable in the water before you introduce him or her to the boat. Cats, we know hate water, so you'd better off just skipping that part and going straight to the boat.

Allow your pet to become familiar with the boat and give him or her time to explore it on her own terms. Once your pet is comfortable, you can introduce the sound of the engine. Once your pet is comfortable with the sounds of the engine and the horn, you're ready to take a short spin.

On your spin, it may be better to harness or leash your pet. The waves and the motion of the boat could cause your pet to slip on the deck and hurt himself or herself and could fall overboard. Even if your pet is a good swimmer an unexpected plunge into the water could cause him or her to panic.

If your pet is anxious even after several short boat trips, it is probably better to leave him or her at home. The stress for both you and them can make your boating trip miserable.

Don't be surprised if your pet gets seasick, just like people, they have to adjust to the motion of the boat on the water. You may have to get a prescription from your veterinarian if seasickness is a continual problem. Over time, extend your outings and soon your pet will be enjoying the wind and waves as much as you do.

While many pets are good swimmers, they can very easily become tired and need to rest - the pet life jacket also makes it easier to pull your pet back into the boat should he or she go overboard. When I first went boating with my dog, she jumped off the boat into the water while docking. She had her life jacket on and I fished her out with the rescue handle before she disappeared beneath the boat!

Vivaglory makes a great dog life jacket in multiple sizes with rescue handle and excellent reviews:

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