10 tips to keep your pet safe when boating

by | Dog Care |

We want to make sure your summer is safe and enjoyable with your furry friend! Here are 10 tips to keep your pet safe when boating. 

Introduction to swimming:  

Before bringing your dog on a boat it is recommended to expose them to the water first.  Keep in mind, the breed of your dog can make a big difference in their affinity to water. Dogs with flat noses, such as Bulldogs, or those with particularly short legs, such as Dachshunds, are not adapted to be avid swimmers. Comparatively, some breeds such as Retrievers and Pointers have webbed feet and elongated snouts that make them keen swimmers. You should be aware of your dog’s swimming capabilities prior to boating with them. 

Introduction to the boat 

Allow your dog time to become familiar with the boat before going on any long trip. Short trips can help your dog have a positive experience on your boat before a long trip. This will also give you time to assess if your dog gets sick while onboard.  

Invest in a life jacket:  

Even good swimmers can tire easily in rough water, and banks may be slippery or too steep to climb up if required. Life jackets not only keep your pet afloat if they decide to “jump ship,” they can also help protect against hypothermia in cold water and can also make it easier to pull them back onboard. How to fit your dog for a life jacket. 

Make shade available:  

Remember it can get very hot on the dock of your boat. Be sure to provide a shaded area for your furry friend to rest. Also have lots of water accessible to prevent dehydration and/or heat stroke. 

Portable potty system:  

If you are planning to be on the water for a long period of time, you may need to bring a portable potty system (a square piece of turf may work for some dogs or look up “pets and portable potty system” on the internet). 

Make a plan for if your pet goes overboard:  

Talk with your family or friends in advance about what you will do if your furry friend falls overboard. Having a plan will make the rescue smooth and easy in the moment. 


It’s a good idea to bring along a leash or harness to secure your dog if you need to. A harness also provides an easier means to lift your dog out of the water if they fall in. Plus, if you stop for a bathroom break, you’ll need to keep Fido leashed.  

Pet first aid kit:  

In case of emergencies, bring along a pet first aid kit. It’s also a good idea to find out where the closest veterinarian is to where you’re boating in case anything happens to your animal. 

We hope these tips allow you to enjoy some fun adventures with your furry friends this summer while boating! 


I stand behind SPCA with my monthly gift

I stand behind SPCA with my monthly gift. I am so happy there are folks like you to care for those who can’t help themselves.  My family and I have had animals all our lives and know what a comfort they are.  Thank you SPCA.