10 safety tips for boating with your dog

We've already discussed the rules for camping with your dog and where the best place would be in Ontario. Now let's look at how to protect your pooch if it's heading out with you on the open water.

Part 3 of CBC Ottawa's 'Dog Days of Summer' series

When boating with your dog, it is best to make sure he or she stays in the boat, according to boat safety experts. (Stock image)

You might want to take your pet dog camping, which we tried to help you out with over the past two weeks.

You also might want to take your pooch to a cottage.

Whether it is camping or a cottage excursion, many dogs love the water. And if you're a dog owner, you might even take your pet out in the boat.

Make sure you are prepared before you head out on the water as there are dangers even if your pet loves to swim.

Here are some safety tips courtesy of VetStreet.com:

Before you get on the Boat

  • Develop a plan in case your dog goes overboard: Create a game plan before you even bring your dog on a boat.
  • Invest in a life-jacket. You may think your dog is a strong swimmer, but depending on the conditions, including weather and currents, it could face problems. Check the size on your dog’s life-jacket before purchasing it and checking to see where straps and buckles fall to make sure it is comfortable. Give your dog a chance to practise swimming in the life-jacket before taking it out on the water.
  • Bring a first-aid kit. Make sure you have a stocked first aid kit on your boat. Pet-specific supplies and useful items include antibiotic ointment for minor scrapes and a good supply of any medication your dog may be on.
  • Visit the boat with your pet prior to your trip. Let your dog get acquainted with your boat before taking it out on the water, preferably on a trailer or at the dock so he can get used to his surroundings in a safe, secure environment.
  • Check local laws about dogs and boats.

When you're on the boat

  • Keep your dog’s first outing short. Dogs can get seasick, and if seasickness becomes severe, ask your veterinarian about possible medication for future outings.
  • Keep your dog hydrated. If you’re going to be out boating in the sun all day, be aware that your dog may be in danger of overheating.
  • Don’t skip sun protection. It’s also important to remember that if your dog is spending time in the sun, it may need sunscreen protection (unscented SPF 15 spray on bandana, not fur). Boat surfaces also tend to become hot in the sun so know what areas will heat up and protect your dog’s feet.
  • Use common sense. If areas become slippery and could cause your dog to fall, block them off. Always know your dog's location to help you be aware if it is in any danger.
  • Plan ahead for dog waste. If your dog has to go, where will he or she do it? It would be a hazard having the pooch go inside the boat.