Before you set sail for the open seas with man’s best friend there are few important checklist items:
- Collar tag should include: Marina location/slip number, your contact info & a secondary contact
- Do you have an ID chip for your pet? May want to consider getting one.
- Personal Floatation Device (PFD) for your cat or dog. These range from $20 – $80 depending on the boating store. Try to get a bright colored PFD with a handle.
- Teach your dog basic safety commands, such as: “stay,” “sit,” “on boat,” “off boat” or the classic “go potty.” Warning: Teaching your cat these commands will be a little harder, and by harder we mean impossible.
- Consult with your veterinarian for sea sickness medication and dosage. Usually human dramamine or benadryl will work just fine but it’s important to consult your veterinarian as the dosage may be too much depending on the size of the dog/cat.
First things first. When boating with dogs and cats, it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable around water. This can be achieved by introducing them to water, boating and being on a boat for little at a time until they start to become more comfortable.
Practice swimming and rescue drills in the water. For example, teaching a dock how to look for a ladder or swimming platform in the event they fall overboard.
While docked you can rig up a carpet siding on each four corners of the boat so the cat has a way to climb back up. Otherwise, it’s important to keep a fishing net handy as this is an easy way to scoop up your feline friend.
Note: The dock is the most important place to be on high alert with your pet(s). This can be a dangerous situation without proper supervision.
Also, be sure to always carry your pet’s rabies certificate and other health records while on land.
On A Power Boat
- At high speeds, the boat deck can be slick for your pet. Consider replacing the floor with carpeting, towels or something that can offer traction if they are going to walk around.
- If your pet has trouble navigating a ladder, it’s important to invest in ramps or steps over the side of the boat.
- Make sure your pet has a shady place to stay cool as fiberglass can get very hot.
- Have a water dish readily available and secured.
What about going to the bathroom?
Astroturf or a box of sod is a great way to potty train your dog while aboard.
An anchored litterbox is best. Some even recommend the toilet but this a feat that take’s a lot of patience!
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Images and Sources: YachtPals