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Boating with Pets
Making sure your pet is comfortable on board

Many dogs love to go boating… they’ll sit up in the wind with their tongues waving like flags.  It’s even better than driving with their heads out the window of the car!  There are a few things you can do to add to the fun and your enjoyment of your dog (or cat) on board. 


Something many overlook is a PFD.  Sure, your pet can swim – most can… but for how long?  And how easy is it to grab a wet animal that has fallen overboard?  You can get a flotation device perfect for your pet with a handle to make reboarding much easier. 


That brings up the second thing.  If our dog is a lab or other water dog, he’ll want to go swimming as soon as the boat stops.  You can make that a lot easier with a ramp or steps to climb back on the swim platform.  There are some nifty ramps that slip over cleats and extend into the water.  They also have flotation cushions underneath that you can adjust to the weight of your dog. 


By the way you should obviously have some shade for them on board, and if you have a bowl of fresh water they won’t drink so much of the lake when they go swimming.  If you wouldn’t drink the water you’re floating on, either should they.


Not all pets take to boating right away, so you can work them up to it.  Give them a chance to get their sea legs at the dock.  They’re not used to movement under their feet and they’d like it if you’d ease them into it before you go bouncing over the waves.  Same thing goes for the PFD.  Let them wear it a few minutes at a time before you go on the cruise. 


For longer cruises, call ahead to make sure you check into pet friendly marinas and it’s probably a good idea to bring their health records.  Pets will likely need other facilities too… a well-secured kitty litter container works for feline pets and you can get simulated grass pads for dogs.  Please don’t throw the waste overboard.  Flush it if you have a head, or bag and discard it the way you do on a walk at home. 


As it is with every trip you take, a little planning and preparation make them a lot more fun for everyone. 

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