Anchors Aweigh! Water & Boat Safety for Pets

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Whether you’re out for a swim or planning a boat excursion, you don’t want your pet to make waves by being an impolite and unsafe passenger. So, if sparkling blue waters are calling your name this summer, we have some tips that will help you prep your pet for a day on the lake.

Sailing Gear

Pick up a life jacket at your local pet store. Proper fit is important, so make sure you try before you buy! It should fit snugly, but not too tight that it constricts your pet’s movements. If you’re online shopping, be sure to pay attention to the measurements listed. A jacket with a handle will make it much easier to lift your dog out of the water if they fall overboard.


In addition to your pet’s life jacket, don’t forget to pack some other boat safety essentials: a pet first aid kit, portable water bottle, leash and collar with updated tags. It doesn’t hurt to have a plan for dealing with bathroom accidents too. Bring some extra cleaning supplies in case your pet makes a mess on the boat.

Swimming & Boating Lessons

Help your pet find his sea legs! Give your pet some time to explore the boat before you set sail. This will help make their new surroundings feel a little more comfortable and familiar. When it comes to swimming, some on-leash lessons in shallow water prior to the big trip will help your pooch perfect their doggy paddle.  

Boarding the Boat

Smaller pet passengers can be carried onto the boat. For larger animals, use a ramp to help them get on and off the boat safely while you lead them on a leash.

On the Boat

The safest place for your pet is right by your side. Pets should lie down on the ground while the boat is in motion. Better yet, keep your pets on a leash so that you can protect them from jumping off the boat if they’re startled by a sudden noise. 

Made in the Shade

If you’re feeling the heat, imagine how your pet feels! Give your pet a cool, shady place to relax both on and off the boat.

Water Sports

Swimming is great exercise and some dog breeds, like retrievers, are made to excel at the sport. However, that doesn’t mean you can lower your safety standards with them. Never leave a dog unattended in the water (even if they’re a good swimmer). Activities like paddle boarding and kayaking require a fair amount of training. Be patient while your dog learns the ropes and knows what is expected of him. Gone fishing? Keep lures and hooks in your tackle box and be extra careful when casting. A relaxing day at the lake can turn into a dangerous situation if the proper safety precautions aren’t taken.

We hope we’ve taken some of the guesswork out of water and boat safety. With the right plan in place, you and your pet can navigate the waters smoothly and safely together. So, go on. Take to the sea!