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Keeping Your Dog Safe While Boating, Part 1

MDVSS Boating

Take some important steps to keep your dog safe while boating.

The warmth of summer means that there are a lot more boats out on the water. If you’re an avid boater, or you want to be, you might be wondering how to take your dog on the water safely so that the whole family can enjoy a day out in the sunshine. There are a few safety concerns to think about and address before you take your companion out boating with you.

Getting On the Boat

For smaller dogs, the best thing to do is carry them onto the boat. If your dog fits in a sling or carrier, this is an even better option so that your hands are free when you board. This lowers the stress for your dog, as well as the risk of them (or you!) falling into the water. However, it’s not always an option.

For larger dogs, you’ll want to purchase a ramp for them to use. This will require some training and patience to get your dog used to using it. A good way to start is by having your dog use it to get in and out of your car, if possible. Once they’ve mastered that, it’s a good idea to move up to getting on the boat while it is on land. This gives your dog a chance to adjust to the ramp on stable ground before graduating to using it above water or with a rocking boat.

Safety Products

There are a few important safety products you’ll want to have to make sure your dog is safe as possible while you’re boating.

First Aid Kit

You should have a first aid kit for your dog in addition to the one you carry for humans. There will probably be some overlap, but there will also be dog-specific items that should be kept on hand in case of an incident or emergency. Useful items may include an oral antihistamine that is safe for dogs, light bandaging material, and an extra collar and leash.


It might sound surprising, but dogs need sunscreen! In areas where the hair is thinner, such as their bellies, muzzles, and sometimes ears, dogs are especially susceptible to sunburn. Just like with humans, it’s painful and uncomfortable for them, so make sure to include them when you have everyone put on their sunscreen before you head out. Be sure to use either a sunscreen made for dogs or appropriate for babies. 

Life Vest

Of course, no boat trip is safe without life jackets. There are a number of ways your dog could end up in the water—they could jump in, slip, or get pitched overboard. If this happens, a life jacket will keep them afloat and make them easy to spot so you don’t lose them and can mount a rescue.

Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health

Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 17th, 2022 at 11:32 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.