Tips for Bringing A Pooch on the Pontoon
Man’s best friend doesn’t have to stay on land while the rest of the family is having fun on the pontoon boat. Most lakes and other bodies of water allow dogs on boats, though you should always check the specific location’s rules before proceeding. If you’re planning to bring your pooch this summer, consider the following for a safe and enjoyable pontoon boat outing.
Put a Life Jacket on Him
No matter how good of a swimmer you know Fido to be, you should always put a life jacket on him when he’s on the boat. A strong current, wake, or other unpredictable occurrences can take even the strongest of swimmers down and you want to make sure you can grab your dog quickly should he go overboard. All good canine life jackets have a built-in handle made for easy lifting.
Let Him Get Familiar with the Boat Before You Go Out
There’s no way to predict how your dog will react when you’re on the open water—especially if he’s never experienced it before. Get him familiar with the boat while it’s still docked so he can get used to his surroundings. When he seems comfortable, take a short and slow cruise for his first outing and see how he reacts. You can build up to longer, faster rides.
Create an Overboard Plan
Whether you hit a big wave or your dog sees something in the water he thinks he absolutely must dive in after, you just can’t predict when Spot may go overboard. It’s important to have a plan in place so everyone—especially the boat driver—knows what to do. Have one person designated to fish him out of the water and others on spotting duty.
Pack the Supplies
Dogs need to be taken care of on the boat, especially if you plan to be on the water for a long time. Pack food and treats, water, a collapsible water dish, a first aid kit, and, if necessary, a place to relieve himself on board. Bring doggie sunscreen too: yes, dogs can get sunburned. You also might want to bring a favorite toy or cushion to keep him entertained and content.
Boating with dogs can be a pleasurable experience for all involved. While most dogs do well as soon as they get comfortable on board, it’s important to have an emergency action plan in place.
Want your pooch to become a Benny Dog? Check out Bennington’s line of pontoon boats and find a dealer near you. Then send us your photos of your dog enjoying his day on the water. We’d love to see them.