4 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe on the Water
Before he can become a regular boat dog, Fido needs to understand life on the water. This means you'll need to take certain precautions to ensure his safety and comfort while you're fishing, sailing or just cruising. If you're serious about prepping your pooch for adventures at sea, here are just a few tips for marine dog safety.
1. Fit Him for a Life Jacket
They aren't just for humans. Your dog needs a life jacket too, and more importantly, it needs to fit his chest and body to function properly in the event of an emergency. A poorly-fitted life jacket can be more damaging to a panicked dog than no life jacket at all. The good news is that there are different sizes you can buy depending on the size and weight of your dog, so don't be afraid to break out the measuring tape and get his exact numbers. You might also be interested in life jackets with special properties like carrying handles and reflective tape.
2. Give Him a Tour of Your Boat
A good boat dog is one who knows his territory. If you just throw your pooch on an unfamiliar vessel and take off, he'll become stressed, frightened and overwhelmed by his new surroundings. A better alternative is to let him become acclimated with the boat over time. Let him explore its rooms, nooks and crannies; let him roam around the deck and sniff everything; let him take a nap on one of the seats. Having his scent all around him will keep your dog calm and settled while you sail.
3. Keep Him Hydrated
Your Benny dog will need more water than usual when you're out on the boat. Not only will the fast winds give him a dry mouth, but -- depending where you're sailing, of course -- he'll also gobble saltwater out of habit while he's swimming, and that will dehydrate him quickly. He might even lose the contents of his water bowl every time the boat makes a sharp turn or hits a big wave. Keep an eye on the bowl while you're steering, and whenever you see that it's empty, re-fill it to the top. Don't worry about him drinking too much or too fast under these special circumstances.
4. Clean Him Up
Take a towel to your dog after he's enjoyed a swim, and make sure you rub deep into his fur and not just on the surface level. You might even want to rinse him off with fresh bottled water for a deep clean. Even if he looks nice and neat, he might've brought back salt, scum, bugs, algae or pollution on his fur, and these can all soak into his skin and make him sick. If you want to keep him healthy, take no chances with his hygiene.
These are just a few tips for on-the-water dog safety. Whether you're raising a Benny dog or another kind of pooch entirely, these suggestions should help you prepare your canine for maritime fun.