How to Make Boating With Dogs Safer
As safety remains a major concern for all boaters on Lake Norman, it’s also important to make sure our four-legged friends are protected on the water. Boating with pets is like boating with small children, you need to take extra measures to ensure they are secure, as they can become seasick, dehydrated, lost or even drown. Whether Fifi or Rex find themselves on your bass boat or one of our pontoon boat rentals, you need to take precautions so they enjoy their outing and are safeguarded.
The first thing you need to do is allow your dog to become comfortable with water. Not all dogs take to the water. Even water-loving breeds like retrievers and labs can have trouble. Introduce them to shallow water first to give them enough time to adjust. Even after you feel they are comfortable, it is still important to keep a close eye on them.
You may want to dress them in a specially designed lifejacket. Just because your dog is a good swimmer doesn’t mean they won’t get tired or disoriented in the water. Additionally, if your dog falls overboard, you can use the lifejacket to grab them and pull them to safety. We proudly carry these lifejackets in our marina store.
When boating with your pet, be sure to bring plenty of water to avoid dehydration. It can get hot on Lake Norman, and the summer sun is just as harmful to dogs as it is humans. And, as he or she hydrates, make sure you stop often enough to allow them to relieve themselves.
Sunscreen is also important. Dogs can get sunburned just like humans can, especially lighter breeds with pink noses. A sunscreen with at least a SPF 15 is recommended for exposed areas such as the nose, interior ears and belly – just make sure the pup doesn’t try licking it off. If possible, provide a shaded areas they can retreat to on the boat.
Finally, be sure to bring some dog treats with you to help them feel comfortable and award them for good behavior. This is a good method of having your dog associate boating with treats. In time, as they become comfortable with the water, you can ease them off treats.
If you have additional questions about boating with your fido, you may want to consult your vet.
At Westport Marina, our goal is to provide a safe outing for our customers and their pets. For more information about our boating services or our pontoon boat rentals, call us at 704-483-5172 or email us. We look forward to welcoming you and dog to the wonderful world of Lake Norman boating.