Most dogs love to be aboard boats. Yes, it may take them a little time to acclimate to the boat’s motion on the water—similar to the way some dogs need time to acclimate to a car’s motion on the highway—but the joy is unmistakable in the face of a dog whose snout is pointed off the bow, ears flapping in the breeze, nose smelling the salty bouquet of the sea.
And having Fido on board, of course, means bringing his things along for the ride too, just as you would with any other guest. That said, let's take a closer look at five of the best dog boat accessories.
1. Life Jackets for Dogs
For starters, there are doggie life jackets. Luckily, there are a number of different brands that offer these types of specialty PFDs (personal floatation devices). Each company offers products in multiple colors, sizes, and varieties.
Many dog life jackets have reflective elements so you can see the dog if he falls into the water. They also typically have a handle across the jacket’s back (which runs along the dog’s back) so you can more easily lift the dog out of the water and back into the boat. These life jackets are designed similar to harnesses, so the dog can feel comfortable wearing them all day.
2. Water Bowls
Most dogs enjoy napping in the warm sunshine, but it can get hot out there during a full day of boating. That's why it’s important to bring extra fresh water and a bowl for the dog to drink from while on board.
Once again, there are a number of dog bowls on the market that are perfect for a day on the boat. Some are made of silicone and are collapsible, making them easy to transport and store. Others are made of stainless still, so they're able to handle the bumps of the boat cruising over wakes and wave. Stainless steel is also resistant to rust—a big factor to consider in freshwater and saltwater environments alike.
3. Water-Friendly Dog Toys
Just as you’d bring a beach setup for humans to have fun when the boat anchors off a beach, you can bring water-friendly dog toys for Fido to enjoy in the shallows as well. Many different toys are made to float after you throw it during a game of fetch, and some are even designed to stand upright in the water, making it easier for the dog to see it and retrieve it. Color matters, too—for example, red and white toys generally stand out against the blue surf.
Other water-friendly toys are designed to add distance to any throw, while some others have even been created to mimic a fishing bobber—using a weighted rubber bottom to help it bob and float upright after you toss it.
4. Ramps or Dog-Friendly Ladders
Last but not least, for when Fido is done playing in the water and needs to get back on board, boat- and dock-friendly ramps, much like the ones some dog owners place next to beds at home, are ideal to help dogs climb up without straining themselves.
The ramps are movable, so they can be used, say, as a platform for Fido to get from the marina dock onto the boat, and then again later the same day as a platform for him to get out of the water and back onto the boat.
Ready to Take Your Dog Boating?
Let's face it, for your dog, riding on a boat is way better than hanging his or her head out the car window.
If you love boating, there's a good chance your four-legged companion will love boating, too. And there’s no better or safer way to include your favorite Fido in the day’s boating fun than by making sure he or she has proper gear of their own.
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