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  • Writer's pictureBoating-greece

You love boating but you love your furry best friend too. Some advice for boating pets

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If you're a fan of sea adventures and sailing, but your best friend has four legs and a tail, there are a few things you might want to know. Boating with dogs can be a lot of fun, especially when your best friend enjoys the water as relaxing as you do. As for cats, their presence on ships has been more than desirable for centuries, as beyond their usefulness in keeping mice away, cats are considered "charms" by sailors on ships.

For those of you who want the company of your furry friends everywhere with you, and boat trips are one of your favorite habits, taking care of a safe and comfortable voyage for your four-legged companions is essential. Some things to consider before starting your ride are the following:

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Invest in a life jacket

Even if you consider your dog/cat to be an excellent swimmer, there are many situations where your friend could be at risk of drowning. Fatigue, open sea and panic can put the best "swimmer" in the worst situation. To prevent this from happening, invest in a PFD for your pet. You can find them available at most pet stores and craft stores. You want to make sure it's the right size so there's no discomfort for your furry friend. Use the handle lift option so you can easily pull your dog or cat out of the water. Also, choose a brightly colored vest so it's easy to spot if your four-legged friend jumps into the sea.

Equip yourself with a dog swim platform

The inflatable dog boarding platform has mesh steps that sink into the water, offering an easy climb aboard for your pet. The platform can also be used as a place to sit and dry. Also included with the inflatable platform are D-rings and a pair of 8-foot ropes that secure it to the boat. The platform comes in three sizes depending on the size of your pet, a mini size for dogs up to 30kg, an XL made for dogs over 30kg and an XL Sport in camo specifically for waterfowl. The manufacturer touts the platform's durability by stating that it's built to be tougher than our friends' fingernails.

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Cat ladder

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Having a ladder in your boat is an easy way for your cat to get in and out safely. There are a few types of stairs to choose from. Some cats can climb iron ladders, but others prefer rope ladders.

Keep plenty of drinking water

To prevent them from overheating, make sure they have plenty of clean drinking water available and have access to it. Be sure to monitor them for any signs of dehydration. This may include heavy panting/breathing, dry mouth or sunken eyes. Also, never encourage them to drink water straight from the lake or sea.

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Provide a shaded area

Too much exposure to the sun can cause problems for animals, make sure you have a place with shade so your friend can rest.

Consider buying and applying sunscreen for your dog

Just like humans, some dogs and cats (especially short-haired) can also get sunburned. If you check your local pet store, there are sunscreens available that are specifically designed for your pet. Boat surfaces can get very hot in the sun, so also consider keeping their feet protected as they absorb heat through their foot pads.

Make them feel comfortable on board

Give them their own separate space that is out of the ordinary to help them feel more comfortable and acclimated to the boat. Make sure they are in the shade to keep them cool. Also, give them a chance to familiarize themselves with the boat while at the dock before departure.

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Remember that pets have to "relieve" somewhere

Make sure you walk your dog before boarding. Also, remember to bring plenty of doggy bags and cleaning wipes in case of an accident. Try to teach them to go to a certain spot, like a puppy. Scheduling stops where dogs can get down to relieve themselves is another good option. With regard to cats, a closed litter box is recommended, due to the turbulence that may occur during navigation.

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Train your dog or your cat to swim

Some dog breeds are natural swimmers and love to go for a swim. For others, it may not be instinctive and they will need help adjusting. Before taking them out on the boat (even if you don't intend for your pet to go in the water), consider getting them used to the water first. You can do this with a children's pool, regular pool or at the beach. Encourage them to play and have fun with the toys and gradually lead them into deeper and deeper water.

Be prepared with the proper supplies

Prepare properly for each excursion. Before you pack for your adventure, make a list of your four-legged friend's needs, from food, water, medicine to a pet passport if you plan to travel across international waters. Always research the pet policies for your destination.

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Finally, keep your first outing short to let your dog/cat get used to the movement of the boat.

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