Many people look forward to spending their weekends and vacations enjoying boating with family and friends. If you are one of an estimated 53% of American households with a dog, then your boating adventures probably include him.
Let’s look at some of the boating accessories for dogs that can make your time on the water better for all of you.
Getting On and Off Your Boat
One of the most difficult tasks you will face as a boat and dog owner is getting on and off the boat.
Maybe when you’re at the dock it’s not such a problem. But it’s a whole different thing when you’re in the middle of a lake and enjoying a swim.
Now it may be awkward and slippery trying to get yourself and a wet dog onto your boat.
The PetStep folding pet ramp is a good solution for getting your dog from the dock onto your boat.
This ramp folds in half for easy storage. It holds up to 500 pounds but only weighs 18.5 pounds.
People who have bought the PetStep generally like it.
Can it be used to get your dog out of the water and onto your boat? The answer is a qualified yes.
Some dogs find the ramp to be too slippery when wet.
The other problem some dog owners experience is the ramp floating, but folding when the dog gets on the end. This should be less of a problem with lighter weight dogs.
This boat ladder is designed to attach to boat ladders with 3 or more steps.
It is 64 inches long and 17 inches wide. It weighs a mere 12 pounds.
The biggest complaint purchasers have with this product is getting it to work with the ladder on their boat.
But those who get it work love it. Here’s a short review that is echoed by many other purchasers:
Dog Accessories for Safety
Dog Life Jacket
There are many situations where you may want to put a life jacket on your dog. Even if she enjoys the water, you may still want that extra assurance of a life jacket.
When you look online, you will find many life jackets that try to be cute. They may be good for a funny photo to share with your friends. But you really want a life jacket that that helps you quickly find your dog in the water and get her to safety.
Look for these features in any life jacket you are considering:
- High visibility color
- Lots of reflective accents
- Proper fit for your pup
- Comfortable for your dog to wear and to swim in
- Safety without restricting movement
- Easy to put on and take off
- Handles so that you can grab your dog and lift her out of the water
- Durable material and construction
A life jacket can also be useful for novice swimmers just getting used to the water.
Doggles – Dog Sunglasses
Doggles can help protect your dog’s eyes from physical injury and from UV light.
You will find doggles useful even before you arrive at the lake. If your dog enjoys sticking his head out the window when you are on the highway, you can protect his eyes with a well-fitted pair of doggles.
It seems that most people who purchase doggles like them. The biggest problem folks mention is getting the right size for their dog.
Cooling Gel Mat
When you are out on your boat, do you ever feel overheated? Of course you do.
Then how do you think your dog feels? Remember, she’s wearing a fur coat all of the time.
It could be that a cooling gel mat is just what she needs.
This pad provides cooling comfort for up to three hours. It “recharges” itself once your dog stops using it. In other words, you don’t have to plug it in or get it wet to “recharge.”
The pad pictured above uses a liquid gel. You may prefer a pad made with solid gel.
For use on your boat, you will want a cooling pad that is easy to store, easy to clean, and is self-activating.
The pad should also be puncture and chewing resistant. In addition, make sure your cooling gel mat is the right size for your dog to sit and lie on.
Some dogs don’t like to lie down on cooling mats. If that describes your pooch, maybe the cooling solution for you would be a cooling vest.
The cooling vest pictured above does not contain any gel. Rather, it has two systems to help cool your dog.
1. The middle layer of material absorbs and stores water for evaporation.
2. The outer layer reflects heat and facilitates evaporation.
You use the cooling vest by soaking it in cold water, wringing out the excess water, then putting it on your dog.
As with so many products that your dog is meant to wear, the critical thing is to get the sizing right!
Non-slip dog shoes can be a valuable asset on hot days, on hard floors or decks, or spending time on a beach or hiking trail.
Properly fitted dog shoes or boots can help your dog avoid foot injuries. They protect his feet from stones, thorns, and other sharp objects.
And on your boat they will protect his feet from the hot deck.
It will take your pup some time to get used to wearing dog shoes. You’ll want to practice some at home before you and dog venture outdoors wearing them.
Boating Accessories for Fun and Play
Will you want to play fetch with your dog while you are out on the water?
A floating toy should be easy to throw and a bright color so that it’s easy to find.
The toy you choose should be the right size for your dog’s mouth.
Also, make sure it’s sturdy enough to withstand being chewed on.
For example, the KONG company makes dog toys with 4 levels of durability:
- teething chewers
- aging chewers
- average chewers
- power chewers
You can read all about KONG toy durability here.
Boating Accessories for Comfort
Lake and river water may be fresh water, but it can still contain harmful bacteria. Therefore, you’re going to want to have a reliable source of drinking water for everyone on your boat. And that includes your cute dog.
The water dish you use at home may not be suitable for use on your boat.
The ideal water dish for use on a boat will have a non-skid bottom. Also, it will be made to minimize the amount of mess your dog can make while drinking.
The water dish shown above is built to keep the water free of dust and dirt. This is because most of the water in the dish is underneath a floating disk. This moderates how much water is on the top surface ready for drinking.
Here’s a bit of what the manufacturers says about it:
In other words, you want a water dish that minimizes how much mess your dog makes and sloshing from your boat’s motion.
You’re probably thinking, why does a dog all covered with fur need sunscreen?
Here’s a bit of what the AKC has to say about sun and your dog:
Some dogs are more at risk for sunburn than others. Hairless dog breeds … Dogs with white or thin coats and dogs with light-pigmented noses and eyelids are also more at risk for sunburn …
There’s a lot more detail in that article.
Now you may be thinking you can just apply your sunscreen to your dog. Not so fast …
Again, according to the AKC, the sunscreen you use on your dog should not contain zinc oxide or PABA. Those common ingredients are toxic to dogs.
You should use a waterproof sunscreen with a SPF of 30.
And, don’t forget, your dog may try to lick off any sunscreen that you apply. Therefore, watch her carefully for 10 – 15 minutes so that it will be absorbed and do its job.
A bed is another boating accessory that can make your dog’s day more pleasant.
A bed gives him a place to lie down and call his own.
Important features to look for with a dog bed to take on your boat include:
- made for outdoor use
- removable and washable cover
- nonskid bottom
- the right size for your pup
- sturdy to resist claws and chewing
We all know, sometimes you gotta go. And holding back can be pretty uncomfortable.
What do you do when your dog’s gotta go? You could find a place near shore and take her for a quick walk.
Or you could have a porta potty on your boat.
The main features to look for with a portable potty are the right size for your dog and something that is easy to clean.
It will take some time to train your dog to use a portable potty. The best training regimen is similar to house training a puppy.
Odor Control Trash Can for Dog Poop
There will be times when your dog makes a smelly mess on your boat.
That’s when you need a trash can with a secure lid that you can put poop bags into.
Here’s what one satisfied purchaser writes about the trash can pictured above:
Boating Accessories for Dogs – Conclusion
In this article I’ve talked about a baker’s dozen of boating accessories for dogs.
Of course, you won’t need every item that I’ve written about. It all depends on you, your boat, your dog, and the length of your boating trips.
However, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and have everything you need before you get out on the water.