See Spot Boat
From Popular Mechanics
See Spot Boat
Your pet can enjoy being on the water as much as you--if you take the proper precautions.
"But I don't WANT to go on the boat."
If your beloved pooch or kitty will be a regular companion on boating outings, here are some tips that will make your day on the water safe and enjoyable for all the participants.
The first thing to do when getting underway is to make sure you have enough water for the dog. Dogs regulate body heat through panting, and while doing so, lose large amounts of fluids. It's imperative to keep them hydrated. If your dog doesn't feel like drinking, you may need to try a little coaxing. Remember, you know better.
The slogan "Boat Smart - Boat Safe - Wear It!" used in the National Safe Boating Council's Safe Boating Campaign holds true for both humans and pets. Not all dogs can swim, and those that can may not be great swimmers. And, depending on where your boat is located, should Spot fall overboard, he may not be able to reach you before he suffers from exhaustion or hypothermia.
Have your dog wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Pet PFDs are sold by all the major marine vendors. Don't just buy the PFD, practice putting the vest on your pet, as well as having it swim with the PFD. It's a new experience for them, and they should get used to wearing it.
The New Pet
You've just gotten a new pet, and you want to take it boating. What a great idea. Don't assume your pet will automatically take to boating the way ducks take to water. Dogs and cats like firm, stable surfaces, and a boat can be anything but stable.
When you get a new pet, you should take some time to acclimate it to the new environment. Bring it on board the boat while it's tied up to its normal dock or mooring. Let the animal get used to its surroundings--and to wearing a PFD.
Next, turn on the engine to see if the sound disturbs the animal. Some pets couldn't care less, others may freak out. Unless your pet can get used to the engine, it may end up being a landlubber.
Take short trips at first to let your pet get acclimated to the pitch and roll of boating. Remember, if you can get seasick, so can your pets.
Sun And Heat
When we go boating we all hope to have a warm, sunny day. That's fine for you, but special attention must be paid to your pets. Too much sun and heat can cause problems for the animal.
Dogs and cats (as well as many other pets) can suffer the same types of heat emergencies humans can. They include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and sunstroke.
Make sure you have a shaded area on your boat where your pet can take shelter. Hopefully, there will be air movement to aid in cooling them down. Remember to make sure they drink. Also, wetting down their coats can help them feel cooler.
Protect the pads on their paws. Dogs and cats absorb cold and heat through their pads, and can be burned by a boat's hot fiberglass and vinyl surfaces. You may want to knit a set a custom pad protectors.
Doing Their Business
After a couple of hours on a boat, you need to use the head, and so does your animal. You have a few options, depending on the type of pet you have.
Cats--Place their litter box at the lowest point in your boat, and make sure it is level. This should induce them to use it. Also, by making a sort of enclosure with pillows at the same level as the litter box--cats like to have their own little hiding place--should you get into rough seas, kitty may feel more secure.
Dogs--You can train your dog to do its business in a specific spot. Its hard work, but it can be done. If you're going to cruise, this would be the best bet. This way, you don't have to find land every few hours so Spot can go.
On the other hand, you can always go ashore and let them do what they have to. Remember, pick up and properly dispose of the waste products left by your animals. The marine sanitation environmental laws should be respected. Even though this is not human waste it can still cause bacterial problems. In fact, if you go ashore, there may well be animal waste laws in effect. Remember the old saying: Waste not, want not.