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Ways To Keep Your Dog Happy And Healthy On The Water

Taking your canine buddy on your boating adventures guarantees more fun for all.

Dog onboard

Photo: Billy Black

With a little planning, you and your four-legged crew can have great fun on the water. Here are six simple tips to help your pooch feel safe, comfortable, and happy on your boat.

1. Dogs, like people, can get seasick. Hide a capsule of powdered ginger in a chunk of cheese to settle a queasy stomach. Doggy ginger snaps are an effective treat that help to prevent mal-de-mer while doubling as a reward for great behavior. See sidebar for a recipe.

2. If your dog swims in saltwater, take a moment to give her a freshwater rinse at the end of the day. Pay attention to her paws. Salt irritates the webbing between dogs' toes and may cause cracking or bleeding.

3. Dogs are safer if they're wearing a life jacket onboard, and easier to rescue. Avoid the styles with only one or two straps, as they can be unstable and pinch or cut skin. Select a style with full coverage under the belly to provide greater protection, and increased buoyancy.

Dog Days of Summer 2016

4. To lift large or elderly dogs aboard, consider a Rappel Sling. Designed to lower rescue dogs into remote areas, these heavy-duty slings attach easily to hardware on your boat. They will reduce strain on your back, protect your pet, and can be used to lift other heavy items on board as well.

5. Train your dog to poop on a square of Astroturf on deck. Always keep the grass in the same spot so she understands that this is an OK place. Add a grommet to a corner of the turf and thread a line through it for easy rinsing. Solid materials should be collected and disposed of properly ashore.

6. You can save the work of toting dog chow down the dock each weekend by storing kibble on board in an airtight plastic box. Add several bay leaves to the dry food to deter bugs. Remove the leaves before feeding your pet.

Doggy Ginger Snap

(Great for people too!)

Preheat oven to 350⁰ F

1 cup molasses
1/2 cup shortening (or butter)
3-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon dried ginger
1-1/2 teaspoon salt (if desired)

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside in large bowl. Heat molasses over medium heat — do not boil. Pour molasses over shortening in a separate bowl. Stir in dry ingredients. Mix by hand into dough. Roll as thin as possible and cut with a bone shaped cookie cutter. Bake on greased baking sheet 8–10 minutes. Yields about 50 small cookies.


lifestyle pets


Jessica Stone

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine

Jessica Stone lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she's a full-time writer, public speaker, and avid boater. She is the author of Doggy on Deck — Absolutely Everything You Need to Know Before Cruising with Fido, and How to Retire on a Boat.