Friday, 15 October 2010

Make sure your boating experience is safe for your pet as well.

On what modes of water travel are people taking their dogs, and how does the dog ride or stay in the vehicle? 
Dogs are joining us while sailing, power boating, rafting, kayaking, hiking along rivers, house boating and water-skiing. As for keeping the dog secure, that is a tough call. DO NOT AT ANY TIME secure your dog to the craft with a leash. Tying a dog to a craft is almost certain death should the boat flip or sink.
What are some basic things you need to keep in mind when putting your dog in a motorboat, canoe, kayak, raft, sail boat, etc.? 
The world of watercraft is completely different than the conditions found on land. With wet surfaces, footing can be unstable or downright slippery. The pitching and rolling of boats as well as the sudden movements in whitewater can also present a challenge. Humans have seats and pads that create a comfortable and secure place. Animals are rarely insulated from the cold wet bottom of a canoe or sea kayak and often have no secure place to wedge in and "hunker down" to minimize being tossed about on rafts, powerboats or sailboats. Provide a secure "seat" for your pup and consider using footwear (Bark'n Boots) that will allow your dog to walk around on fiberglass decks, raft tubes and other slippery surfaces without sliding and scratching or marring surfaces with sharp claws. A life jacket is key not only to assist your dog in staying afloat should he/she fall overboard, but also to give you a way of lifting them from the water. (Note: make sure you are using the proper size flotation device.)
The flotation device should fit snugly, provide your pup with enough buoyancy which is placed evenly along the dog's torso to float them in a natural horizontal swimming position and will not allow your dog to slip or fall out of the flotation device. With a few simple steps in the planning process and being aware of your pup's needs, outings can be made safe, comfortable and rewarding experiences for all.

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