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Casting-Off with Canines
Transient Boater?
This is a story in two parts. This is part two. Last month we the beginning of this story, see our Blog for a copy. Why the differences between the “two” dogs?  Part two. Preparation and training are the differences between these two dogs.  This rest of this story will give you some tips on taking your dog out with you on your boat, whether sail or motor, so your entire family has fun on the water. Here are some things to consider during the planning of your boating trip.  Do you have the proper medical forms, safety items and information that you need such as:  Medical forms:  You need a copy of his Rabies Certificate on board with you, kept in a waterproof document bag, along with any special needs medicines kept where they are needed.  Have the name and number of a 24 hour Emergency Veterinary Hospital near where you will be traveling or near your home port.  Know the laws of the state you are traveling to or the area you are visiting as some areas have strict quarantine laws and you could end up bringing Rover and not bringing him home. Identification:  Have an ID tag attached to his collar and consider getting him micro-chipped in case he falls overboard or if he “jumps ship” at the marina and gets away.  Have a full identification form filled out and kept with your other important papers so that if he is lost, you have clear accurate descriptions and pictures to help locate him. Harness or Collar and Leash:  Every good dog needs also help knowing where his boundaries are and you can help him know by having a leash and good harness.  You can hoist him out of the water if he has fallen in and you didn't have a chance to get his PFD on him.  Once his PFD is on, you can take off a harness but keep on his collar with his PFD:  Most marina supply stores and boating supply stores supply pet Personal Flotation Devices.  Any dog can swim, but you don't want to make him swim for his life. Dog Shoes:  Decks are often roughened for traction and this can be tough on a dog's foot pads.  Also, decks can get very hot and can burn the pads if the dog has no relief for his feet can actually cause damage.  Dogs do not have sweat glands on their body, only on their feet.  They cool
themselves through sweat on their feet and panting.  If their feet are hurt, they cannot cool themselves properly. Water:  Salt water is as deadly to dogs as it is to humans and they must have cool water to aid in their cooling.  Plenty of fresh, clean water is vital. Sunscreen:  Yes, even dogs can get sunburned, especially blond haired and pale skinned dogs.  Even black dogs that have white patches can occasionally get sun-burned. Potty Area:  Dogs will fret if they don't have a place to “go.”  Give him a location by purchasing a low flat tray and putting a piece of Astroturf or even a patch of sod on it and putting it in some out of the way spot on the boat. Basic Commands:  Your dog should know some basic commands such as sit, down, stay, come and heel.  Other commands such as settle down (asking the dog to calm down and stay in a spot) and leave it, are helpful, as is take it, mat (go to your mat) and give. I hope I have given you a few things to think about as you ponder the decision to take your dog out on your boat with you.  There is no reason why your dog can't be a happy and healthy part of your family and any boating party you might take.   Annie Sires is the owner of “A Thing for Dogs” and the author of 40 Dog Gone Days: a self-guided journey to a delightful home companion. She can be reached at
By Annie Sires
There's a First time for everything
The tail of two dogs