Why leave your dog behind on shore when you can safely take them with you on the water? With the right safety equipment and preparation you can both have a fantastic time paddling or boating.

One major safety point to be stressed – never tie your dog to the vessel. Be that a boat or kayak, if the boat should flip then the dog may get trapped under the water and not be able to swim to safety.
The second point to make is always fit your dog with a PFD, if you wouldn’t head out into the water without one then don’t let your dog do the same. It is better to be safe and your dog will love it as they can swim and play in the water for longer and not tire out as easily.
And the third point, choose a water environment that is suitable to your dogs capabilities. You wouldn’t rush into a whitewater rapid if you weren’t a good swimmer, dogs too have varying levels of swimming abilities too so don’t put them in a situation that isn’t safe.

Prepare your dog for a trip:

  • have a designated place for your dog to ride securely on the boat
  • familiarise your dog with the entering and exiting process of the vessel be that a kayak, canoe, sailboat or motorboat.
  • familiarise your dog with wearing a PFD, some dogs may take a little while to get used to wearing the jacket – especially if they have never worn anything similar before.
  • familiarise yourself with removing your dog from the water in an emergency situation – if your dog becomes distressed in the water use the handle on the top of the PFD to easily lift them to safety.

During the trip, look out for:

  • Obstacles in the water can be hidden, keep an eye out for anything that may snag or harm your dog.
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Hypothermia
  • Cut paws from rocks etc.
  • Currents, waves, undertows etc.
  • Boat surfaces can get very hot on sunny days. Dogs absorb heat through their paw pads, so be sure to be aware of this and keep them cool. You can use booties to prevent this and help give your dog more grip whilst in the boat.

And a final note, we do live in Australia and the the top half is the habitat of the saltwater crocodile. Be aware for both yourself and your dog when entering the water, use common sense don’t go paddling on known crocodile rivers. Ask around for local knowledge of safe areas to go for a paddle and you will have a safe and fun trip!

What you need to take:

  • Food
  • Clean water
  • Bed
  • Poop bags
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Brush (for daily tick checks)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Towel
  • Glowsticks (to attach to the collar at night)
  • Long rope
  • Leash
  • Collapsible dog bowl
  • PFD for dog
  • Floating water toys
  • Dog booties