5 Essential Safety Tips When Boating & Fishing With Dogs

The sheer size and immense natural resources of the Great Lakes region, especially in Michigan, offer humans and their four-legged companions alike a wealth of fun, including boating and fishing with dogs.

With a variety of beach towns and easy access to the nation’s greatest lakes, there is a lot of awesomeness that you and your four-legged friends should not miss. For our water-loving fellows, mellowed-out boating and walleye fishing are some things that you should not miss out on when dropping by in the region.

The idea of going on a boating and fishing adventure is all fun until you have to craft a plan. So if you’re planning to bring your furry companion for a fishing and boating adventure, here are five yet extensive tips to make sure you and your furry first mate are ready and safe for the voyage.

Featured Image Dog in Canoe – Photo by Elizabeth Krupka:

#1 Plan Your Boating Trip with Your Dog

Dog on boat - Fishing With Dogs
Image by gayleenfroese2 from Pixabay

As Benjamin Franklin put it, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. So, besides your necessities and fishing equipment, you will need to pack other supplies when fishing with dogs.

These items should be found inside your dog’s travel bag:

  • Collar and leash – These two items will save you headaches and accidents throughout the whole trip.
  • Dog food – Feed your pooch during trip breaks.
  • Dog treats – Treats have two primary functions: to calm your frightened dog and to accompany your commands so that they’ll be more likely to obey you.
  • Drinking water – Ensure you have enough drinking water available for your furry companion, especially when you’re going out on a sunny morning. Contaminated freshwater and saltwater are dangerous for your dog’s health.
  • First aid kit – Make sure you have a stocked first aid kit inside your dog’s travel bag or your boat.
  • Poop bags – Pack plenty of poop bags and paper towels to clean up your dog’s poop on the shore or the boat. When dogs get scared or excited on the boat with you, they can release anal glands. Biodegradable dog wipes can reduce excessive sebum and odor, such as dog anal gland smell.
  • Sunscreen – No amount of fur can protect your pooch from sunburns. Dogs are also susceptible to the harmful effects of UV rays, so ensure to protect them with unscented sunscreen. Do not use human sunscreen, as they are potentially toxic to dogs.
  • Food and water bowls – Collapsible bowls are recommended for easy storage and transport.
  • Favorite toy – A toy is essential to keep your dog occupied during the trip.
  • Life jacket – While there are no regulations that require dogs to wear life jackets, it can help save a life since not all dogs can swim. If you think your four-legged companion is a great swimmer, unprecedented weather changes, high seas, or fatigue can cause drowning.

Here are some things to consider before buying your dog’s life jacket:

  • Lifting handles: These features make retrieving your pet from the water easier.
  • Comfort: Check if there are any buckles or straps that can cause your pet discomfort.
  • Fit: It’s recommended to have the life jacket fitted before you buy to ensure that it hugs your dog’s body properly and securely.
  • Color: Opt for a bright color to locate your dog easier in the water.

#2 Ensure a Safe road trip With Your Dog

Dog in Car
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

If you’re taking your dog to the waters, then it’s likely that you’ll have to traverse the road to get there. Consider the main things your pooch will need on a road trip: your dog’s favorite toy, some treats, a doggy seat belt, or a well-ventilated kennel. That’s right; dog seat belts are available to prevent your dog from getting hurt by hard brakes and other road accidents that may take place.

If you are traveling for hours, make sure to take a pee, food, and water breaks. You may be able to withstand hours of a road trip without breaks, but your dog will need some stretching to feel comfortable throughout the ride. Also, do not leave your dog unattended in your car, even with the windows partly open.

#3 Boating Tips For You and Your Dog

Dog on boat
Image by Lasse Gieskes from Pixabay

Now that you and your first furry mate have arrived at the destination, the first thing you should do is put your dog in its life jacket. As was previously mentioned, when fishing with dogs, a life jacket is essential for all dogs, regardless of their swimming skills.

The next thing you should do when fishing with dogs is to prevent your dog from drinking water from the sea or lake. Freshwater lakes contain dangerous organisms that can cause health complications. So, to prevent this from taking place, make sure your dog is hydrated before riding the boat.

Lastly, to keep your dog from going overboard, make sure always to keep them on a leash. If your boat has an outboard motor and your dog falls into the water, turn off the engine as soon as possible.

#4 Fishing Tips When Boating With Your Dog

Man Fishing With Dog
Image by Robson Machado from Pixabay

If fishing on a populated shore, consider putting your dog on a leash and attaching it to something sturdy, like a tree. This will keep your dog from getting wild in the waters and with strangers.

On the other hand, if you are fishing in a remote area with a highly obedient furry friend by your side, let the leash off and let them bask in a total fishing experience. You can strike a perfect balance between successful fishing and keeping an eye on your pet with a fish finder, a gadget that will help you make the best out of your fishing adventure.

Additionally, if you want to have a safe fishing trip, you should store your hooks, lures, and baits securely in your tackle box. Here are some additional precautionary steps you may want to take to secure a safe fishing trip with your dog:

  1. Don’t let your dog go near your lure or live bait. Properly dispose of unused equipment.
  2. Keep shiny lures away as they look like toys to a curious dog.
  3. When casting, make sure your dog is a few meters away from you.
  4. Don’t leave your pole unattended with bait or hook on it.
  5. For a seamless, relaxing fishing experience, use a high-quality spinning reel. It will also accompany your pole-bending action better and give you more time to be mindful of where your dog is.

#5 First-aid tips For Minor Dog Injuries

Dog at Vet
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Accidents are inevitable, but being aware of what to do once it arrives is the best solution. From paw injuries to swallowing a hook, your pup is susceptible to cuts and injuries that can lead to surgery, blindness, and worse.

If your dog accidentally steps on a hook, hold the paw off the ground immediately. Do not put pressure on the paw, as it can lead to further damage.

If your dog accidentally had a fish hook in its lip area and veterinary care is inaccessible, follow the following steps:

  1. Pat and restrain your dog to keep them calm. Use pliers to remove the hook from the lip.
  2. If you spot the barb on the hook, cut it off or squish it using pliers.
  3. Get out of the area and seek immediate help in a nearby veterinary clinic.

Final Thoughts On Boating & Fishing With Dogs

Boating and fishing with your four-legged best friend can get you hooked! Both activities bring so much excitement to both of you as you can enjoy nature, fresh air, the joy of getting your first catch, and cruising along the waters. Likewise, learning how to fish and hunt with dogs can be an enjoyable and enriching activity for both.

But to enjoy these activities, you must take extra steps to keep it safe for your furry friend. So, make sure to keep these reminders in mind before you head out on an offshore fishing or boating trip with dogs. Tight lines! 

About the Author

Dog Training, Hunting & Resources

Dog With Fish - Fishing With Dogs
Fishing with Dogs is Fun – Image by Robi-Quickborn from Pixabay
Outdoor Skillz

Kenneth Reeves

I have been a professional angler for the past 2 ½ decades, and spend every available moment on the water. With my team, we’ve built PerfectCaptain to become the #1 resource online on fishing equipment & tips.

View all posts by Kenneth Reeves →

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