Boating with dogs is one of the most fun ways to spend time with them, especially during the summer months. In order to enjoy it safely, there are several things you should consider before cruising out into the open water. One of the top ways to stay safe when boating with your dog is to get them a lifejacket of their own before going out on your boat day. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, they are still prone to exhaustion, overheating, drowning, or hypothermia if the water conditions are cold.

Having a lifejacket for your dog to wear while they swim around makes the experience more enjoyable and safer for everyone.

Things to Consider when Purchasing a Lifejacket for your Dog

Check the fit.

If you’re purchasing a brand new lifejacket, check the fit on your dog in the store before purchasing. If you’re borrowing a lifejacket, be sure that it fits before going out on the water. While it’s nice to borrow instead of investing in a new lifejacket, don’t settle for a borrowed, ill-fitting lifejacket just to save money. This could be a tragic mistake.

It’s also important to make sure that the lifejacket is comfortable for your dog. While they can’t tell you how they feel make sure that they can paddle around in the water, that no buckles are pinching their skin or straps are too tight and rubbing them. Check for clear signs of discomfort in your dog when they are wearing the lifejacket before buying.

Color and reflective features

Don’t get a sleek dark lifejacket that blends into the water. Bright colors like orange, red, and yellow will be easy to spot, and reflective features will make it easier to see your dog in the water if a serious situation arises.

Grip handles

This will make it easier to lift your dog back into the boat or pull them closer to you if they start to drift too far from you. Make sure the handles are strong enough to hold your dog and the harness design won't hurt them if you lift them up with them.

While there are many brands and price points to check out, you can ultimately find the perfect lifejacket for your pooch within a reasonable budget. Chewy and Ruffwear all offer a variety of lifejacket sizes and styles to check out. Even L.L. Bean offers a range of boating gear for dogs.


Other Accessories and Gadgets for Boating with your Dog

There are many products you can consider investing in for the ultimate boat day with your dog. If you go boating with your dog often, consider these items to make it easier and safer to enjoy time with your best friend on the water.

Does your dog struggle to get back on the boat after swimming? Doggy docks and floating ramps can help them get back on board with ease. Check out DoggyDocks to see if their ramps would work for your boat.

Worried that your pup swims too far from the boat? Dog tether systems can keep them within a reasonable distance to make them easy to retrieve in the water. They can attach to their lifejacket and prevent them from swimming too far away. Ruffwear has some great harnesses and tether systems to choose from.

Don’t let your doggo get thirsty! A portable dog bowl is essential to bring with you on your boat rental or charter. Make sure your pooch is drinking water and staying hydrated, especially if it’s a hot day. You don’t want them to get sick from drinking salt water or contaminated freshwater. Yeti makes a great line of portable dog bowls, as well as coolers for human drinks too.

Another item to consider bringing with you (especially if you’re boating all day) is a portable potty spot. This is a designated patch of fake grass for your pooch to relieve themselves on, perfect to avoid any accidents on the boat.

And always, if your plan is to rent a boat and bring your dog with you, be sure to check with the captain or owner about their pet rules and policies first before confirming your booking. While many boat captains and owners are more than happy to let you bring your dog with you, it's crucial to check first to prevent any confusion or issues on your boat day.