All paws on deck!
Dog-friendly boat trips are fast becoming one of the most popular travel trends for dog owners this summer and with more and more dog-friendly boating packages available; from luxury premier boats to canal cruises for the whole pack, there’s never been a better time to take to the waters with your furry plus one.
Before you set sail, there are a few things we pet parents should know to ensure our pups have the most fabulous time. From items you should pack to planning your route, here’s our mini-guide for your next dog-friendly boating holiday.
Why take your dog on a boating holiday?
A wonderful nautical adventure
Boating holidays allow you to view our beautiful surroundings from a totally new perspective. Taking you through totally unique routes and waterways, you’ll be able to explore some of the most picturesque canal paths, mooring at dreamy waterside inns and charming villages en route. You and your furry shipmate can hop off to take scenic strolls through the local countryside and explore the stunning sights that surround you; and what’s more, you’ll be able to discover something new every day!
Peace and tranquillity
Avoiding all the traffic and the noise, boating offers peace and tranquillity like no other. The only sounds you’ll hear will be the soothing noise of the boat gliding through the water, the quiet rippling of the parting waves around you, and the blissful birdsong of the wildlife nestled in the neighbouring trees.
The perfect way to unwind
A dog-friendly boating holiday offers you the chance to slow down and take things at a much steadier pace. You and your hound will be able to escape the hustle and bustle and stresses of modern-day life, and take a moment to appreciate friends, family and the wonderful world around you. It’s no surprise fellow travellers say boating trips are some of the most stress-free holidays they’ve ever been on!
You don’t have to leave your pup behind!
The beauty of boating with your dog is that you can take them on holiday with you! Forget all about expensive kennels and the separation anxiety of leaving your four-legged friend – this way, you’ll get to enjoy that much-needed getaway together!
Tips for boating with your dog
Get your dog comfortable with the boat
Before you leave the dock and set off on your doggy boat trip, you need to ensure your hound is used to its new nautical surroundings. If it’s your dog’s first time on a boat, it’s especially important to let them explore and have a sniff around.
Whilst on the lead, walk them all over the boat so they get familiar with the environment. It’s always a good idea to take them out on a short test trip first to introduce them to boating and see how they behave. Don’t be put off if your pup is a little nervous at first – it might take some time for them to acclimatise, but with a slow and gentle approach, your dog may become a boat lover over time!
Pack essential supplies
To ensure your furry friend has the best possible time on your boat trip, you’ll need to bring a few things with you, including:
- A lead – always bring a lead with you when you’re on a boat. If you need to control your pup, have an unplanned stop or even encounter fellow boaters with dogs, your dog will be better off on a lead.
- Fresh water – it’s important to keep your hound hydrated throughout your trip. Bring plenty of fresh water with you for them to sip, especially if it’s a hot day.
- Sunscreen – believe it or not, dogs can get sunburnt, too! Get your paws on a dog-friendly sunscreen or balm to help protect your dog’s nose. Lightly apply it to areas where the fur is thin, like the belly, around the armpits, or on the nose and ears.
- Toys – if you’re planning on going on a long trip, you may want to bring your dog’s favourite toy to keep them occupied whilst up on deck. Things like kong balls, rope toys or bones are good. You might want to take your pup’s blanket too, just to help them feel a little more at ease on the water.
- A first aid kit – to be extra safe, you should take things like bandages, insect repellent, antibacterial ointment, any medication/medical documents your dog needs, emergency phone numbers, and the Pawsquad App!
- Waste bags – for when the unavoidable happens!
Put them in a doggy life jacket
Even if your hound is a strong swimmer, it’s still important for them to wear a life jacket on your trip. When it comes to getting a doggy life jacket, you’ll need to make sure you get the right one for your pooch. No one size fits all, as there are various different sizes and buoyancy. It’s advised to get one that is brightly coloured, so you can easily spot your dog, and with handles, so you can lift your paddling pup out of the water.
To ensure it’s the perfect fit for your dog, try it on at home first. This will also help them get used to wearing one. You may even want to take them out for a walk or a quick run around in the garden to help them acclimatise to the life jacket.
Before taking your pup on a boat, it’s a good idea to test out the jacket in shallower waters. If it keeps your dog’s head above water and gives them room to manoeuvre around, it’s good to go.
Pets at Home offer some really great doggy life jackets – check them out here!
Give your dog access to shade & water
If you’re cruising down the river on a hot summer’s day, it’s essential to make sure your dog has a shady spot where they can relax and escape the sun. Without shade, your hound could overheat and potentially get heatstroke.
Whilst it’s perfectly okay to let your canine companion put their paws up and sunbathe for a while, they shouldn’t be kept in the sun all day. Make space for them below deck, under an awning, or even beneath a console or seat – anywhere that’s shaded from the sun.
You should also give your dog a bowl of fresh water to drink whilst you’re on board. This will not only help to cool them down, but it will also prevent them from getting dehydrated. Bring plenty with you for top-ups, and never let your dog drink from the water surrounding the boat as it could potentially make your dog sick.
Plan for comfort breaks
If you’re out riding the waves all day, you’ll of course need to factor in toilet breaks for your pup. Whilst you could use puppy pads to let your dog do their business, most dogs won’t feel comfortable doing so until they’re on land.
That said, you’ll need to think about your route and plot appropriate places to stop off for a toilet break. You’ll know how often your dog goes, so plan for a few pit stops when mapping out your trip.
Book your next dog-friendly boating holiday!
Are you ready to set sail with your canine companion, embrace the quiet life and explore the world from a whole new perspective? Perfect for family, friends and furry plus ones, our luxury pet-friendly boating holidays will allow you to kick back, relax, and enjoy the most spectacular scenery drift by.
Take a sniff around our hound picked selection of dog-friendly boating trips from a variety of different starting locations throughout the UK, Ireland and France.