There’s nothing like spending a day on the boat with your friends, and that includes the furry kind, but before you take Fido on the water, here are a few things to think about so your day runs smoothly and your outing truly is relaxing.

Swimming: This might seem silly but don’t assume your dog can swim. Not all dogs can and some dogs seriously hate the water. Consider taking Fido to a lake before hand and testing his water aptitude. Then you know when he hits the water if he’s going to sink or paddle.

Doggy life vest. These things are nifty as all get out. Not only will they help your best friend stay afloat when he gets tired, but they come with a handle on the top to help you haul him back into the boat. When a dog’s sopping wet, that handle’s a genius invention.

Time. Particularly if Fido’s never been on a boat before, plan some extra time to familiarize him with the feel of the boat. That way, when the boat rocks, you don’t have a terrified, oversized (and usually destructive) puppy on your hands.

Water: Not the kind you’re swimming in but the kind you drink. Bring lots of it. This helps keep your friend from heat stroke. Along with this, find a shady spot for Fido to hang out. Seasickness can make a dog vomit, but it’s also a sign of heat stroke, so plan ahead to avoid it.

Supervision: Remember, dogs don’t know how to tread water, so if Fido’s swimming, he’s swimming full time and will tire, probably faster than you. Keep an eye on him. Like having a small child, you wouldn’t leave the child alone, don’t leave Fido alone.

Here are a few sites that offer more tips on taking your dog boating with you. The Outdoor Channel and the Pet Health Network. If you have any suggestions of your own, we’d love to hear them. =)

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