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Worry-Free Sailing with Your Pets

Are you planning to sail with your furry friends? Here are a few tips to make them comfortable and ensure a prepared and easy journey for both of you.

For sailors who want to bring along their furry friends to enjoy the views, the Log has a few suggestions for getting your pets accustomed to the sailing life.

Firstly, wearing life jackets on land before going on the water and bringing a generous supply of water, especially for days when it’s hot and sunny, are two valuable tips. We prefer the life vests that secure tightly around the waist and neck and those with handles on top to make it easier to retrieve your pet in an overboard situation. Also, when looking for a place ashore for your pets to use the bathroom, confirm you are on public property to avoid any trouble, and as always, keep an eye on them and don’t let them wander.

Before welcoming your dogs on board, you must ensure you have many safety features in place. However, your safety preparation should not end with flotation devices. A sea fence around the entire boat perimeter adds extra security, safety, and peace of mind if your furry friend leaves your eye site. While having a well-practiced pet-overboard procedure is important, it’s even more important to do everything possible to avoid the overboard situation altogether. Some sea fences can handle an impact of up to 750 pounds, so it also protects humans and equipment from sliding overboard.

A heavy-duty harness with tethering lines is also recommended to restrict your pet’s movement under challenging situations. But, most importantly, if conditions are incredibly rough, secure them in the main cabin in a barricaded spot to ensure their safety and to allow you to focus on safely sailing your ship.

Each country has its own unique set of requirements for pet entry. Some places require quarantine periods, and some do not allow dog entry at all. The worst scenario would be entering a country and having your dog placed in quarantine. We advise you to do heavy research before you set sail.

There are three main requirements for dog entry by boat when entering just about any country:

  1. Health certificate. This must be approved by a licensed veterinarian and have an official health department signature and seal.
  2. International microchip
  3. Rabies vaccination after the microchip has been implanted.

Some countries also require the following:

  1. Rabies titer
  2. Flea and tick treatment
  3. Heartworm treatment
  4. De-worming treatment

It is required to obtain a Pet Passport in Europe and some other countries.

We also advocate for preparing for pets’ medical needs. If you’re spending multiple days on the water that will land you at a different destination than where you started, consider researching vets around the area in case anything happens before, during, or after your journey.

We recommend allowing at least four to six weeks before departing to secure the proper permits from foreign countries or territories to bring your pet.

When in doubt, remember:

Documentation: Cruising internationally? Look into the regulations about bringing in a pet in the various countries along your route. Be sure to have a clean bill of health plus all immunizations from your pet’s current veterinarian.

Provisioning: If your pet has a particular food preference or special dietary needs, consider stocking up because finding the right food on your journey might be difficult.

Gear: While pets don’t need a lot of specialized equipment to enjoy the cruising life, bowls and a bed that doesn’t slide will undoubtedly be appreciated. And remember a life jacket.

First Aid:

  • Know some basic pet first aid.
  • Have your vet’s number on hand.
  • Have a supply of any medications.

Lastly, establishing a routine for your pet while living on a boat is ideal. This doesn’t only apply to the potty routine. It also applies to how the animal eats and gets exercise. It’s okay, even appropriate, for the routine to change slightly depending on the situation.

While at sea, for example, the dogs get less exercise, so they do not need as many calories, so you can feed them less than you do when you are in port or at anchorage. Also, studies show that dogs don’t have a concept of time, but they do have an idea of order, so try to establish an order of routine even if the feeding or the walking doesn’t happen simultaneously every day.

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