There’s really no beating a day out on the lake with your best furry friend by your side. But while your boat might have all the bells and whistles to keep your human guests comfortable and well-entertained, can you say the same for your pooch? Dogs need their own distinct accessories and necessities to keep comfy on board. So if you have yet to deck out your deck with the essentials for your canine companion, this list of the best boat accessories for dogs should steer you in the right direction.
1. Life Jacket
Safety should be your top priority for anyone hitching a ride on your boat. And while you might have a bunch of life jackets for your friends and family, are there any on-board for your pup? A reliable dog life jacket should be within reach at all time, offering comfortable performance to keep your pup safe especially if he likes cooling off in the water.
Our top choice is the Outward Hound Life Jacket.
2. Ladder or Ramp
It’s all fun and games until you can’t figure out how to get your dog back on deck. A dog boat ladder or dog boat boarding ramp gives your dog a safe place to step so he can climb back aboard your boat after swimming around in the water. Something stable that holds securely against your boat should provide safe footing so you’ll never have to wonder how to get dog on and off boat again.
One of our favorite ladders is the WaterDog Adventure Ladder!
3. No-Skid Dog Bowl
Things can get pretty rough out on the open water, so to make sure your dog’s food doesn’t make a mess when you’re underway, a reliable, non-skid feeder should be a priority. If you’ve already got a set of bowls that you like, you might want to consider a non-skid tray instead to prevent them from slipping and sliding as your pontoon bobs in the water.
4. Tinkle Turf
Unless you’re willing to keep on cleaning up after your dog wherever he feels it best to relieve himself, then a piece of tinkle turf should be a necessity. This faux grass patch gives your pooch a designated area for peeing or pooping, making it easier to clean up the mess. A tray underneath catches whatever your dog puts out and contains it for easy maintenance and a clean pontoon.
5. Non-Slip Shoes
The smooth floors on your pontoon can make it almost impossible for a pup to get the right footing. As your boat moves on the ebbing water, your dog’s slippery paws and nails will make it almost impossible to stand without losing his grip. A set of non-slip shoes won’t only make it possible for him to move around without a fuss, they should also protect your pontoon floors from scratches.
We love the PUPWE Dog Booties.
6. Floating Toys
The open water provides endless possibilities if you’re keen on clocking in a few fun hours with your pooch. But your average everyday toys might not be cut out for the job. Durable amphibious toys that can take a beating perform best on the water. These toys should be designed to float so you won’t have to worry about losing them in the depths.
You might also want to consider how durable they are, since constant exposure to water and excited chewing might mean that regular, everyday toys won’t be able to stand up to the challenge.
7. Cooling Essentials
Things can get pretty hot on a boat, so it's important to keep your dog cool on deck. There are a range of cooling accessories that you should have at the ready. Aside from a cooling gel mat for your pup to lie on, you might want to consider having a spray bottle or misting fan in handy so you can spritz him off with a cool mist when it gets a little too hot. A cooling vest can also work to prevent your pup’s body temperature from getting out of hand.
8. Skin Protection
Even with that thick coat, your dog isn’t immune to the scorching, skin-damaging heat of the sun. Spraying sunscreen that’s formulated specifically for pets can help reduce the risk of sun damage to his delicate skin. But because every dog reacts differently to new products, you should make sure to see how he takes to it before you use it on your trip. Apply a small amount to a patch of skin and watch out for any reactions. If the sunscreen doesn’t cause any irritation, then it should be fine to use.
9. Calming Solution
So maybe you’ve got a nervous pup on your hands. That’s only normal if he’s not too used to the water just yet. But because a dog in panic might easily become a dog in danger if you’re on a boat, then it should help to have a calming solution at the ready. Stress relief drops or supplements can come in particularly handy when your dog doesn’t feel too at ease while you’re underway. Just like the sunscreen, make sure you give it a try before your big boating day to find out how your pup takes to the formulation.
10. Trash Can
Your dog is going to make a mess, that’s just what pet ownership is all about. And while you might already be used to cleaning up after him, trash management is different on a boat. A pet-proof trashcan that neutralizes odors should be an essential especially if you’re keen on proper waste management. This should help you keep all the nasty stuff effectively contained while you find a proper place to throw it all once you reach the shore. While you’re at it, you might also want to consider bringing a pack of dog poop bags to pick up after your pooch.
11. Deodorizing Spray
No one wants their boat to smell like a wet dog, and that’s where a deodorizer spray comes in handy. These solutions come in a variety of formulations and they can work on all sorts of surfaces. If you’ve got sensitive kids on board, then you might also want to consider an all-natural, organic formula to minimize the risk of skin irritation. Make sure you read the directions and indications to make sure the formulation you’ve purchased won’t damage the different surfaces on your boat.
12. Rugged Dog Leash
Keeping your pooch reliably tethered to your boat can help prevent him from going overboard especially when it’s not time to wade in the water just yet. Regardless of your dog’s size, you’re going to want something that can keep all of that weight safely on the boat without risk of breaking or fraying. A heavy duty, rugged dog leash that can survive extended exposure to the elements should help keep your dog safe on the boat at all times.
We recommend the ladoogo Heavy Duty dog leash.
13. Dog Harness
What’s a leash without a harness? When you’re out on the water, a harness will serve as an easy way to pull your dog back on board in case he manages to jump off. A boating dog collar is typically discouraged because of the potential choking hazard that they pose. A durable harness with hooks and attachments that you can use to connect a leash and pull your dog where he needs to be can be a great way to maintain a sense of safety.
Check out the ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness.
14. Treats and Snacks
You’re going to want to keep some healthy treats and snacks for your dog on board. Something quick and easy to eat should be perfect for boating, letting you reward good behavior to extend your pup’s learning and training out to the open water. Delicious, healthy treats that come in resealable bags should be ideal for a day of boating. If you’re set on stocking up, then treats in a tub might be a better choice to extend your supply.
15. Dog Bed
Your dog will want to relax and unwind on your boat, just like you. So it helps to make sure he’s got a comfortable place to rest after a day of fun in the sun. A proper dog bed for boat use that’s intended to survive exposure to heat and moisture can perform much better in the demanding conditions on a boat. You might also want to consider a portable cot that’s ideal for keeping your pooch cool and for allowing compact performance for onshore use.
Dog-Ready Pontoon with the Best Boat Accessories for Dogs
There’s really nothing like having your pup on board while you explore the open water. But before you get him to hitch a ride on your pontoon, you best make sure it’s ready to accommodate him with the right dog boat accessories. All of these boat accessories for dogs won’t only make the entire boating experience more enjoyable for your pup, but they should also help ease the process of cleaning up and maintaining your boat with a dog on-board. So make sure you shop around and buy the essentials before your next trip to guarantee seamless fun under the sun for you and your furry friend.