Boats & Pups Afloat: Tips for Summertime Fun on the Water

There’s just something about being on the water with the warm breeze in your fur that makes life truly worth living, you know? My family loves Catawba, so much that we go every year when the weather breaks! In case you’re doing some water activities like boating or visiting those salt-water seasides to stuff sand into those plastic castle molds hoping the water doesn’t roll up and knock it all down, I’m here to share our family’s favorite ways to float on through summer.

You’ll be packing the beach toys and extra towels, but don’t forget to pack extra fresh water for your dog too! Encourage him to drink your water, not out of the lake or sea because even freshwater lakes can be contaminated with harmful organisms and not safe to drink—for humans or dogs.

A dog’s first time on the boat can be scary, so prepare for their first trip ahead of time. If possible, let your dog get used to his surroundings while the boat is on a trailer or at the dock. Before you shove off, your family should also create a gameplan in case your dog goes overboard. In the event that they do, designate who will shut off the engine, who keeps lookout, etc. to make sure your dog stays safe!

When we’re out and about in the sun on boat trips or lounging on the beach, it’s second nature to us to use sunscreen. Many shorthaired mutts can get sunburned just as easily as their humans can! Even a light SPF-15 sunscreen can protect them from harmful rays… just make sure you pick up a neutrally scented formula so it doesn’t irritate your dog.

Bonus Tip: Doggy Buoyancy
Ah, the doggy paddle; the one swimming move we all know and love! Sometimes our legs get tired—yes, all four of them!—and we may panic a little if we’re in deep water. Humans have our backs though, because they understand the importance of a stylish life jacket. Doggy life jackets give us extra buoyancy to help our bodies stay afloat. Avoid some potentially scary situations like my human does and make sure to remind your best bud to pack your life jacket before you all head out on your next boating or swimming excursion. Better safe than sorry as I always say!


Hogan, ShednPooper’s go-to mutt advocate, offers a wealth of canine facts, tips and resources that strengthen the bond between people and their mutts.