4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog!

We sail.  Yep … right now it’s a small 26 footer on the Ottawa River.  But we have BIG plans! In 2015 we hope to sail around the Mediterranean hopefully on a 40-50 footer.  It is my bipeds dream to own a Beneteau one day … perhaps sail the Caribbean with is as well.  A dream they are hell bent on making come true.

4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog

On our sailboat!

So, they started.  First the licenses were needed, that meant tests and learning how etc.  and now it is all about practice on the slightly calmer waters of a river.  Soon we will do a test run – we hope to sail from Croatia into Venice in 2014.   The roles and responsibilities have been divvied up to plan for the big trip.  With one biped reading books like “the Salty Dog” to get all the information needed for my part in this voyage.  Oh yes folks I shall do 22 countries in one single year!

We are not there yet… but I can already tell you about sailing on the great rivers and lakes of the north.

4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog

Sling bag becomes my hammock! Like a real sailor!

1. Extreme Temperatures: In Canada we live in a country of extremes.  That includes our weather. The first thing to remember is that heat and cold will likely be the greatest issues you will have to deal with regarding your canine companion. For this my bipeds have invested in some tops for the cold and a great cooling mat for the heat.  The cooling pad is vital especially on a smaller boat where there is no fridge and no ice and nothing designed to cool.

4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog

It’s not always sunset and cooling down!

First time we knew we needed something was when mom had to think fast as I couldn’t bring my temperature down one hot summer afternoon.  I was fading, breathing wrong and it was getting dangerous.   The bipeds had the smart idea of grabbing a t-shirt, and placing it on top of ice packs inside the cooler and placed me on top.  Within a minute I was fine and curled up on the cool t-shirt and dozed off.  That was when the cooling pad became a priority purchase.

4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog

Staying cool in the shade!


2. Safety
: The differences between sailing and motorboats are many but I will only go into the ones that affect us canines.  The most obvious one is that sailboats tilt … constantly.  On a river even more so than a lake because you have to “tack” (go side to side in order to move up or down the river with the wind in the sails).  Our sailboat has been known to tilt up to 35 degrees. That can be dangerous for a dog!  In our case that means possible canine overboard! So what do you do? Besides the obvious options of either keeping the dog tethered (check) and with a life vest (check) the question also can become one of comfort.  It is exhausting to always be re-adjusting the position to stay horizontal!  My bipeds found a simple solution.  They have attached my sling bag, to the handle of the hatch and I swing like in a hammock.  I am out of the way of feet and ropes, I am always horizontal as the boat tilts and I do not and I am harnessed in – tethered for safety.  I have been known to snooze for a long time this way being rocked like in a cradle by the sailboat.

4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog

Keep that lead tight and short!

3. Bathroom:  It is the one thing we get asked the most.  “where does he go?”.  Those of you that know me know that I am indoor potty trained.  I use the mini pup-head (20”x20”).

Pup-Head™ “the Original Portable Indoor Dog Potty” with Pup-Grass™ is like a patch of grass for your dog to potty on. It is a simple system that is easy to clean and easy to travel with, but most important, it works with a dog’s natural instinct to go potty… The Pup-Head family of potty products for dogs comes in three sizes from Mini to Large. They are the only dog and pup potties made with Pup-Grass™ Synthetic Grass Built for dogs with instant drainage and antimicrobials. Pup-Grass™ is a natural feeling, synthetic grass that is pre-scented with our special patent-pending organic scent. Your dog will be attracted to use the indoor portable dog potty almost immediately. Includes a three piece system that includes a heavy duty yet light weight tray and scented Pup-Grass™ potty mat.

Pup-Head™ Portable Indoor Dog Potty got its name because we designed it for people who take their dogs on boats and needed a place for their pup to go potty. It is also a perfect solution for apartments, high-rise buildings, boats, or recreational vehicles and great during bad weather. Perfect for pet owners with busy or unpredictable schedules, dog owners with disabilities and seniors. Anyone who needs a convenient place for his or her dog to go potty.

Headbathroom or latrine, a nautical term from the days of sailing ships when the designated place to relieve ones bladder or bowels was forward, at the bow or “head” of the ship. (From their site .)

Ours is often kept on the deck and I just go when I need.  If the weather is a little extra windy (a good thing when sailing but not for keeping things above deck) they move the pup head indoors next to their own toilet.  I just ask to go and Dad makes sure not to tilt the boat while I do my business. It works perfectly.

4. Food and Water:  I have already talked about water.  I have my little rubber bowl and share the biped’s water supply.  As for food – I eat whatever the bipeds are having.  We usually barbeque something tasty to eat.  It’s such fun since our condo does not allow a BBQ for security reasons on the balconies.  I do have a small bag of treats onboard and a toy, but I am far more interested in being in the biped’s arms or sleeping in my sling – with or without cooling pad.

4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog

rash guard, life vest and goggles? I am NOT wearing all this!

In review: Sailing with a dog has been going on for centuries.  From rat chasing working dogs to large hunting beasts and small leisure pets keeping the ladies company… dogs and boats of all sorts have a shared history.  Now … if only the cruise lines would remember this noble past. *sigh*

9 Comments on “4 Tips on Sailing With a Dog!

  1. Great information that I can use in a number of different traveling situations. Would you recommend the cooling pad you purchased? If so,could you provide the name? Thank you!

    • We got this particular cooling pad from a supplier called GW Little – we like them because they test the product before they offer it on their site. We have no complaints. Also good for cats! We like the fact that you do not need to get sloppy with water and so on. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you share this with your friends!

  2. Thank you for… even more information! I have gathered So many great tips from reading your blogs (e.g., sling, sleepypod) and all have been useful in one way or another. I hadn’t considered the cooling pad… simply because we’ve not been in circumstances where it was needed – YET!

    Wonderful information and wonderful blog.. thanks Monte!

    (huggles from Paco)

    • Louise and Paco you are both MOST welcome and I am glad that you find this useful! It feels good to know that someone is reading all this and gets something out of it. Thank you for letting me know! Paco buddy I hope your knee situation works out.

  3. Thanks for some great information! We also face temperature extremes while traveling with Wrigley, so will definitely look into a cooling pad. One question — how cool does the pad get? Is it something you can sit/lie on for an extended period of time? I ask because when we travel to the Bahamas, the last leg is a 1-hr flight and a 1/2 hr taxi ride, and both tend to be very hot and humid. We were thinking we might put a cooling pad in Wrigley’s travel carrier for this last leg of the trip.

    • It is designed to be sat on for a long time so the cold is not a freezing cold – more like a nice cool marble floor tile … in the shade! Would be perfect for what you describe. We like this one because there is no water mess. It is a gel and is contained so easier for transportation and set-up. Thanks for the good question!!

  4. I know its been a while since this post. We are trying to travel with our miniature dachshund and the sling looks like a great idea. Could you tell me who makes it and where I might get it from?
    Thanks
    Steve

  5. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

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