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For those who enjoy boating, even in the colder winter months, the idea of bringing best friends out on the boat is extremely attractive, especially if some of the best friends happen to have four legs and a tail. Dallas Winter Boat Expo shares the following tips to help keep pets safe and happy while out on the water:


  • Keep plenty of fresh drinking water available, even in cooler temperatures
  • Walk your dog to make sure he does his business before boarding. Walk your dog so he can relieve himself before boarding; if the boat surface allows, you may wish to train him to go in a specific spot
  • Provide a shaded area—excessive exposure to the sun, even in winter months, can cause problems for animals.
  • Have your dog practice wearing and swimming in the life jacket before the big outing
  • Give your dog a chance to get familiar with the boat before you take off
  • If fishing, keep lures, bait and hooks safely stored and out of reach from your dog
  • Keep your first outing short so your dog can get used to the boat’s movement
  • Don’t forget the treats and toys. This will help you understand that the boat is a safe place.

Dog life jackets

The truth is not all dogs can swim and those that can aren’t all great swimmers. Additionally, water or weather conditions can cause problems, even for a pet that is typically a strong swimmer.

Any dog can get fatigued or disoriented and older dogs, especially, can tire easily. Pets with low body fat can have trouble when exposed to water for long periods. Health issues, such as hip or joint problems, can also make swimming difficult for some pets.

While there are no regulations regarding life jackets for pets, a dog life jacket can help keep your pet safe while aboard your boat or around any body of water.

Pet life jackets are designed to keep the animal afloat in a horizontal, swimming position. The pet life jacket also serves as a retrieval device, should your pet fall overboard.

How do you choose a life jacket for Fido? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Fit—Make sure the life jacket fits securely. It’s best to check the fit in the store, before you buy.
  • Lifting handles—to make retrieving your pet safer and easier.
  • Comfort—check to see where straps and buckles fall to make sure they won’t cause your pet any discomfort.
  • Color—choose a bright color to make it easier to spot your dog in the water.

Caution and common sense are always a pet’s best friend. Dog life jackets are available for purchase at this year’s Dallas Winter Boat Expo.

The Dallas Winter Boat Expo, presented by the United Boat Dealers of North Texas, will be at Dallas Market Hall February 1-3 & 7-10, 2019. For more information about the DFW Boat Expo, go to; Connect on Facebook–; and Twitter – @dfwboatexpo.