Houseboat Dogs

September 2018 Multimedia Jane Willow Web Exclusive


As a nation of dog lovers, with 89.7 million dogs owned in the USA, buying or adopting a dog can seem like a good idea to complete your family. Having a pooch on a boat can present some difficulties, but these can all be overcome with a bit of thought and planning.

Most dogs will easily adapt to their environment and many will love the smells and new people and places that come with living on a boat, making them the perfect companion for land and sea.

Is It Safe For Dogs To Live On Boats?

Smaller dogs are usually better suited to living on a boat as they can be carried when needed, so you can get them safely on and off the boat, which avoids them potentially falling overboard. When your dog is on the deck they should be hooked up by a lead and harness for their own safety. Collars can damage their necks if they start to slide on the boat so they should be avoided.

The deck can also get hot making it important to regularly check the temperature, so your dog’s paws don’t burn. You should also carry a doggy life jacket in case they fall overboard, making it easier to rescue them. You should have a plan in place in case this happens.

Getting Enough Exercise

A dog that doesn’t get enough exercise can quickly become bored, destructive and overweight, leading to health problems. Being able to exercise your dog on a boat is possible but does have its limitations.

When conditions are calm your dog can have free reign of the boat and decks, but when water is rougher your dog should be clipped in. It’s likely that when you and your dog are underway that you’ll both be exhausted, so your dog will be happy to go without. Whenever you stop, your dog can go for a swim and run on beaches, with the sand making for a good workout.

Of course, you can also take your dog for a walk when you’re near land. Providing plenty of toys will also keep your dog moving and avoid boredom. Tug-of-war is particularly good for the smaller spaces that a boat offers but gets the dog’s whole body moving.

Dog-Friendly Beaches Around The World

One of the best parts of living on a boat is the freedom to travel to new locations and visit amazing beaches. The UK has many dog-friendly beaches, particularly Devon, Brighton and Cornwall. These have the sort of beaches that are ideal for your dog to run along, giving them lots of space to stretch their legs. There are also many mooring locations and places for you and your dog to explore, such as the countryside and views of the coastline.

Your next destination could be Le Touqet in France which boasts a seven kilometer sandy beach. There are many dog friendly cafes and restaurants nearby, making this a perfect stop. Stopping at dog-friendly beaches is an easy way to make sure your dog gets enough exercise in between travelling and gives them the chance to explore, offering mental stimulation too.

Having a furry best friend aboard does require some thought and time training them and making them safe and happy. They are wonderful companions and many people who live on houseboats wouldn’t be without their dogs. With a bit of planning you can safely travel to most places on your houseboat and take your dog with you.

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