For many sea-loving folks, houseboats are a great alternative to the traditional method of living on the water. Houseboats are less expensive than your average house, provide greater freedom to travel, and plenty of activities.
But when you're living with a senior dog, you may be wondering how you can keep your furry friend safe while setting sail. The good news is you can not only train your dog to be a boat dog but you can also make your houseboat senior-friendly for everyone onboard.
Here are a few simple safety tips you can use for your senior dog while living in your new houseboat.
- Provide non-slip flooring around your houseboat. As your dog gets older, they begin to lose their grip on the bottom of their paws. This makes walking on surfaces such as hardwood floors or the slick surface of a boat dangerous for your dog. The equivalent for us would be walking on ice. That said, be sure that you have non-slip flooring around your houseboat and plenty of carpeted areas, too. You want to be sure your dog can easily get around without worrying about them slipping and falling.
- Teach your dog how to swim. Despite the saying, an old dog can learn new tricks. It's important that your dog is capable of staying afloat and climbing out of the water if they fall into the water or jump in. You can teach your dog to swim in a swimming pool on your own or with a trained professional. Consider investing in a dog life vest while your dog learns to swim. You can use this vest later on during the first few weeks that your dog is living on the houseboat.
- Give your dog a quality bed. Your dog needs a comfortable place to rest, especially on a houseboat. High-quality orthopedic beds are a great way to give your dog the rest they need. Senior dogs often struggle with joint issues and vision problems, which can make tall beds or beds that are difficult to find a problem for them. Provide them with bedding that's easily accessible and doesn't require them to jump.
- Give your dog their own potty spot on your houseboat. When you live on a houseboat, it can be inconvenient to take your dog out on long walks several times throughout the day. But senior dogs aren't capable of holding their bladder like they used to. To keep your dog from having an accident and to keep from having to invest in walking your dog more times than you can count, consider giving your dog their own potty spot in your houseboat. Many houseboat owners have trained their dogs to use the bathroom on Astroturf or a piece of carpet somewhere along the deck. You can potty train your dog this way the same way you potty trained them while they were a puppy. Just don't be surprised if they don't go in the right spot the first few times.
The transition from traditional home living to living on a houseboat can be tricky, but it's rewarding. By following the tips above, you can ensure your senior dog not only loves their new home but is safe while they're there.