Pets on a Houseboat

January 2020 Live Jane Willow Web Exclusive

Pets are the best! With approximately 44% of all households in the United States owning a dog and 35% of householders being owned by a cat… most people would agree with that last statement because cats are the ones in charge. People who want to live on a houseboat often ask if houseboat owners usually have pets onboard.

The short answer? Yes!

Happiness is coming home to your pet

‘This home is filled with kisses, wagging tails, wet noses and love’ is a saying that can be tweaked slightly to encompass any pet. For most people the pet is the favorite member of the family. Studies show that having pets in your life has been found to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve physical activity. Being separated from a family pet can cause anxiety for the owner, and as most owners know separation anxiety can be very real for pets as well—especially dogs.

Having a pet on a houseboat will not only add to your quality of life, but it could also enhance the wellbeing of your pet. Once they see how calm and optimistic you are they will react in a similar way to their new surroundings.

Minimizing the risk

The fact is that dogs can swim and most dogs even love the water. However, when your pet is on the water it’s essential that you equip your dog with it’s own PFD (pet floatation device). Not all dogs' swimming abilities were created equal and as well as addressing any deficiency in a dog’s buoyancy they double as excellent ways to pull or remove a dog from the water. BoatUS magazine conducted extensive research into the device and concluded that the life jackets would be valuable in helping rescue an animal, especially when needing to reboard a boat. PFDs can also be obtained for other pets such as cats and some other animals.

Pulling up anchor

Pets adjust very well to living on water and its pretty easy for you to help them make the adjustments, like getting them a non-slip, non-spill bowl for drinking and eating. If your bed is higher on your boat you may want to consider getting creative with some foldaway steps to help your pet. Dog owners must also consider the breed of dog and check the location where you plan to dock. Some breeds may be banned if they are not neutered, microchipped, insured, muzzled or leashed. Don’t forget to check out the legislation on dogsbite before your arrival.

However you decide to modify your houseboat to accommodate your pet, you can be confident that pets do adjust well to living on the water. If you make preparations and ensure their safety, having a pet on a houseboat need not cause you anxiety. In fact, it’ll help relieve any anxiety you already have!

Note: Be sure to keep a lookout for pet food recalls. Cat food recalls happy more often than you think and can be serious. For more information, check out this article from Catological.

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