Get your pup prepared for a day on the water.
By Trent Jonas
It’s nice to have company along when you’re heading out for a day or two of fishing, and is there any better companionship than your dog? While it can be a lot of fun to have your dog along while you fish, it takes a little extra planning to do so safely and in a way that won’t cut the trip short. Here are some things to do in order to ensure that both you and your dog enjoy your fishing adventure.
Before heading out to fish with your dog, you need to make sure that your pup is ready for the conditions. Is your dog comfortable around water? If you’re fishing from a vessel, has your dog ever been on a boat before? These are some things to consider ahead of time. In addition, you need to make sure that your dog obeys your commands and that he or she won’t do things like chase bait you throw into the water or chase fish that you release. Finally, check with your vet to see if there is anything to be concerned about, like contaminated water in the area where you’re fishing, before you go.
If you’re fishing from a boat, both you (of course) and your dog should wear a personal flotation device (PFD). When fishing from shore, you should consider whether your dog is a strong swimmer. If you’re lake fishing and your dog swims well, a PFD probably isn’t necessary. On the other hand, for dogs that don’t swim particularly well, or when fishing the banks of a large or swift river, a PFD, like Ruffwear’s Float Coat, may not be a bad idea for your dog.
Whether fishing from land or from a boat, you may want to consider a tether, like Kong’s lifeline for your dog. On a boat, a tether can help to ensure your pup doesn’t accidentally go overboard—especially when you’re underway. On land, a tether will prevent your dog from entering the water while you’re trying to fish, and in areas where there may be leash laws, keep you legal.
With your dog in the area, make sure that you’ve got all your fishing gear put away and stored. Be especially careful with hooks, or lures with hooks, bait, including artificials, and anything that may contain lead. Along these same lines, also make sure you know where your pup is any time you are casting, in order to prevent an accidental hooking.
When you head out fishing with your dog, make sure you pack plenty of snacks and/or dog food to keep him or her happy throughout the day. If you’re saltwater fishing, fishing an iffy water source, or just prefer that your pup doesn’t drink from lakes or streams, you’ll need to pack in water or, at minimum, a water filter. Whether you bring water or let your dog drink water from where you’re fishing, bring something for your pup to drink from, like Prima Pets’ collapsible silicone bowl, to ensure that your dog’s not ingesting anything but water and that nothing in the water is trying to ingest your dog.
Clearly, if you’re on a boat, you’ve got to figure out a way for your pup to go potty. Depending on your preference, you can pull up on land for breaks, put your pup in a doggy diaper, or designate a spot on the boat for your best friend’s business, and clean up. On shore, just make sure your dog is well away from the water when he or she goes to the bathroom. Whether on a boat or on shore, be sure to pack plenty of poop bags and be prepared to pack them out and dispose of them properly.