How Do You Transport A Large Dog To A Boat? 10 Tips

Do you owe a heavy pet dog wondering about easy affordable ways on How do you transport a large dog to a boat? Well, there goes a lot of planning while you are about to travel. And when the travel is accompanied by your pet dog, the struggle for right planning multiples by two.

Be it a flight, car, or boat, traveling with a dog isn’t always a fun task. Since the process of traveling is quite alien and uncommon for pets, your dog might experience several discomforts. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take them on board.

Taking your dog on a trip, especially a boat trip, can turn into fun if you plan carefully. Possibly all dog breeds (pure or mixed) can make it to boats and survive well throughout the journey. Some dogs who are naturally water babies take boat trips the easy way. Whereas others who aren’t really made for swimming can make it with little preparation and precautions.

Though no matter which dog breed you own, the most important thing that will transform the boat travel into a fun time is adaptability. Depending upon how your dog normally is (in terms of being active), there are a few things you will need to take care of.

Continue reading below and learn how to make your canine buddy safe and comfortable during a boat travel/ transport.

Can you transport large dogs on a boat?

Transporting small dogs is easy and hassle-free. However, the task gets a little tougher when it comes to transporting large dogs, be it on water, air, or land. 

There is no regulation on regards to bringing large dogs on a boat; however, their size can become a problem. If you are traveling on a personal boat, you have enough time and opportunities to check how much space your dog can get. The space, though, would definitely be confined.

However, if you are traveling in a public boat, talking with an authoritative individual beforehand is recommended. The size of the boat, the number of individuals traveling, and how much space (freedom/ comfort) your dog can have are things you must know well before boarding. Since once the journey starts, there isn’t any looking back, planning well in advance is crucial. 

How do you travel by a dog on a boat?

There are no specific regulations for traveling with your dog on a boat, though a lot of planning is a must. The most crucial and logical thing is ensuring the safety and welfare of the dog on board. 

Here is a list full of considerations and lessons that every dog owner suggests:

Safety first

The simplest yet paramount principle is, Keep everyone on the boat (humans and pets). Until you aren’t familiar with the water (lake/ sea), never ever let your pet dog get down into it.

There is a common norm that all dogs can swim, in reality, not all can. While some breeds are natural swimmers, some of them can’t even if taught. And even beyond that, despite how well your dog can swim, chances of them running into trouble are always there.

May be water is too cold or hot, the sea has a high current, or the dog is exhausted; anything can land him trouble in the water. That is why, before landing your thoughts on anything, plan about your dog’s safety.

Invest in a reliable and comfortable life jacket for your dog. Get the one that has a lifting handle and is bright in color. While the former will help you in getting the dog out of the water, the latter comes in handy to find the pet in dirty water or high waves. 

Before you begin your boat trip, try the life jacket on the dog. The first consideration is ensuring the dog’s comfort wearing the jacket. And thereafter, visit a nearby swimming pool and test the jacket. Also, make sure the life jacket you choose can keep your dog’s head above water level.

The second safety consideration for dogs on a boat comes in handy with a safety line. Running a safety line (fishing wire) or anything around the boat’s boundary keeps the dog safe from accidental jumping.

This is crucial for snub nose dogs specifically since such accidents can prove extremely harmful for them. Besides lining the boat with a safety rope/ wire, you can also cover it with a net for added protection. And with that, the dog can further roam freely inside the boat.

Choose the right boat.

When traveling with large dogs, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and other similar boats aren’t an ideal choice.

Instead, you need a boat that should have enough space to move around and enough railings to keep the pet from accidental or purpose falling.

Practice on dry land and shallow water

For a short or long boat journey, it is important that the dog is familiar with the craft.

To begin with, accustom your dog on land first with the boat. Teach him the art of getting in and out of the boat.

Though only let him get in and out of the boarding zone. Especially make sure that even on dry land, command your dog not to escape the boat from any sides. This is crucial since you won’t want the dog to jump in and out of the boat casually from all sides.

Further, begin practicing in shallow water. The rules are the same as on land. However, with water all across, the idea of learning will become more real. 

Get the dog used to the boat.

Resting in the boat, walking in the boat, eating and pooping in the boat, practice the dog for every task. Also, get the dog used to the boat’s rocking motion while you are still on the dock.

Prepare both dog and boat for a no-skid experience

Dogs with the fur under their paws find it hard to make a grip while walking in the boat. And this can lead to muscle injury, especially in large dogs. Thus, before you hop the boat, make sure you either trim or clip your dog’s under paw hair/ fur.

Also, remember trimming his nails as long nails makes it difficult to maintain grip while walking.

Besides that, line your boat with an anti-skid rubber mat. This will behave as an extra precaution, especially if the boat is wet by any means. 

Focus on important commands

Dogs can’t make it alone on boats, and thus the owner must always practice some commands beforehand.

Work on commands like, ‘Sit, Stay, Don’t Jump, Relax, etc..’ Your dog needs to listen to you.

Pack all the essentials you will need during the trip

While traveling on a boat with large dogs, you will need a lot of things.

Essentials to Carry While Sailing with a Dog:

Dog Sunscreen: Dogs are susceptible to sunburns, so it is important to soak them well in sunscreen. Ask your vet for dog-specific sunscreen and apply it all over their body. Use it, especially in an area where the canine has lesser hair and skin is exposed.

Insect Repellent: Travelling with water means having mosquitos and insects around. Thus do carry a pet-safe sunscreen for keeping your dog safe from any kind of infections. 

First Aid kit: Pack a dog’s first aid kit, including bandage, Dramamine, antibacterial ointment, scissors, and other essentials. You never know when your canine buddy may need them.

Dog Food and Treats: Since carrying a huge dog food bag can load your bag with unnecessary weight, go for small packs instead. Depending upon how many days you are going to spend on the boat, carry dog food accordingly. Also, pack some treats as you will need a lot of them to pacify the dog during the journey. 

Drinking-Water: Of course, because you can’t let the dog drink sea/ lake water (most times), do carry drinking water along.

How do you transport a large dog to a cruise ship?

Getting your large dog on a cruise ship is easy. Cruise ships generally have several entry points for passengers to get in. Mainly there are ladders on most entry corners.

All you need to do is, assist your dog in climbing the ladder safely. You can harness them for the same and guide them through the entry process. 

How do you transport a large dog to a yacht or Ferry?

Taking him in and out of the yacht or ferry is easy if you have a small dog. You can do the same simply by holding the dog. However, doing the same is even trickier than you may think with larger dogs.

But since that isn’t impossible, we have got some working solutions for you.

Invest in a boat ramp or ladder that is big enough for handling your dog’s weight and size. It is better to get a ladder/ ramp that is meant for use in water as well. These ramps will help you get your dog inside the craft after a swimming session as well.

There are several options, including floating ramps, static ramps, steps, and ladders to choose from.

Further, train your dog to get on and off the ladder/ ramp. First, begin practicing on land and then on shallow water.

The idea is to make the dog comfortable and safe on the object so that the process on the water goes easy.

How do transatlantic dogs travel?

For traveling dogs Trans-Atlantic (crossing or extending across the Atlantic Ocean), there are only two ways:

Now since taking large dogs on planes leaves mostly cargo options available, pet owners often choose Queen Marry 2. 

Also known as RMS Queen Mary 2, it is a British transatlantic ocean liner that allows dogs, cats, and ferrets on board. Since airplane cargo can create an uncomfortable environment for dogs, traveling with RMS Queen Mary 2 is a more commonly used option.

What is Queen Mary 2 Pet Policy for Dogs?

Queen Mary 2 allows pet dogs on board on both short and long cruises. However, back-to-back long cruises are neither advised nor allowed. 

RMS Queen Mary 2 allows pets and their owners to travel together. Not just one can bring a dog but also let the pet sleep down on a travel bed in the same cabin.

Individuals have to first book their personal Queen Mary 2 transatlantic crossing. Later, book a spot for pets on the kennel, the ship’s pet residence.

Taking dogs and cats on RMS Queen Mary 2 is only possible with transatlantic cruises between Southampton (near London) or Hamburg and New York City.

However, due to U.K. restrictions, pets can’t travel on back-to-back cruises departing from and returning to Southampton.

RMS Queen Mary 2 has 24 kennels 12 upper and 12 lower.

Top-level – Small – 33″ X 33″ X 27 ” high

 Floor level – Large – 33″ X 33″ X 39″ high

Usually, the individuals in charge will not accommodate more than one pet inside a Kennel. However, the same can be done at the owner’s request.

For measuring the pet, take measurements from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail, floor to the chest, and the width of the dog from shoulder to shoulder. Further for height, take measurements from floor to tip of the head.  

Necessary documentation for QM2:

  • No animal will be permitted to board the QM2 without the necessary transit license.
  • The dog must be fitted with a microchip.
  • Rabies vaccine 21 days or more before the cruise is a must.
  • An official Veterinary Certificate within 10 days of the cruise is a must.
  • Treating the dog 1-5 days prior to boarding against heartworm is a must.
  • A current Health Certificate within 30 days is a must.

Taking a dog on RMS Queen Mary 2 will likely range between $800 and $1,000 USD. Individuals will learn about the cost of transportation during the time of booking. The exact cost depends upon the route you are traveling upon.

How much does it cost to ship a large dog?

Shipping a large dog can cost anywhere between $400 to $5500. Several factors influence the overall cost. For example,

  • The cost of shipping (ticket an airline or cruise will charge).
  • A prior vet visit.
  • Preparation for all travel essentials including kennel, muzzle, dog bedding, harness, etc.

Wrapping up…

And now, when you have grabbed all the necessary information on transporting a large dog by boat, we think you are all set for the trip. The very first boat trip with your dog may definitely give you some hard time.

However, once you and your canine buddy become habitual, only enjoyable trips are ahead.

Happy Sailing…