Dogs on Board

Dyna and Dylan keep tabs on marina comings and goings (TakingPaws)
Call me Ishmael. Or, Fido, or even Spot. No matter, a dog by any other name is a sailor's soulmate upon the sea. Brave, loyal, trustworthy and enthusiastic--always. You couldn't ask for a better crewmate. Still, there are times when finding our best friend a safer harbor is the most loving--and hardest--thing to do.

In this topic, our bloggers talk about the dog days of cruising.

Topic Coordinator: Jane, more JOY everywhere!

Karen and Jeff, Active Captain founders, have a series of "Dogs Onboard" articles on their website, and they also keep a blog on behalf of their two labs, Dyna and Dylan.

"Dogs and boating don't mix," says Stormy (Art of Hookie), yet Chloe the Springer Spaniel "has more sea hours than most licensed captains."

With a great sense of humor and finely-honed priorities, Golden Retriever Wylie describes what his life is like on Controlled Jibe. (Some great Wylie stories on the blog; e.g. Wylie and the Bobcat!)

On Living the Cruising Dream, Suzanne has a section devoted to Rudy: Rudy FAQs, Rudy clearing customs, and Rudy photo albums, etc.

SailCharbonneau.com hasn't been updated for several years, but it has great information and resources about safety, customs, and other practical concerns regarding dogs on board.

S/v Smitty sails with an Aussie mix, Summer, on board: and Jesse has tons of good advice about how to do it.
Also, thanks to Jesse for sharing some resources on clearing customs with a pet:
For summaries of most common cruising ports with links to the government sites for each country discussed:http://www.dogfriendly.com/server/travel/info/customs/travelcustoms.shtmlhttp://www.caribbeancompass.com/dogs_cruising.html Look under the "customs" link of any country at http://www.noonsite.com/Countries

After sailing without a dog for two years, Deana started dreaming about adding canine crew - now Storyville has a Border Terrier, Luna, on board.

Carolyn (The Boat Galley) has written several posts about her experiences cruising with Paz. Start with this post; it links to the other posts, and also has links to helpful products.

As they prepared to go cruising, Andy and Monica (Savannah) made the heart-breaking decision to find a new home for their dog.

Jet provides his shipmates (Chris and Melody on Vacilando) with morning and evening workouts, in the form of five foot lifts in to and out of the cabin. This post includes a short video, showing how Jet has learned to sit "sideways" so he can be easily lifted.

On the MoFi Guest Writers' Blog, Dave (You Me and the D) details some "pros and cons" of having a dog on board and has advice about handling customs.

In the first post, Laurie (So Many Beaches) deals "with the specifics of having a dog aboard a sailboat in one country (Guatemala) and trying to move with him (legally) to another country (Belize)."  The second link goes to an awesome collection of links, info and FAQs about having a dog on board (in general) and about Kemah on board (in particular).

Provisioning plans need to include ALL members of the crew, says Sally (S.V. Cambria):

What is it like to have "200 pounds of Chesapeake Bay Retriever" on board? Not much different from on land, according to S/V Octopussy:

Fred (Gimme Shelter) notices that dog owners out-number cat owners at his marina, and wonders why. He also wonders what a MOB pick-up would look like if the "M" is actually a 5-pound Maltese named Tex.

Did you know there is a DNA test kit to help you figure out your dog's "heritage"?  Read about the process here, in this very funny post from Living the Life Aquatic:

Here's a slice of life from Belle, the boat dog on s/v Roughdraft.  Mike, Belle's owner, is a regular contributor to the blog, Write on the Water.

Two posts from Sailing Chance; the first is a great reminder that when cruisers prepare the human medical kit, they also need to think of other important crewmembers.  The second links to a one-minute video of sweet, happy dogs.  If you're wondering how much space a dog needs to be content on a boat, watch this.

In this post, we learn about several products that have worked well on Moondance, to keep Chief Security Officer Bailey happy, healthy, and safe.

Even when it hurts, true pet lovers try to do what's best for their furry loved ones.  Dani (Sundowner Sails Again) explains a tough decision:

Hi, blogger! Do you have a blog post on dogs on board that you'd like to share? Please post your link with a brief description in the comment section below and we'll add it to this list.

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  1. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for linking to my Dogs Aboard page! I am catching up on some post topics... the "poison-proofing your dog" is one of them (since I promised it weeks ago!). I'll let you know when that specific one is done... either way, readers will be able to read it off of the page you linked to above!


    1. yes please let me know! and I'll give you a shout out on facebook. And yeah, as long as you label the new post, I won't have to add the individual link here, but I'll add to the description.

  2. Hey Jane! Y'all inspired me to finally get Kemah's Korner up! Once I got rolling, it's over a dozen posts about life with our salty dog. I tracked-back but y'all can also view it on our site here: http://www.somanybeaches.com/life-aboard-for-dog/.

    Thanks for coordinating! I love TMF!

    1. #1: This is awesome info - thanks for your contribution! #2: Crap, crap, crap. When I popped over to check it out I found out that the MoFi badge is a broken link. Our bad.... It's just one, itty bitty "2" that ought to be a "5" - can you find it, Laurie?
      (the end of the permalink, as buried in the HTML, should look like this...2013/05/dogs-on-board.html INSTEAD of like this... 2013/02/dogs-on-board.html) Sorry!

  3. Some seriously great information about sailing/cruising with dogs! Thanks so much. We have two little [dog] babies who'll be cruising with us when we shove off in a couple years, so it's great to be able to have this type of research and information so nicely compiled by others! :-)

    Looking forward to more,


    1. Mike, remember you can contribute a link at any time. I'm sure your dogs will take to the sea with enthusiasm - and then you'll have some "tails" to tell.

  4. This is an old post I did about travelling in Europe with our elderly dog.

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  6. Just added another one about flying home with a small dog: http://theboatgalley.com/flying-small-dog/

  7. We are only weeks away from departing on a 5-7yr slow circumav, departing Sydney with three cats and one 50Kg Bernese Mountain Dog who also doubles as head of security. Couldnt imagine leaving without home without them all... All pre cleared all the way to the USA... fingers crossed, James (www.pendanablog.com) PS: And yes, we are going the wrong way around!