Fishing with Your Dog: Tips and Precautions

Approximately one-third of pet owners take their pets on vacation, which includes fishing trips. While cats, gerbils, and parakeets don’t ordinarily make the best fishing companions, there are few places more natural for a dog than beside a fisherman. But before bringing your pooch along to partake in this mutually primal activity, you should know the risks involved and how to mitigate them – both for your dog’s safety and yours.

The Road Trip

If you’re bringing your dog fishing, it’s likely that you’ll have to travel to get there. So before you consider the needs of your dog on a fishing trip, you’ll have to consider its needs on a road trip. While we can’t expect every owner to heed this advice, the safest place for a dog in a vehicle is in a well-ventilated kennel or a seat belt. Yes, they make doggy seat belts. It’s a good thing, too: simply hitting the brakes too hard can be fatal for your untethered dog riding shotgun.

Food, water, and pee breaks are essential if the trip will be long. A dog needs to stretch its legs every hour or two. Also, leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle should be avoided at all costs. Not only is it dangerous for the pup, in some states it’s illegal.

On the Shore

So you and your furry pal have arrived at the lake and have found the perfect spot to fish. Now what? Well, depending on the popularity of the area, you might want to put your dog on a chain or lead that is attached to something sturdy. This will keep it from getting into things it shouldn’t be getting into. It’s crucial, however, to make the lead long enough to allow your dog relative freedom. If the area is remote and your dog is well-trained, let it off to enjoy the full fishing experience. However, keep it away from hooks and raw fish. The latter may contain harmful parasites and bacteria.

On a Boat

Taking your dog on a fishing boat comes with a few additional responsibilities. One is to protect it from the water. A life jacket is recommended for many canine boat passengers. While most dogs can swim, some panic when they fall out of the boat in open water. Another responsibility is to keep it from injuring itself while going in and out of the boat. Training your dog to not jump in when it’s moving, or restraining it until it knows better, is extremely important.

Fishing with man’s best friend is a rewarding experience, but it should not be done hastily. There are a few precautions a pet owner should take before bringing their dog on a fishing trip. A safe and happy fishing dog makes for a safe and happy fisherman.

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