The Something Wagging crew is pretty minimalist. Any boat dog accessories that join us on the boat, have to be useful, a good value, and well made.
Here are a few cool things we rely on to keep Honey, our boat dog, safe and having fun.
[Links will take you to Amazon or other affiliate sites. If you buy something, I will earn a small fee but your item won’t cost you more.]
Getting On & Off The Boat
We’ve used two ramps on Meander. Each has its pros and cons.
The folding ramp by Gen7 (Amazon) has a handle, helpful for swinging around on a crowded dock. We also use it as a secure point to tie the ramp to a piling or cleat. The fake grass surface is very secure and keeps Honey from slipping. Most of the ramp is plastic but there are metal screws that get surface rust in a marine environment.
Solvit’s telescoping ramp (Amazon) is long enough to hit any dock. We’ve even used it to reach land when we grounded ten feet from the dock (shh, don’t tell Solvit; they make a point of stating that the ramps are for pet use only). The ramp will float (briefly) giving you time to recover it if it goes overboard. But the surface is more slippery for dog paws.
Lots of cruisers use the handle on their dog’s life jacket to lift them in and out of the water. In a pinch, it will work. But you don’t want to rely on it every day. We use the Ruffwear Double Back Harness (Amazon) to lower Honey into the dinghy. And it’s even secure enough to lower her off the boat when we’re on the hard.
Honey never felt secure when I handed her off to Mike standing in the dinghy. But when we lower her into the dinghy (or all the way to the ground) using a block and tackle, she’s more secure. We attach the Lifesling 3-to-1 lifting hoist to the boom and lower her like an angel. Honey weighs 50 pounds and I can lift her easily.
Safety On The Boat
As a wee pup, Honey started out wearing a Ruffwear Life Jacket. Her old jacket is no longer available but has been replaced by Ruffwear’s Float Coat (Amazon). With its padded belly and extra flotation under the neck, it’s far superior to the original.
Currently, Honey wears the Surf ‘n Turf Life Jacket by Kurgo (affiliate). She finds it very comfortable. I like how sturdily it’s made. You can remove the flotation from the jacket and use the shell as a rain jacket–helpful for keeping wet dog smell to a minimum on board.
I love Honey’s Alcott Weekender leash (Amazon). The clasp swivels to avoid tangles. Padding in the handle is comfy on the hands. It’s reflective for night walking. And the buckle in the handle is great for attaching Honey to a restaurant table or for a quick attachment so she stays put while I’m talking to a dock master.
Food & Water
Working for her food is enriching for Honey. Plus the crazy shape slows her down making the possibility of bloat or other gastric distress less likely.
The Slow Feeder by Outward Hound is just one way we’ve fed Honey over the years.
The old fashioned Kong (Amazon) is one of the first food toys most of us have ever heard of. We load it with a couple treats to plug the hole and then stuff it with canned pumpkin, cheese, or other healthy goodies. Freezing it causes your dog to take longer to empty it. It’s a great tool to help with separation anxiety.
To be honest, we left Honey’s Kong Wobbler (Amazon) behind when we moved onto Meander. But if our boat was just a little larger, it would have made the cut. She loved tipping the weighted Kong over to spill out treats. It took her about 20 minutes to eat a meal. And exhausted her in the process.
You don’t want to know how many times I stepped in Honey’s water bowl before I found the perfect solution. You can tip the Buddy Bowl (Amazon) upside down and not spill an ounce. When we’re not underway, I can also remove the lid to make it a regular drinking bowl.
Honey’s Kurgo Collaps-A-Bowl (Kurgo) becomes small enough that I can stick it in my purse of dinghy bag. Having an easy way to give Honey water makes it less likely she’ll drink sea water. And it’s handy when we take her out to eat on a dog-friendly restaurant patio.
Help For Shedding
Without a car, we sometimes have to rent. The Kurgo Hammock (Kurgo) is easy to set up on the back seat and it keeps dog hair contained. When we return the car, no one would ever know Honey rode with us. Check out our review and video.
There’s nothing fancy about this type of lint remover (Amazon). But it’s been around for such a long time because it works.
I use it to clean Honey’s fur off our comforter before heading to the laundry room.
The best way to deal with dog fur all over the boat (and worse, in the bilge pump) is to keep it from getting loose to begin with. We routinely brush Honey’s undercoat with the Furminator (Amazon) to keep shedding down in the boat. It’s become our favorite boat dog accessory.
While my dream vacuum for the boat is a Dyson rechargeable vacuum (Amazon), at nearly $600 it’s just not in the budget.
But we’ve found our tiny Shop-Vac (Amazon) to be especially useful–and not just for picking up dog hair.
Sadly, the 2 HP 1.5 gallon model we have is no longer available. But a small wet dry vac is easy to store on board, handy when you’re cleaning out the bilge, and yes, excellent at sucking up dog hair from all boat crevices.
Yep, dog hair gets everywhere! Even down the sink drains.
Every so often, the sink drains slower. So we use this nifty Zip-It drain cleaning tool (Amazon) to grab the fur that’s collected.
More items coming soon. Watch this space.