The Best Gifts For Boat Dogs (That Your Dog Will Love Too)

If you want the best stuff, ask someone who lives on a tiny boat.

Here’s my list for the best gifts for boat dogs. I bet your dog will love them. And so will you.

Best Gifts for Boat Dogs

Best Toys For Boat Dogs

What’s life without toys? Here are three of Honey’s favorites.

Some of the links below are affiliate links.

Tuffy No Stuff Ultimate Ring

Honey has had her Tuffy No Stuff Ultimate Ring for so many years, I can’t remember where we got it. She loves it and it was one of her few “land” toys to make it on board the boat.

Honey the boat dog's favorite gift is the Tuff Ring.

I’m a generous pup. But I’m not giving up my Tuff Ring to anybody. –Well, not unless they throw it again for me to chase.

Why It’s Great: Exciting squeakies are encased in the layers making it a toy Honey enjoys playing with by herself as much as with us. We like to roll it on the ground for Honey to retrieve. Then we tug it with her.

Is It Great For Your Dog: Honey does not destroy her toys although she is aggressive in her play. Some Amazon reviewers stated that this toy was not up to their destructo-dogs. It’s sturdy but, like most toys, dogs who love to “kill” their toys will probably be able to destroy this one too.

Kong Tails Tug Toy

The KONG Tails Dog Toy, Large, Red/Blue is another toy that made the cut when we moved on board. This is probably Honey’s favorite tug toy and one she has used with her foster dog playmates.

The handle makes it easy to toss and the hard rubber Kong in the center gives it an unpredictable bounce.

Honey the boat dog loves to play with her Kong Tails toy.

This Kong doesn’t even have food in it and I still love it.

Why It’s Great: One of the tails has a squeaky which is a nice surprise when Honey grabs it during play. With a handle on one side and the tails on the other, you can play tug safely with your pup while keeping your hands away from teeth.

Is It Great For Your Dog: Occasionally, if we let go of the toy while playing tug, Honey gets hit in the head by the Kong. You might want to avoid it if your dog can’t absorb a few soft blows to the head with a toy.

Amazon reviewers also claim that aggressive chewers can also destroy this toy.

Thrift Store Stuffy

Honey has an oral fixation.

Every time we return to the boat or someone visits, Honey picks up one of her favorite stuffies. They do occasionally end up in the middle of an impromptu game of tug and suffer from torn seams.

Luckily, every thrift store has tons of stuffed animals for bargain prices. Make sure you buy toys that don’t have parts that can fall off and become a choking hazard.

How does our dog know when we're coming home?

I’m so glad you’re home. Here’s my offering.

Why It’s Great: They’re cheap, cheap, cheap. Any Honey loves using stuffies as pillows and pacifiers.

Is It Great For Your Dog: Once again, if your dog kills toys, these won’t last.

That said, they’re cheap to replace. And as long as you aren’t worried about your dog swallowing stuffing, they are a fun and easy way to amuse your dog.

Best Travel Accessories For Boat Dogs

We’re always on the go. We do, after all, live on a sailboat.

Honey always wants to go with us. Here are a few of our favorite things that keep Honey by our side no matter where we go.

Alcott Weekender Leash

Honey prefers to go leash-less. But since that’s not an option, I appreciate a good leash.

The Alcott Adventure Weekender Leash has some nice features for our travel with Honey. The handle has a clip, allowing us to quickly tether her to a chair leg on a restaurant patio or to the cockpit when we’re loading groceries on board.

The handle is also padded, which feels surprisingly good on a long walk. Especially when your dog spots a squirrel that needs chasing.

Honey the golden retriever at High Spot.

I don’t know why you think you have to tether my leash at a restaurant. Do you actually think I’d leave the food?

Why It’s Great: Honey often goes with us when we do errands or eat out. It’s really handy to be able to quickly clip her leash to something for security while my hands are busy elsewhere.

Is It Great For Your Dog: You have to be careful to click the clip on the handle evenly. It can jam if you’re in a hurry and don’t slide it in properly. It might be an issue if your dog is pulling and jumping while you’re trying to attach her leash to a park bench while you get her food and water out.

Kurgo Surf N Turf Jacket

Of course a boat dog needs a good life jacket. But although Honey has used this jacket for over 3 years (and it still looks great), we only recently found a new use for it.

The jacket has a zipper at the back. Just remove the floatation inside the jacket and now you have a nifty rain jacket—hence the name, Surf N Turf.

When we lived in a house, I didn’t worry about Honey getting wet. She’d dry off eventually. But now, I’ll do anything to keep extra moisture out of the boat.

And having one jacket that Honey can wear two ways is a great space saver, for anyone.

Honey the boat dog with her Kurgo Surf N Turf Jacket.

I don’t mind wearing my life jacket. But it’s also nice getting naked at the end of the day.

Why It’s Great: The jacket is designed to keep a dog’s head out of the water, even if they are tired or unconscious (something we never hope to witness first hand). The sturdy handle gives you an easy way to pull your dog onto a boat or dock if they go overboard.

Is It Great For Your Dog: I have not found any downsides to this jacket. But fit is important. Measure carefully before you order to make sure it is a good fit for your dog.

Order your dog’s jacket from Kurgo.

Travel With Your Dog with Kurgo Products!

Buddy Bowl Spillproof Water Bowl

Before we bought the Buddy Bowl Spillproof Water Bowl, Honey had to ask us for a drink when we were sailing. She’d stare at me while I tried to figure out exactly what she wanted.

Or worse, we’d place a water bowl on the cockpit floor just to step in it when handling lines or going into the cabin for a snack.

The Buddy Bowl has a cover that gives dogs enough room to lap up water with their tongues while being virtually spill proof.

If it works on a sailboat, just think of how great it would be in the back of your car or anywhere in the house you find yourself stepping into the water bowl.

Honey the golden retriever sits on the dock with her spill proof bowl.

Who cares if it spills? It’s just water. Now if it were chicken broth…?

Why It’s Great: It really is spill proof in nearly every situation.

Is It Great For Your Dog: I struggle a little bit to take the cover off the bowl myself. If you don’t have a strong grip, you may want to have a strong friend to help you fill and clean it.

Yummy Treats for Boat Dogs

On board, treats aren’t just fun. They’re really important.

I like having small treats in my Outward Hound Treat Pouch when we go out for a walk. It allows me to take advantage of quick training opportunities and gives me something to toss if we meet strange dogs off-leash.

What are Honey’s favorite treats?

Cloud Star Tricky Trainers

Liver-flavored Tricky Trainers are a great training treat. They’re stinky enough to be attractive while not making me totally unacceptable to strangers.

Best of all, Honey loves them.

Why It’s Great: They’re a nice texture and very small. They are also grain-free.

Is It Great For Your Dog: Food is a very personal decision. Check the ingredients list to make sure they’re a good match for your dog.

Dehydrated Salmon Treats

We discovered the amazing power of dehydrated Wild Salmon Dog Treats when we started playing Nose Work games with Honey.

They have a nice strong smell and Honey was captivated by them.

Why It’s Great: They have a dry texture and a strong smell.

Is It Great For Your Dog: They are very expensive. It might be worth trying a less expensive dried fish treat first to make sure your dog likes them.


When I want a highly motivating treat to teach Honey a new skill, I rely on liverwurst.

It’s one of those really tasty (and safe) dog treats you can find in every grocery store. It’s human grade. It’s dirt cheap. And dogs love it!

Honey would do almost anything for a bit of liverwurst.

Honey the golden retriever - will she climb the boat stairs?

Okay, I’m doing it. But keep the liverwurst coming. I need my strength.

Why It’s Great: You can buy it everywhere. It is a great high-value treat.

Is It Great For Your Dog: It is very messy to handle. I find it works best to freeze it in small bits for training session.

Bonus: By the time the liverwurst is melting into a puddle, it’s probably time to end your training session.

Boat Dog Wish List

Everything on the list so far has passed the boat dog test: we use it and it’s worth having even in a small space.

But there are two items we’d love to have on board but just haven’t gotten yet.

Nina Ottoson Interactive Dog Game

Honey loves food toys. But we worried that we’d end up with dog treats and kibble clogging our bilge pump and sinking the boat.

So none of Honey’s favorites made the move.

Honey the golden retriever puppy watches her first parade.

I love a food toy. Heck, I even love a drink toy.

But Nina Ottosson Interactive Games are more deliberate than pushing a KONG Wobbler Treat Toy around the floor.

I suspect that playing them together would be neat enough. And interactive food toys are a great way to tire out Honey’s brain when bad weather or rough seas keep us from giving her as much exercise at anchor.

Wooly Snuffle Feeding Mat

Since it would contain the mess, a Wooly Snuffle Mat seems like a great idea for a boat dog.

Heck, it seems like a great idea for any dog who likes foraging for his food and for his people who want a happy dog.

If you’re crafty, the Honest Kitchen blog shares a tutorial for making your own snuffle mat.

What do you think? Should we add our wish list items to the boat?

Why Boat Dogs Find The Best Gifts and Gear

It’s easy to fill all the space you have. It happens to all of us, no matter how minimal we try to be.

But once we moved onto a boat, we no longer had the luxury of filling space with things that aren’t useful. For one thing, when we sail, everything has to be battened down so it doesn’t go flying when we heel over or if we’re traveling in rough water.

For another, we can’t ever get one thing out of storage without moving whatever is in front of it.

So this year, when you’re tempted to celebrate gift giving holidays by buying a little something for your pupper, take the advice of Honey the Boat Dog.

Only buy what is useful and just right.

Your dog will be happy. And I bet you will be too.

Honey the boat dog know the schooner Peacemaker has more room for gifts.

Of course, you can always buy a bigger boat.

(Don’t feel left out if you don’t celebrate Christmas. We also have a nifty gift guide for people and dogs at Hanukkah. The Thoughtful Gift Guide is also a good source for free, frugal, fair trade, cause-related and cool gifts for dogs and dog lovers.)

Your Turn: If you downsized tomorrow to move into a truly tiny space (like a boat), which of your dog’s favorite items would go with you?

Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means that if you buy something after clicking them, I will earn a few cents. But your item will not cost you more. Thank you for supporting Something Wagging and keeping us on the water.


  1. I love salmon treats, but Mom finds the smell embarrassing if she carries them around on her person, LOL! Now for the big question…do you decorate the boat for the holidays?

    • Emma, you need to get your mom to stop being embarrassed. Salmon treats are yummy! 🙂

      And yes, we do decorate the boat. We string lights along the edges, hang raffia fish ornaments from the ports, light candles, and try to find some greenery along the way to get that lovely evergreen smell.

      It’s pretty tough to get a good picture but maybe I’ll try this year.

  2. That spill-proof bowl sounds fabulous! We go traveling in our van a lot, and that bowl would serve us well.

    I guess that our van tells us which of our dogs things we’d bring. A chewing bone – they still like to gnaw on nylabones! Tennis balls go with us as do tug toys. They have warm jackets and boots that also go with us. And that’s about it (aside from veterinary type stuff).

    Great post!

    • The spill proof bowl was a lifesaver. I can’t tell you how many water bowls I stepped in until my husband bought it for me.

      Sounds like you have your dog packing list for the van down. Honey agrees with the nylabone. We always have one or two somewhere around the boat.

  3. The spill-proof water bowl sounds good.

    My biped laughed about the idea of kibble blocking up your bilge pump because toys that dispense food have never worked for us. I like getting the food out, but I never bother to eat it even when it’s really tasty treats. The cats then flick it about so they have fun as well, but the bipeds say we just make a mess!

    • Clowie, you’re just such a lady. You can’t imagine eating your food after playing with it.

      Honey will eat food out of a toy. She just won’t work too hard to get the ones that escape her.

      When we were fostering dogs, our new visitors would go crazy trying to find all Honey’s food that escaped under furniture and she could not be bothered to find.

      And yes, the spill proof bowl is awesome!

  4. What a great list of prezzies! Sam isn’t into toys so much and both he and Elsa would just as soon have a nice knuckle bone if space was a big issue. Sweet Honey…love that photo of her with the second hand polar bear. Just too darn adorably cute.

  5. Great list! Our last pup was a destroyer so I’d always get her 2nd hand stuffies at yard sales. Cost about 25c usually so I didn’t care if she destroyed them in minutes. We were both happy. 🙂

    If we downsized, Rita’s Wubba bear would definitely be the top toy to make the cut! She loves that thing.

  6. I love this list! We live in Annapolis, Maryland, the city of dogs and sailboats! Though we don’t live on the beach, I know that we could also greatly benefit from the weekender leash. So many summer days spent enjoying the cafes and restaurants around here (most are dog-friendly!) Love how it just clips on.

    Great post and love the pics! Such a cutie 🙂

    • We were in Annapolis in September and October setting up and taking down the Annapolis Boat Shows.

      We didn’t get much time to eat out with Honey. But yes, the leash came in handy when we were out and about.

      Do you have a bricks and mortar store in Annapolis? Or do you only sell online?

      • Oh, you chose the absolute best time to be here. The boat shows are amazing, people travel from far and wide to attend every year.

        Me and my pup are total landlubbers, but we still love taking walks down by the docks, checking out all the sailboats and yachts, especially during the boat show!

        Next time you visit, please take some time to visit Federal House, right by the dock. They have a dedicated doggie menu, Honey would love it!

        Right now, we are primarily online, but will be opening our brick and mortar store within the next year.

  7. Oh, definitely add the Snuffle Mat! Both of our dogs love it, it’s simple to just throw treats in it and let them have fun. Then you can just roll it up to store it.

  8. Mr. N might have that same stuffed animal. His argument would be that all of his things are toy-sized so he should be able to bring everything!