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Quick question for the people who have boat loving doodles. 

Have you had any problems with dog nails damaging the vinyl seats on the boat? And is there a good solution? Don't they make those nail cover things for cat claws? Do they make those for dogs too?

And have you had any issues getting the dogs back into the boat if they go swimming? We have a runabout with a swim ladder. I assume I could pick her up with the handle on her life jacket. But then I think it might be more difficult than I imagine. Can I teach her to climb the ladder?

We have a Bimini top for the boat. Will she get too hot if she stays on the boat, even if she's shaded? 

I think it would be so fun to have a boat dog! There will be an 11 month old baby on the boat too, so I don't imagine that we will stay on the water longer than the dog can handle. But I've never had a boat dog before.

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This is a good discussion for Laurie, I hope she sees it. 
I know next to nothing about boats, with or without dogs, but I'm pretty sure they can't climb the ladder. 

I'm sure you're right about the ladder. Although, Maggie is pretty smart! In hindsight, we probably should have looked for an old pontoon boat instead of an old ski boat. I love to ski, but I'm kind of in a place where I ski for 30 seconds and then we spend the rest of the day anchored and floating while drinking beer and listening to the radio. I love being on the water though. I really want to share that with the dogs. It's just never as much fun when they have to stay home.

We never had an issue with nails and the vinyl.    I think maybe boat vinyl is pretty heavy gauge.     We were able to lift Banjo onto the boat with the handle on his vest the first summer pretty easily...later years it was a challenge to us and to him.   We would let him swim at the dock before heading out on the boat.    On really hot days we'd leave him home....even with the top it was pretty hot on board.    His favorite times on the boat was sitting up front when we were cruising slowly....hair blowing in the wind and all that....lol.

I just love the idea of letting the wind blow their hair! Last year when we first got the boat we would go out and spend most of the day there. This year I think we'll be very limited by how long my nephew can stay out. The baby probably can't outlast my girls. I'm hoping that they like it. They both love to wade in the water. Katie will swim, but only if I swim out first. And Maggie loves to ride in the car, so I hope she sees the boat the same way. They might have to take turns on boat rides, but I really hope we can make it work. A dog on a boat. What could possibly be better?

We got a pontoon boat awhile ago and my husband says we picked the one we got specifically for the dog's comfort :) Our dogs love the boat, but we keep our outings short and sweet. We usually go out and dock in the water somewhere and let the dogs and humans swim. I put towels on the vinyl seats to minimize the wear, but so far, we have not had a rip in the vinyl. Our Vern will get out of the water and jump on every seat, disrupt all the towels, etc. and so far, so good. Our dogs also wear life jackets out in the water. Both of our dogs weigh too much to lift out of the water, so we had this type of ladder first. It worked fine. It just took my husband so long to attach it to the boat, that his impatient wife went looking for something else :) Dogs would not be able to climb the boat ladder meant for people. You will definitely need a dog ramp or steps.

We now have this inflatable ramp and for us, it is quicker. Our dogs are so excited to get in the water and my husband is sooooooooooo slow, that we leave it inflated on our boat and just pop it in. I am not sure where we got it, but here is a link to show you what it looks like. 

http://www.petclassics.com/Water-Ramps-Steps/dog-on-water-ramp.29.html

If your dogs are in the water and like our dogs, the boat is going to get wet and messy. It doesn't bother us and I just have it cleaned professionally at the start of every season. Both dogs had no trouble learning the ladder or the ramp. Our Vern weighs 112 pounds, so we also had to have something that was sturdy and could handle his weight. I am sure there are other things out there for lighter dogs. I think as long as they have access to the water, plenty of water onboard to drink, dogs are fine on the boat with the heat. I also know our dogs and know when they have had enough, so we watch for that. The main problem with us is the water seems to make Fudge have to pee, so I am always in a hurry to get back once we are done swimming and let her potty. 

Our Fudge was hesitant at first about getting in the water. Once we did the life vests and she discovered the joy of jumping off the boat to fetch a ball, she has become our water girl. Vern likes to swim just a bit and then seems to take his guard dog duties seriously about who is in and out of the water. We also can paddleboard with our pups. 

Great action shots Laurie!!!

Thanks, Stella!

Love those Action shots!!

Thanks, Sheree!

You have the best photos! I can't even get the girls in focus when they're sitting still. Your info is really helpful. I didn't even know they made a ramp/stairs specifically for dogs. I'm going to have to see what we need. I really hope they don't get out there and hate the boat. 

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