Pets Onboard: It’s a Dog’s (or Cat’s) Life - Sail Magazine

Pets Onboard: It’s a Dog’s (or Cat’s) Life

Author:
Updated:
Original:
Cruising pets

Bringing your pet along when you go cruising can be a lot of fun, if you plan wisely

After working in veterinary medicine for more than 30 years in New England, I was well versed on the veterinary conditions pets in our area are exposed to. But what happens when you take your pet on a boat abroad? Many diseases are region-specific, and our pets may not be immune to them.

When my husband and I started our cruising life, the other cruisers we met inevitably asked me lots of questions about their cuddly traveling companions. One day, for instance, I received a text from the crew of a Canadian boat in Georgia asking what type of spiders could be crawling all over their two Alaskan Malamutes after a hike ashore. Eventually, I figured out they were describing deer ticks, something not found in Canada. We then discussed the dangers of Lyme disease for both dogs and humans, and how to prevent further exposure.

This is just one example of how different regions can expose our furry friends to diseases and conditions we’re not familiar with. What follows are some potential health issues that may arise as you cruise the United States and the Caribbean. Hopefully, before you set sail, you will have a chance to discuss them with your veterinarian.

• Heartworm – All dogs and most cats should be on monthly heartworm prevention medication. Heartworm is passed from pet to pet by mosquitoes. You don’t usually see mosquitoes in the North in the winter, but as you travel south and start putting in bug screens in the hatches, it’s a good idea to think of your pet as well. Heartworm can be deadly, and there is a large untreated population of affected animals in the South and the Caribbean. 

• Intestinal parasite control – Most heartworm prevention medications include a dose of deworming medication. In the Southeast, for example, hookworms are a major problem that is rarely seen in colder climates.

• Fleas and ticks – All dogs and cats should be treated for fleas and ticks. Typically this is done on a monthly basis. In New England beware of deer ticks and Lyme disease.

• Rabies – All states and countries require a current rabies vaccine with appropriate written documentation before they will allow your pet ashore. A rabies vaccine is important even for a cat that never leaves the cabin. Bats carry rabies and have been known to fly into boat cabins, and a cat loves to hunt!

• Vaccines (general) – There are numerous vaccines to help boost your pet’s immunity against any viruses they may be exposed to. However, most veterinarians will make individual judgment calls about what to vaccinate against based on the environment your pet will be in. Talk with your veterinarian about what cruising destinations you have in mind.

• Boarding - What if you need to board your pet ashore in an emergency? Can you do so immediately, or will your pet be turned away because it is not vaccinated for a highly contagious disease like kennel cough? Recommended vaccines to discuss with your veterinarian include Influenza, Lyme Disease, Bordetella and Leptospirosis.

Pets aboard can be a lot of fun, but they can also destroy your boat’s budget if they become ill. Prevention is much more budget-friendly than treatment for most medical conditions. Plan wisely. 

Check out more furry friends onboard here.

November 2016

Related

PICTON CASTLE under sail with stunsls WV7 compressed

Picton Castle Seeks Crew

The Picton Castle is set to begin its eighth circumnavigation this spring under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland. A professional crew of 12 will guide up to 40 trainees at a time as they learn about all aspects of sailing the bark, from steering to lookout, ...read more

DSC_0013

Ask Sail: Keel Attachments

Q: I have an early ‘70s Catalina 27. The keel bolts look pretty good. My question is, why not glass over the keel to bond to the hull rather than changing the bolts if, or when the bolts are too far gone? I haven’t seen anything on this, so could you discuss? Full-keels are ...read more

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more

Photo-by-Adobe-Stockpics721-2048x

Webinar: Navigating Post-Dorian Abaco

On Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm ET, Navigare Yachting presents a webinar on what to expect from Abaco post-Dorian. The event will feature the authors of The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Steve Dodge and his sons Jon and Jeff.Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco in early September of 2019 and ...read more

LunaRossaBoat2

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Christens “Boat 2”

Hot on the heels of the UK’s Britannia and the United States’ Patriot, Italy’s new AC75 Luna Rossa, formerly known as Boat 2, was christened in Auckland, New Zealand, this morning. As the moniker suggests, it was Team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s second design. In his christening ...read more

m7803_DSCF6698-1

Challengers Christen Britannia and Patriot

October 16 proved an exciting day for America’s Cup fans with the christening of both the UK’s Britannia and America’s Patriot. Britannia will be helmed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie. Olympic Gold medalist Giles Scott will serve as ...read more

HookPromo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lowrance Hook Reveal

Defender product expert Alex Lyons explains the benefits of HOOK Reveal’s new FishReveal technology: “DownScan sonar uses high frequencies to provide a picture-like image of the sea floor. The traditional sonar’s lower frequencies are best suited for locating fish in the water ...read more