Living on a Sailboat with Dogs

We are so excited to have created a bonus video for you all about what it's like sailing with dogs! We have gotten tons of questions about how we potty trained our dogs on the boat, how we store dog food on the boat, how we prevent the dogs' water bowl from spilling, if the dogs get seasick, how we keep up with dog grooming while traveling, and many more. We created this video and blog post to answer those questions. Enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed our video about sailing with dogs! Let us know if you have any questions, things that you've found helpful while traveling or sailing with your dog, or if there's anything you wish you would have known before traveling with your pet! 

Here are the items we mentioned in the video that we've found especially helpful while traveling with dogs, along with links to them on Amazon so you can check them out. 

LIfe Jackets, Harness, and Leash

Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat (Dog Life Jacket)

We have absolutely loved these dog life jackets from Ruffwear. We wanted something that was high quality, since the dogs would be wearing them most days and the life jackets would be exposed to lots of sun, saltwater, and playtime. These totally fit the bill! They've held up beautifully and hold the dogs at a great angle when they're in the water. It angles the front half of their bodies higher in the water, keeping their heads high above the water. The handles are also very helpful as we hoist the dogs in and out of the boat and dinghy. Both Penny and Mondo wear a size x-small, and the adjustable straps make their respective life jackets fit their bodies great. 

Penny’s Ruffwear Web Master Harness

Most harnesses don't fit Penny's uniquely-shaped Italian Greyhound body. With her deep chest, but incredibly narrow body, most harnesses simply fall off or are way too tight around her chest while being too wide for her shoulders. This harness fits her beautifully and keeps her very secure. We never have to worry about it causing chaffing or about her slipping out of it on a busy street. For hard-to-fit pooches, this harness is such a great find! 

Double Padded Handles Leash

With all the walking we do, this leash has become one of our favorites. It has a two padded handles, which really helps for long walks (or if you are training a puller). We use the long handle for exploration walks, and the short handle is the perfect length when we need Mondo to "heel" in more crowe


Containers for Storing Dog Food & Water

Vittles Vault 50lb Pet Food Container Pet Food Container

These containers do a great job of keeping out moisture and pests, which has been fantastic for storing kibble on the boat. After calculating the amount of dog food we needed for the cruising season (plus a bit extra just in case), we were able to store enough fresh kibble in these containers to keep the dogs eating their regular food the whole season regardless of where we were. 

Road Refresher No-Spill Portable Water Bowl

We knew we needed a water bowl solution that somehow wouldn't leave us with sloshed water all over the boat. This Road Refesher bowl did the job beautifully! It comes with a float on the inside of the bowl in addition to the black lip around the top edge, but we never ended up needing to use the float for additional spill protection. The dogs were able to stay hydrated and we never had to clean up spilled drinking water, even in rough seas!



Doggy Business Mat Supplies

Boot Tray for Under Astroturf Doggy Business Mat

This is the bottom layer of the dogs' pee mat. It helped keep the mat in one piece and also helped prevent leaks from the mat onto the deck of the boat. To attach it to the artificial turf, we drilled a hole in opposite corners to tie it to the astroturf as well as to tie an extra rope to cleat it to the boat. 

Artificial Turf Fake Grass for Doggy Business Mat

This artificial turf was the perfect size to cut in half, giving us one mat and one replacement. We put a grommet in opposite corners to make it more sturdy and then tied it to the boot mat and cleated it to the deck with rope tied through the grommets. 

*To learn how to make your own doggy business mat or how we trained our dogs to use ours, check out our blog post about potty training our dogs on a sailboat!


Supplies for Traveling with Dogs

FurryFido Pet Sling

Penny loved her pet sling! It was great to throw in the backpack on days where we were heading to shore for a long time so we could easily carry Penny on busy streets (several had no sidewalks and lots of cars zipping quite close) or if we walked farther than her little legs could go. Mondo preferred being carried in a large bag where he could stand upright, but Penny loved getting to lay down and snuggle in the sling. ;) 

Collapsible Soft-Sided Dog Crate

This crate worked wonderfully for Penny. It folds up completely flat, is easy to assemble and disassemble, and gives plenty of ventilation. Since Mondo is more of a chewer, a soft crate wouldn't work for him, but it was perfect for Penny! We really enjoyed having it take up such a small amount of space, which is always quite limited on a boat. 

Airline-Approved Expandable Pet Carrier (for any needed or unexpected airline travel)

You never know when you may need to unexpectedly fly back home for something and it can be tricky to find an airline-approved pet carrier in some remote island locations. We had a lot of peace of mind knowing we were prepared and could easily fly home with the dogs at a moment's notice with their pet carriers. We especially liked the fold-out sides of this carrier, which gives the pups a bit of extra space and ventilation once we're seated. 


Dog Grooming Supplies

Rechargeable Cordless Pet Nail Grinder

We have always used a nail grinder for the dogs' nails since it gives a smoother finish (no sharp edges!) and substantially reduces the risk of accidentally cutting into the quick. When preparing for traveling full-time, we knew we wanted to get a rechargeable one so we wouldn't have to worry about packing lots of spare batteries or finding an outlet whenever we needed to trim their nails. This nail grinder is incredibly quiet and is a bit lower powered than some others we have used, giving it less of a vibrating feel that can bother some dogs. It does take a little bit more time than some of the higher powered grinders, but this one has worked well for our dogs' tiny nails. Best of all, it's the first one that Mondo loves! He has always had ticklish little toes and doesn't really like having his feet touched, but he doesn't mind this nail grinder one bit!

Rechargeable Cordless Dog Hair Clippers

We also wanted to switch to cordless hair clippers for Mondo and this one was has worked well. My favorite part about it is that it has an incredibly long battery life. In all the times I've used it, it has never run out of charge or even started slowing down! The body and packaging does feel a bit cheap, but the clippers do a great job giving Mondo a smooth, clean haircut, which is the most important part anyways. 

Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets (Dog Sunscreen)

If you're looking for a dog-specific sunscreen, this one has worked well for Penny's sensitive skin. With her super short hair, she always needs sunscreen on bright, sunny days. We used this in combination with regular sunscreen. 


The Amazon product links above are affiliate links. That means that if you click through and purchase the item within 24hrs (it costs you nothing extra) we get a little bit of the proceeds. If you enjoy what we do, shopping through these links is a great way to help support our filming and uploading costs.