Image source Celebrity Dachshund.

Lately, we’ve been seeing cute images of pups on board yachts on Instagram, and wondering, how do you make that happen?! So we thought we’d get in contact with superyacht vet Dr. Siobhan Brade from the Superyacht Veterinary Service, who told us that it’s actually more straightforward than you might think. Here’s what she had to say.

Ahoy Captain!

Having a pet on board is a rewarding experience for both owner and crew but to make it an easy process it is better to plan ahead!

An important part of this is paperwork for the import and export of a dog or cat (or any other pet!) as you cruise from country to country. Certain documents, vaccinations, and parasite treatments are a minimum with even the most straightforward import regulations. However with many countries imposing far stricter importation rules, ensuring your pet is compliant can quickly become complicated, especially when cruising from country to country. This is something that shouldn’t put anyone off travelling with their pet, but my advice would always be to plan ahead and to use Superyacht Veterinary Service (SVS) to take care of the paperwork and let you know what treatments, tests, and documents are needed, and when – in doing so to avoiding any last minute panics and costly itinerary changes.

Looking comfy!

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On the health side of things, it is important to know how to look after your four-legged friend on board. Animal first aid training is something SVS can train crew on, so if ever there was an emergency, crew would know what to do prior to the arrival of a vet. SVS also supplies veterinary first aid kits, having one of these on board ensures the appropriate supplies are on hand at all times, no matter how remote the location. For clients, SVS is available for remote or direct care and can supply essential contacts for the areas you are cruising for extra peace of mind.

As yachts are often visiting exotic or remote locations, animals might be exposed to different conditions to back home, and so we also advise on preventative care and of course, safety precautions such as pet life jackets (a must for every four-legged friend on board!).

Pet overboard!

It is important to make the boat a pet-friendly place. In some circumstances, this will involve modifications to the boat itself, for example, the additional of pet-friendly railings to prevent any ‘pet overboard’ situations, or the installation of motion sensor doors that either respond to the dog or prevent them accessing certain areas without human supervision.

And what about toilet time?

Toileting is something I am often asked about, and this depends on both the dog and the cruising plan. Some owners have had real or fake grass installed on the desk for a dog to relieve itself, and in other situations, a regular trip is made on the tender to have a walk on dry land.
Many owners consider their pets as a member of the family and will do all they can to make the experience on yacht as easy as possible for their pet, for example one owner added a modified swim platform for his dog so that they could easily get out of the water after jumping off the boat for a swim.

But it can be plain sailing

When it comes to animal care and cleaning on board, SVS has tried and tested several products that crew’s life easier. Whether its dog beds and toys that fit the aesthetic of a superyacht, or grooming aids to help keep pets clean and boats hair free, we can supply and recommend the best on the market.

It may sound like a lot to consider, but it is actually straightforward, and 100% worth it to both enhance the owner’s experience and for crew moral, who often have pets at home that they love and miss!

Thinking about having animals on board? Get in touch with the Superyacht Veterinary Service.

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