Today is Kai’s birthday and we thought we’d celebrate by doing what we love most – talking (or rather writing) about our little doggo. We often get asked a lot of questions about Kai, from how we found him to how he fares as a boat dog. So here’s a quick little intro to the life of Kai as a boat dog as well as some ideas to have “a greener dog” for those who are interested.
Becoming a boat dog
Kai came to us from a sweet and caring couple living on this picturesque little farm, where Kai had spent the first 8 weeks of his life sleeping in a warm stable and spending his days playing with his siblings and parents on the grass. I couldn’t imagine a better start to life for a puppy than that.
Now, we would actually have loved to adopt a dog. But we decided against it because a) we feared an older dog might not be able to adapt to our lifestyle so well, and b) uncertainty about the breed of an adopted dog was too risky for us, as we feared the puppy could grow too large for our very limited space on the boat. But if you are thinking of getting a dog, please consider adopting – these are the websites we were looking at:
- Find din nye hund, kat eller smådyr hos os – Dyreværnet (dyrevaernet.dk)
- Adopter et dyr | Dyrenes Beskyttelse
- Hunde til adoption | New Hope Denmark
- Hund Adopter Gadehund Hund fra udlandet | Love Paws Rescue
As we decided against adopting a dog (for now), we quickly got our hearts set on finding a Danish Swedish farmdog for a number of reasons, incl. appropriate size for a boat, easy to train (good for dog-owner newbies), an agreeable temperament, i.e. they are quite active dogs, but can also easily find calm when the situation calls for it, and last but not least, we’ve heard that this particular breed fared well on boats.
Kai has been a full-time boat dog since he was 8 weeks old and living on a boat is therefore all he knows really, and he has turned out to be the perfect little boat dog. He loved living in Tuborg Harbour where he had plenty of friends – other puppies, the harbour crew and our sweet neighbours – but he seems to also love the full-time cruising life now. After all there’re always a new place to explore and his humans are by his side 24/7.
Questions we’re asked most frequently sailing and living on a sailboat with a dog
To be fair, as Kai is just 1 year old now and we haven’t been sailing that long we’re much still rookies at boat dog parenting. But this is our experience so far.
- Where does he do his number 1 and 2? Kai prefers to do his business onshore (so he can mark his latest territory obvs.), but he also goes on deck, which we can easily rinse with a bucket of water.
- Does he get seasick? No so far he hasn’t shown any signs of seasickness, which is a huge relief for us.
- How does he stay active and play with such little space? We take him for walks several times a day, including a longer one, and make sure to take the time to play with him (on land or just inside the boat).
- How much has the state of Dory Man deteriorated since the enlistment of a four-legged crewmember? We’ve lost a bit of the old carpet and there are the occasional teeth marks in the wood. But overall we’ve been really lucky as Kai has only pursued to destroy easily replaceable items – pillows, blankets, Pernille’s favourite jumpers and a bra (Casanova).
- What if he gets sick while you’re sailing? Luckily, we have a very sweet veterinarian who prescribed various medications, so we’re equipped for (hopefully) every possible scenario.
- Isn’t it administratively difficult to travel between countries with a dog? Yes and no. In EU once you have your paper work in order it is pretty easy. Kai is chipped, has all his vaccinations and a pet passport. Some countries may demand about worm treatments as well as you declaring his entry to customs, so one should of course always look up the specific requirements for each country. But in general it’s quite easy. to travel with a dog in the EU – especially in comparison to Australia, where your dog will be quarantined for three months!
- Does he like sailing? Depends on the conditions, but in general he is okay with sailing. In rougher weather he will just sleep the time away. But we think he has learned by now that whenever we go sailing, there’s a new awesome destination to explore at the end of it.
- Is it safe to sail with a dog? We’ve taken precautions such as a well-stocked medicine cabinet, safety vest and installed a net under the railing. But yes, we find it is just as safe for the dog to go sailing as it is for us.
- Does he like the water? Nope! Kai is not a waterdog at all – you will be amazed by the stunts he can perform just to avoid a puddle. We actually find it quite practical, as we avoid having to deal with him jumping in and out of the water all the time. It’s safer for him and for our cushions.
- How can it be “green” to have a dog? That is a complicated question to answer, but we would say that although pets tends to have a negative climate footprint, a dog also brings about many positives as well that shouldn’t be dismissed. In the box below we’ve written some of our suggestions for how to have “a greener dog” by minimising it’s (or rather yours as the owner) footprint.
- Respect their natural dietary requirements. Dogs are omnivores – so they live well off a diet containing both plants and meat – a natural flexitarian if you will. We find that the best way to make his diet more climate friendly is to source the proper products, e.g. sometimes we cook him a dish of rice and chicken from the best sources available. It is very hard to find pre-processed dog food, where the ingredients are properly sourced . Someone should fill that gap in the market.
- Choose biodegradable pooh bags we really like these from Whesco Eco Venlig Høm Høm poser 4 x 15 med håndtag – Høm Høm poser & dispensere – Whesco Trading and you can also buy cheap ones from Normal in Denmark, Hundemad & kattemad – Se vores store udvalg af hundelegetøj | NORMAL
- Look for 2nd hand gear for your dog, like this amazing shop in Copenhagen https://www.facebook.com/2ndpawKBH/
- Find more eco-friendly toys. Dog toys often have very limited longevity, so choose wisely. It’s lot of plastic, but there are brands out there, which tries to produce a fun toy for the dog out of less harmful materials.
- Reuse and repurpose. Kai has had two beds and he destroyed them both almost as quickly as he eliminates his toys. We’ve therefore repurposed old blankets instead, and he loves it. We also repurpose our old ropes to make him toys and leashes.
Please write if you read this and have some tips you’d like to share with us or have any follow up questions.