Ferry Travels with Dogs: A Guide

Heading out on a ferry adventure with your furry best friend? Before you set sail, it’s crucial to get familiar with the pet policies that ferry services put in place. Travelling with a pet requires a bit more planning, but don’t fret—once you understand the ins and outs of the ferry’s rules, you’ll be smooth sailing. From knowing if you need to book a pet reservation to having the right documents, we’ll ensure your pup is prepped and ready for the voyage. Plus, we’ll share savvy tips to make the ferry ride pleasant for both you and your canine companion, making your journey an enjoyable experience from start to finish.

Understanding Ferry Pet Policies

Traveling by Ferry with Your Dog: Understanding Pet Policies

Embarking on a ferry trip with your furry friend? It’s essential to be aware of the common pet policies that could affect your journey. Ferry companies have guidelines in place to ensure a smooth sail for you and your dog. So, before you hit the high seas, let’s dive into what you need to know.

Ferry Pet Policy Basics

  • Pet-Friendly Areas: Many ferries have dedicated spaces for pets. These could include pet lounges, kennels, or specific outdoor decks. Always keep your dog on a leash or in a carrier when in common areas.
  • Tickets for Pets: Some services may require you to purchase a ticket for your dog. Check in advance to avoid surprises at the terminal.
  • Documentation: Have your dog’s papers in order. This includes up-to-date vaccination records, any necessary pet passports, and identification tags.
  • Travel Containers: Depending on the ferry service, your dog may need to remain in a carrier or a vehicle during the voyage. Make sure your dog’s crate is comfortable and secure for the duration.
  • Reservation Requirements: Book your dog’s spot in advance. Space for pets can be limited, so it’s crucial to reserve early to guarantee a place for your pup.
  • Behavior Rules: Only well-behaved dogs that can handle the bustling environment of a ferry are good candidates for ferry travel. Aggressive or excessively noisy dogs may not be allowed on board.

Leash and Muzzle Policies

  • Leash: Always keep your dog on a leash in public spaces. Short leashes are preferred to avoid tripping fellow passengers.
  • Muzzle: Some ferries require dogs to wear muzzles. Even if your dog is friendly, a muzzle may be necessary for the safety and comfort of all passengers.

Comfort and Safety Considerations

  • Comfort Breaks: Check if the ferry offers areas for your dog to relieve themselves. If not, ensure your dog has a chance to go before boarding.
  • Food and Water: Bring your dog’s food and a water bowl, especially for longer crossings. Keep your pet hydrated and comfortable.
  • Sea Sickness: Just like humans, dogs can get seasick. Speak to your vet about sea sickness remedies if your dog hasn’t traveled by ferry before.
  • Health Conditions: For pets with health issues, consult your vet to confirm if ferry travel is safe for them.

By understanding and planning according to ferry pet policies, you can make ferry travel a positive experience for you and your dog. Remember, regulations may vary between ferry services, so always check the specific rules of the ferry company you’ll be using. With proper preparation, you and your pup will be all set to enjoy the voyage together!

Image of a dog on a ferry, enjoying the journey with the owner

Preparing Your Dog for the Ferry Journey

Ensuring Your Dog’s Ferry Ride Is Comfortable and Stress-Free

Pack Familiar Items: To ensure your dog feels at home on the ferry, bring along their favorite toy, blanket, or bed. Familiar scents can vastly reduce stress and provide a sense of security.

Desensitize to New Experiences: Before your trip, spend some time acquainting your dog with experiences similar to ferry travel. This can include short trips in a car carrier if they’ll be in one on the ferry, or just getting them used to being in a confined space.

Exercise Before Boarding: Take your dog for a walk before getting on the ferry. A properly exercised dog is typically calmer and more relaxed, making the ferry ride smoother for both of you.

Practice Good Behavior: Reinforce commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ in the weeks leading up to your trip. Being able to control your dog among distractions is crucial for a stress-free journey.

Comfortable Restraint: Ensure that any harness or leash used is comfortable for your dog. If they aren’t used to a muzzle and it’s required, spend time getting them comfortable with wearing one beforehand.

Sense of Calm: Dogs often mirror their owner’s emotions. Stay calm and upbeat to help your dog feel secure. If you’re anxious, your dog might pick up on your feelings and become stressed.

Check Your Timing: Try to schedule the ferry trip during a time when your dog is typically at rest, such as their usual naptime. Traveling during their normal active hours might increase their restlessness.

Provide a Sturdy Container: If your dog will travel in a travel container, make sure it’s sturdy, secure, and large enough for them to stand and turn around comfortably. Familiarize your dog with the container prior to travel.

Offer a Light Meal: A couple of hours before boarding, give your dog a light meal to prevent hunger but minimize the risk of an upset stomach. Always have water available, especially on longer trips.

Monitor Your Dog: Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior during the ferry ride. Look for signs of stress like pacing or whining and provide reassurance and comfort as needed.

Encourage Quiet Time: Bring along a chew toy or a treat-dispensing puzzle to keep your dog quietly occupied during the ride if they become restless.

Safety First: Always follow the ferry’s safety guidelines. This could mean keeping your dog in the designated pet area or restricting them to a specific part of the vessel.

Consider Motion Sickness: If your dog is prone to motion sickness, consult your vet about appropriate remedies or medications to make their journey comfortable.

By following these straightforward steps, you will help make the ferry ride an uneventful part of your adventure together. Keep in mind that every dog is unique, and what works best can vary, so adapt these steps as needed for your furry friend. Safe travels!

A happy dog sitting on a ferry boat, looking out at the ocean with its ears flapping in the wind

Onboard Etiquette and Safety Measures

Navigating Noise and Crowds

Ferries can get noisy and crowded, which can be unsettling for your dog. To ensure a smoother ride, get your dog accustomed to such environments in small doses before your trip. Once on board, find a less-trafficked spot to help keep your dog calm. Be ready to reassure your pup with a soothing voice or gentle petting if they seem anxious.

Clean Up After Your Dog

Just like at home or in a park, it is crucial to clean up after your pet. Always carry a supply of waste bags on the ferry trip, and dispose of your dog’s waste in designated trash bins. Maintaining cleanliness isn’t just courteous to other passengers; it’s part of being a responsible pet owner.

Emergency Procedures

Understand the ferry’s emergency procedures for pets. Familiarize yourself with the locations of life jackets, including those for your dog if available, and the pet-specific muster stations. Keep your dog close and remain vigilant so you can respond quickly if an emergency arises.

Respect Other Passengers

While your dog might be a model of good behavior, remember that not everyone is comfortable around pets. Respect personal space by keeping your dog close to you, particularly when your dog is on a leash. Give others the right of way to avoid any potential discomfort or tripping hazards.

Stay Alert and Attentive

Throughout the ferry ride, it’s important to stay attentive to your dog’s needs and behaviors. An alert owner can prevent issues before they escalate. If your dog shows signs of restlessness or discomfort, gently redirect their attention with a toy or a command they know well.

Handling Barking or Whining

If your dog starts to bark or whine, address the behavior calmly but firmly. Use quiet commands they’re familiar with, like “quiet” or “settle.” Reward your dog when they comply. This helps ensure a peaceful journey not just for you and your pet, but for everyone on board.

Personal Space and Boundaries

Teach your dog to respect personal boundaries on the ferry. Introduce a ‘place’ command that instructs your dog to stay in a designated spot, such as a mat or a bed you’ve brought along. This helps prevent your dog from roaming and ensures they remain in the allowed pet-friendly zones.


Ferry travel with your dog should be safe and enjoyable. Keeping a checklist of these onboard etiquette and safety measures ensures a smooth journey. With thoughtful preparation and a calm demeanor, you and your canine companion can look forward to a pleasant trip on the waves. Safe travels, and enjoy your ferry ride with your furry friend by your side!

A dog sitting inside a ferry cabin, looking out of the window with excitement.

Now that you’ve got the scoop on ferry travel with your four-legged pal, you’re all set for a stress-free journey across the water. A little bit of preparation goes a long way—whether it’s getting your pup used to a carrier or knowing the drill for onboard etiquette. So, pack up those doggie essentials, double-check you’ve got everything covered, and embark on your next nautical excursion with confidence. Safe travels and smooth seas ahead for you and your favorite furry friend!






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