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How to safely fish with your dog

Cheeky Endorsed Guide Will Mook's puppy Rangeley meets her first brook trout

Fishing with your dog is one of those things that on the surface seems just about perfect. It's a combination of many angler's favorite things - fishing, the outdoors, being on the water, warmer days, and of course, dogs. And while fishing with your furry friend can be an absolute joy, it can also quickly turn into disaster for you, your pup, and other anglers on the water if you're not careful. We've broken down a few important things to consider before you take fido to the river.


Whether you're in a boat, wading a river, or fishing from shore, obedience is the most important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to take your pup fishing. For most dogs, the outdoors represents an opportunity to release their energy, frolic, and explore the abundance of new sights and smells. If you're not confident in your pup's ability to calmly sit in a boat for two hours, remain by your side on the river, or leave that smelly bait bucket that belongs to the angler 40 yards downstream alone, then don't take them fishing.

Make sure your dog is comfortable remaining by your side for long stretches before embarking on any fishing outing. Photo via Whitney Harchenko

Life jackets save lives

The vision of a dog wearing a life jacket may seem silly to some, but the simple fact is that dog life jackets save lives. Regardless of how strong of a swimmer you think your pup is, falling overboard or getting swept off in a current can cause even the most skilled aquatic dog to panic. Always err on the side of caution when taking your dog fishing. 

"Pup proof" your gear

There are also many things you can do as anglers to make fishing safer for your dog. One of the most important has to do with your hooks. Loose hooks can be stepped on, rolled in, or worse, ingested. Be a responsible angler and keep your dog away from all hooks. Also, always make sure to check that they're out of the way before casting, and never use barbed hooks when fishing around your dog.

Remove barbs and always look before you cast

Bring water and take breaks

Hooks aren't the only danger to your dog on the water, overheating on a sunny summer day can happen quickly and suddenly. Always bring plenty of water and a bowl for your dog, and if you notice he or she starting to get uncomfortable, let them stretch their legs and relieve themselves. 

Bring treats and make it fun for them too!

Your dog won't be admiring your backcasting skills or counting how many topwater strikes you get, so make sure you take steps to make it an enjoyable outing for them as well. Bring treats to help reinforce good behavior, and always take the time at the beginning or the end of the trip to let them do a little exploring of their own. It'll go a long way in making sure the trip is an enjoyable one for everyone involved.

Fishing with your dog is one of the most idyllic situations you can have on the water. However, ensuring a happy and safe day of fishing requires a great deal of effort and responsibility. The reward, however, is totally worth it. 

Planning to fish with your dog this year?

Make sure they look the part with super comfortable and odor-resistant dog collars and leashes from Cheeky's sister brand, Wingo Belts.

Click here to shop Wingo Belts Dog Products.