Although both Quincy Dane and Kitty are family, there are challenges to having a large breed dog on a sailboat, most of which are manageable but you need to be willing to do the work-

Firstly, Quincy Dane and Cruising Kitty say…HI…and they hope you are having a great weekend.  Monday (tomorrow) is a holiday in Panama so we wish everyone reading this in Panama the best for the holiday.

Moving on…I may have published a post early in cruising about challenges of life with a Great Dane (large breed dog onboard) but now having been on the boat nearly (5) years and cruising for at least (3) straight years, I think we have a better handle on the challenges of a large breed dog on the boat than we did those years ago.

Cruising with a large breed dog has a myriad of challenges in itself….not even talking about the various places you cannot take the dog, painful paperwork needed or various government regulations that are simply not able to be done in the time limits allowed, cause they are made for animals transiting by plane instead of smaller, slower sailboats.  Then there’s the entire list of countries that dogs cannot go into and then get back into the US without being outside of those said countries for 6 months prior to re-entry into the US.  Not sure how you prove all that, but we’re aware of those regulations too.  Here’s the link to that info:  High Risk Dog Ban, CDC. 

Here’s a few more challenges below:

– I’m not sure about all Great Danes, but Quincy Dane is a family dog who simply likes to be near her pack.  When we all leave the boat, she just doesn’t do well, so one of us is on the boat all the time when Quincy Dane is with us….which is most of the time.

– Long ocean crossings are hard on Quincy Dane because it’s a challenge for her to go on deck and it’s a challenge to sleep in the cockpit when we’re under heel.  We are very aware of these factors and do everything in our power to make life more comfortable for her as we go.

– Like humans, dogs age not matter what their size.  Large breed dogs can have more issues as they age, including mobility.  We watch our Dane closely as there’s lots of jumping and moving around a sailboat, but she’s still spry and doing well with all that.

– If you even need to get a larger dog back to the US, it’s a challenge.  Fortunately, we’ve met a company here in Panama that transports animals all overt the world as their business, so they specialize in the process, but it’s still a challenge to make sure the animal has all the right paperwork, shots, appropriate shelter that will be accepted by an airline and important other factors.  One of these factors is where the dog can be shipped to…have you ever thought through that?  As we did the research for this article, we were a bit shocked to find out that dogs that require shipping (cannot go under the seat of an airline or in a purse) from Panama – (going to the US) can only go into Miami.  Ok…no problem you say…we’ll simply onward ship the animal from there to wherever you want in the US…right?  NOPE- there is no onward shipping that we’ve found from Miami by air.  Perhaps you could arrange ground transport or a pricey private flight or make other private arrangements, but we have found no commercial air options for moving a large breed adult dog around the US from Miami, after they have come in from Panama.  *And to be fair, we didn’t do that much research into getting the dog around the US, not an issue for us so far.

– Wonder about getting a cat back to the US?  We did research on that too and it’s easier.  Certain airlines do allow cats in appropriate cages to go into the cabin of an aircraft as a carry-on item (depending on the airline) as long as that animal and cage can fit under the seat in front of you.  But, not all airlines allow cats and not all airlines allow them on that airline from certain countries because of US regulations.

– In certain countries outside the US, there are also end of life issues that you may not know…but if you have a pet it’s worth researching.  We’ve been to at least one place in Central America where the veterinarian could put a beloved animal family member to sleep but there were no facilities for cremation…so in that case the owners would have to bury the pet themselves.

Kitty sleeps a lot, but she’s not particular where she sleeps as long as she can see things and she’s cute.

We’re NOT animal experts but we have a pretty good handle on having a Great Dane on a sailboat.  Kitty has been with us less than a year and we were not cat people before her, so we’re still figuring all that out.  

LF2SF is a cruising and family travel blog site published entirely from a cruising sailboat in Panama.  We’re still in Panama because we stopped for a bit to do an extended update, improvement and modernization on the boat, doing a combination of our own work and some great work by others.

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