Dod was commissioned lieutenant on 26 February 1760, and whilst in this rank he commanded the schooner Diligent 10 at Halifax in 1776 before she was wrecked on the Gannet Rocks in the Bay of Fundy whilst escorting transports with forage for the cavalry on 17 May 1777. Having been exonerated of any blame for her loss he was appointed to the prize American brig Cabot 14 by Vice-Admiral Lord Howe in June 1777, taking his crew with him and reading himself in on 8 August at Halifax. He was subsequently promoted commander on 12 November 1778.
Dod fought under the orders of Captain Sir James Wallace at the Battle of Cancale Bay on 13 May 1779 where a small French force was driven inshore and defeated. As a reward he was posted captain on 18 May, being ordered to commission the Siren 24 at Sheerness and remaining with her until November of the following year. He then commanded the Lizard 28 which patrolled the North Sea during 1780 in search of the American privateer captain, John Paul Jones.
After going out to the Leeward Islands in March 1781 the Lizard saw service as a repeating frigate at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April 1781, and she later visited Jamaica. She captured the French cutter Espion 16 off St. Kitts, and was present although not involved in the action at the Battles of St. Kitts on 25/26 January 1782 and the Saintes on 12 April 1782. After returning home she was paid off in September at Deptford.
During the peace, from October 1787 until the late summer of 1790, Dod commanded the frigate Lowestoft 32, seeing duty in the Channel and Mediterranean, and being present at the King’s Naval Review of Plymouth on 18 August 1789.
In September 1792 he commissioned the new Charon 44, going out to Africa that November and paying her off in September 1793. He recommissioned the Dictator 64 in the same month, again being employed off Africa and she eventually returned home from the West Indies during 1794.
Dod recommissioned the Atlas 98 in the spring of 1795, and on 7 April 1796 sat on the court-martial of Vice-Admiral Hon. William Cornwallis which investigated that officer’s failure to sail for the Leeward Islands. He then served in Rear-Admiral Henry Harvey’s small squadron that was detached from the Channel fleet to search off Cape Clear for a Dutch squadron that eventually capitulated in Saldanah Bay on 17 August. In December the Atlas went aground at Spithead during the Christmas Day gale that disrupted the sailing of the Channel fleet to meet the French threat to Ireland, this accident being symptomatic of that particular fleet’s failings. He nevertheless continued with her through to his elevation to flag rank.
On 20 February 1797 he was promoted rear-admiral, being immediately senior on the list to Sir Horatio Nelson, and he was created a vice-admiral on 1 January 1801 and an admiral on 18 April 1808.
Admiral Dod died on 22 December 1815 at Bedford Circus, Exeter, Devon.
His wife, Charlotte Maria, died on 1 December 1808 and their son, Captain Michael Dod, died on 7 November 1815 at the age of 37.