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How To Kayak With Your Dog

Kayaks with Dogs

Kayaks with Dogs

Abigail Scott

Abigail Scott
Mother, Professional Kayaker, and Software Engineer

Updated on 1/28/2023

When you can kayak with your best friend, kayaking is a great sport and an excellent activity. You may not realize that taking your dog for a paddle is not as simple as you think, and some preparation work needs to be done beforehand. Throughout this guide, we will outline the things you need to consider, like which kayak seat for dog, and keep an eye out to ensure your dog's kayaking experience is positive. 

Kayaking With Your Dog: Factors To Consider

There is no such thing as a perfect dog or kayak.  A kayak that is the right size for your dog is essential, or else your dream day will turn into a nightmare.

Choose The Right Kayak Size

Kayaking vessels come in different sizes, and it is up to you to Choose The Right Kayak size that will be best for you and your dog. If your dog is large or medium in size, you may want to consider a tandem kayak. Increasing the size of a kayak's deck may seem unnecessary for smaller dogs, but it is easier to restrict a dog's movement on a kayak. Bigger is better in this regard.

You Should Train Your Dog

You will reduce stress considerably by training your dog to obey basic commands when you launch your kayak and when you are on the water. Dog training doesn't have to be restricted to the water, and use your kayak at home to train your dog. A few good training videos are available online to help you teach your dog better discipline when you are out on the water.

Teaching My Dog How To Kayak

Have All The Dog Accessories You Need

Just as you need the right gear for kayaking, so does your dog. A bowl of fresh water and fresh water for your dog is essential. Just as humans shouldn't drink seawater, neither should your dog. A dog life jacket is a suitable PFD (personal flotation device). Almost all dogs are instinctively able to swim, but if the weather gets rough and there are swells, getting your dog back onto your kayak could be a challenge. When you send them a PDF, this will provide you with peace of mind and ensure their safety. Follow their lead. When launching your yak, you can also use this to keep them on short information if they become scared or wrestle.

Time Of Day To Kayak With Your Dog

Make sure you pay close attention to the weather and time of day when you decide to take your buddy out on the water. Consider your surroundings as well. A good time is usually early in the morning when the sun is not as hot. It would be best if your dog had fewer distractions or things to excite or upset him during the morning when the waterway is busier. Ultimately, you will know your dog best, and the more often you go out with them, the better you will understand their needs.

Can Your Dog Kayak?

You must ensure that your dog is suitable for kayaking before investing in a kayak that can accommodate him. Not all dogs enjoy being in the water, and dogs that are puppies should be pretty easy to train and get used to sports. You may face an uphill battle if your dog is a few years old and has never been in the ocean or on a boat.

Kayaking is not suitable for every dog. You must understand that before embarking on a kayaking expedition with your dog. The breed does not matter in this regard, however. What matters is how your dog behaves. It is essential to determine your pet's personality before allowing it to venture into the water, as some dogs do not enjoy the water as much as others do.

Safely Kayak with Your Dog

Safely Kayak with Your Dog

If you want to determine if your dog is kayak-ready, consider the following factors.

Consider Your Dog's Temperament And Personality

Temperament and personality are crucial when kayaking for your safety and that of your pet. Assess whether your dog is outgoing and adventurous enough to try new things. Since the entire adventure involves sitting without playing for long hours, assess the dog's temperament. To avoid accidents with your dog, you might want to consider training it first if it is very playful and eager to jump up and down on the water.

Consider Your Dog's Health Before Taking It Kayaking 

The purpose of kayaking with your dog is to have a relaxing and enjoyable experience, but it might be stressful for both of you to get to that point. You should first consult your veterinarian before going kayaking with a buddy. Examine your dog for any possible health issues that may interfere.

What Is The Best Kayak For Your Dog?

Some great articles can help you choose the best kayak for your dog, but here are some things to consider.

Type Of Kayak

Kayaks come in two main types, sit in and sit on. Getting a sit-in kayak is not the best idea if you have a medium- to large-sized dog. Their movement will be restricted in the enclosure, leading to overheating. Air will flow freely through the sit-on-top variety, allowing them to spread out and move around more easily.  

Dexter likes to kayak - Funny dogs video


Kayaks can be made of various materials, but because your dog's claws are sharp, especially if they are puppies, they will chew, bite, and nibble on them. Materials such as polyurethane, polycarbonate, or PCV are optimal. Kayaks that can withstand the rigors of a dog passenger are available, but they are expensive.


Dogs will have a better experience on the water if the kayak is stable. Dogs will feel unsafe on a vessel that rocks effortlessly and will be anxious and skittish. A yak's stability in the water affects its speed, so the more stable the yak, the slower the yak is. It is a small price to pay for your furry friend's safety. Kayaks for fishing or recreational purposes make good choices when selecting a kayak for your dog. Kayaks for fishing are usually designed for stability and are typically more spacious and customizable than other kayak styles.

Whatever you do, don't choose a kayak suited to rafting whitewater!

Kayaking With Your Dog: Dos And Don'ts

It is imperative to know the appropriate behavior to follow when kayaking with your dog after preparing your dog for kayaking and settling on a kayaking date. While out kayaking with your dog, there are a few things you will need to pay attention to or avoid.

Food And Water Should Be Carried

You can keep your dog engaged and happy while on the water by rewarding desired behaviors with treats. Make sure to carry enough water for your dog. Due to their lack of sweating, they will become hot and thirsty if the sun beats down.

Start Slowly

It would be best to start with short trips, no more than 20 minutes when kayaking with your dog.  Spend some time on the water after short, successful trips.  

Sunscreen Is A Must

The sun will burn your dog, especially on exposed skin and the nose. Despite their dislike of sunscreen, protect them with it.  

Poop Bags Should Be Taken

You may not be able to let your dog out before you get underway.  Keep a poop bag on hand at all times.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to take my dog kayaking?
What kind of kayak is best for kayaking with a dog?
Can I bring my dog on a guided kayak tour?
How should I train my dog for kayaking?
How can I keep my dog safe while kayaking?
Can all dog breeds go kayaking?