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Paddling Pups: A Guide to Kayaking with Your Dog

Kayaks with Dogs

Kayaks with Dogs

Updated on 2/20/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott

Kayaking is a fun and adventurous way to enjoy the water, and it's even better when you can bring your furry friend along for the ride. As more people are discovering the joy of kayaking with their dogs, the demand for kayaks and accessories specifically designed for this purpose is increasing. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of kayaking with your dog and provide helpful tips for modifying your kayak to accommodate your four-legged companion. We'll also review some of the best kayaks and accessories for kayaking with dogs to help you find the perfect setup for you and your pup. So, let's dive in!


Paddle Pups: Preparing Your Kayak for Your Furry Friend

it's important to ensure that your furry friend is safe and comfortable on the water. One key factor to consider is how to prepare your kayak for your dog. In this article, we will discuss some tips for modifying your kayak and choosing the right equipment to ensure that your dog has a great time on the water.

Modifying your kayak to accommodate your dog

If you already have a kayak and want to bring your dog along, there are a few modifications you can make to ensure their safety and comfort. First, you may want to consider adding some non-slip padding to the bottom of the kayak to prevent your dog from slipping and sliding around. Additionally, you can add a bungee cord or other secure tie-downs to keep your dog's gear in place. Finally, if you have a sit-on kayak, you can add a crate or other container for your dog to sit in.

Choosing a kayak with enough room for your dog

If you're in the market for a new kayak and plan on kayaking with your dog, there are a few things to consider. First, you'll want to make sure that the kayak is large enough to accommodate both you and your dog comfortably. Look for kayaks with a weight capacity that will accommodate both you and your dog, and consider getting a kayak with a wider beam to provide more stability. You may also want to look for kayaks with a flat deck or open cockpit, which will provide more room for your dog to move around.

Options for adding a dog seat to your kayak

If your kayak doesn't come with a designated dog seat, there are a few options available. Some kayakers choose to simply place a towel or blanket on the bottom of the kayak for their dog to sit on. However, there are also specific dog seats available that attach to the kayak and provide more support and stability for your furry friend. Some of these seats even come with a built-in leash attachment to keep your dog secure.

Benefits of inflatable kayaks for dogs

Inflatable kayaks can be a great option for kayaking with your dog, especially if you have a larger dog. They offer more stability and are less likely to tip over, which can be a concern with a wiggly pup on board. Additionally, inflatable kayaks are easy to pack and transport, making them a great option for kayaking with your dog on the go.

Teaching My Dog How To Kayak


Training Your Dog for Kayaking

Kayaking with your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it's important to make sure your furry friend is comfortable and safe on the water. Before hitting the waves, you'll want to take the time to train your dog for kayaking. Here are some important steps to follow:

  • Building your dog's confidence with movement: To start, it's a good idea to train your dog on land before hitting the water. This will help build your dog's confidence and prepare them for the unstable surface of a kayak. Begin by simply rewarding your dog for watching you rock the kayak, and gradually work up to your dog touching the kayak and eventually getting in. You can also work on developing your dog's self-control on other wobbly surfaces.
  • Teaching your dog where to stay on the kayak: Your dog will need a designated spot to stay on the kayak while on the water. Depending on the size of your dog and the type of kayak you have, there are various options for placement. A sit-on kayak typically allows for more space, and most dogs will naturally lie down when they relax. During training, reward your dog for staying in the chosen position to reinforce that location.
  • Getting your dog comfortable with your paddling: The motion of your paddling can be unfamiliar and even frightening to your dog, so it's important to introduce them to it gradually. Start by introducing the paddle and pairing it with rewards, and then work up to having your dog on the kayak with you while you begin to paddle. Keep things positive and fun for your dog.
  • Teaching your dog to love their life jacket: Your dog should always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while kayaking. To get your dog comfortable with their PFD, start by finding one that fits well and allows for fluid motion from the shoulder. Introduce the life jacket before hitting the water by letting your dog wear it around the house, taking them for walks in it, and so on. It's also important to get your dog comfortable swimming in the PFD.

By following these training steps, you can ensure your dog is comfortable and safe on your kayaking adventures together.


Kayaking with Your Dog

Kayaking with your dog can be a fun and exciting adventure, but it's important to select the right kayak and take necessary safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend.

Selecting the best kayak for kayaking with your dog

When choosing a kayak for kayaking with your dog, consider the size and weight of your dog, as well as the amount of gear you'll be carrying. A sit-on-top kayak is typically the best choice for dogs, as it provides more space and stability. Look for a kayak with a weight capacity that can accommodate your weight, your dog's weight, and any gear you'll be bringing along. It's also important to consider the length and width of the kayak, as a wider kayak will provide more stability and balance.

Tips for kayaking with large dogs

If you have a large dog, it's important to make sure they have enough space to move around and get comfortable. A sit-on-top kayak with a large cockpit is usually the best choice, as it provides ample room for your dog. You can also add a dog bed or cushion to make the kayak more comfortable for your furry friend. Make sure to also bring along plenty of water and treats to keep your dog hydrated and energized during your kayaking adventure.

Safety precautions to take when kayaking with your dog

Before heading out on the water with your dog, make sure to take necessary safety precautions. Make sure your dog is wearing a properly fitting life jacket, and be sure to bring along a leash in case you need to control your dog or pull them back into the kayak. You should also keep a first aid kit on board in case of any accidents or injuries.

Reviews of kayaks for dogs

When looking for a kayak suitable for kayaking with your dog, it's important to read reviews and get recommendations from other dog owners who have already tried kayaking with their furry friends. Look for kayaks with features such as a large cockpit, comfortable seating, and plenty of storage space for your gear and your dog's gear. Some popular kayaks for dogs include the Perception Tribe 9.5, the Old Town Vapor 10, and the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100.

With the right kayak, proper training, and necessary safety precautions, kayaking with your dog can be a fun and memorable experience that you and your furry friend can enjoy together.


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

  • Pack Food and Water for Your Pooch: Reward them with treats and keep them hydrated while on the water.
  • Start Slow and Steady: Begin with short trips, no more than 20 minutes, and gradually increase the duration.
  • Protect Your Pup from the Sun: Apply sunscreen to exposed skin and nose to prevent sunburn.
  • Don't Forget the Poop Bags: Be prepared for bathroom breaks with a bag to clean up after your dog.
  • Secure Your Dog on the Kayak: Use a proper restraint or a dog seat to keep your pet safe and stable on the kayak.
  • Bring a Life Jacket: Ensure your dog's safety by fitting them with a properly-sized canine life jacket.
  • Choose the Right Kayak: Look for a kayak with enough space and stability for your dog.
  • Follow Local Rules and Regulations: Check for any specific rules or regulations regarding dogs on the water in your area.
  • Keep Your Dog Calm: Practice relaxation techniques to keep your dog calm and prevent them from jumping out of the kayak.
  • Plan for Emergencies: Have a plan in case of emergency, including a first aid kit and a way to call for help if needed.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to take my dog kayaking?

Kayaking with a dog can be a fun and safe activity as long as proper precautions are taken. Make sure your dog is comfortable around water and wearing a life jacket. It's also important to have a kayak that can accommodate your dog comfortably.

What kind of kayak is best for kayaking with a dog?

A sit-on-top kayak is generally the best option for kayaking with a dog as it provides more space for your dog to move around and allows for easy access in and out of the kayak.

Can I bring my dog on a guided kayak tour?

It depends on the tour company's policies, but most guided kayak tours do not allow dogs. It's important to check with the tour company before booking to make sure your dog is allowed.

How should I train my dog for kayaking?

It's important to start small and gradually work up to longer kayaking trips. Start by getting your dog comfortable around water and in a kayak before going on longer trips. It's also important to make sure your dog is well-behaved and can follow commands while on the water.

How can I keep my dog safe while kayaking?

Make sure your dog is wearing a properly fitting life jacket and keep an eye on the weather and water conditions. Keep your dog close to the kayak and make sure they don't jump out. It's also important to bring enough water and food for your dog.

Can all dog breeds go kayaking?

Most dog breeds can go kayaking, but it's important to take into consideration the size and energy level of your dog. Some larger breeds may be too big for a kayak, and some smaller breeds may not have the stamina for a long kayaking trip.