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Best Kayaks For Dogs (2021 Reviews and Guide)

In this post, we will review the best kayaks for dogs.  Taking your pup on a kayak can be a lot of fun, but you need to have the right kayak for the best experience. If you are ready to take your dog on your next kayak adventure, stay tuned.

There are many things to consider when you buy a kayak, especially if you plan on taking your furry friend along.  Things like the size and temperament of your dog can affect your decision on which kayak is best.

In this article, we will review some of the top kayaks for dogs.  After the reviews, we will share what to look for when selecting a kayak for you and your dog.  

Best kayaks for dogs

Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-on-Top Kayak

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak - Sentinel 100X - 9.5 Feet - Lightweight one Person Kayak (EXO Neptune White, Recreational) (MEF10P100-00)
  • Compact 9’6” kayak built for the recreational paddler looking for an easy-to-store kayak with reassuring stability and a comfortable seating system
  • Comes with our new ExoShell 13L removable storage compartment.
  • Made with our patented RAM-X material, an exceptionally durable triple-layer high molecular weight polyethylene, which creates a strong yet conveniently lightweight kayak that comes with a Limited Lifetime on both the deck and hull.
  • Weighing only 42 lb. makes this kayak easy to carry and store. Maximum capacity of 275 lb.
  • Our unique manufacturing process allows us to add additional flotation in the form of foam blocks between the deck and the hull. These foam blocks make the kayak more rigid and ensure paddler safety.

Last update on 2021-05-15 at 15:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features:

Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:275 lbs
Kayak Weight:42 lbs
Length/Width9’6″ x 30″
Material:RAM-X
What’s included?Kayak and seat
Best for: Small/Medium dogs

Review

The Pelican Sentinel 100X is a great kayak for your dog. This is a sit-on-top model, which leaves plenty of space for your pup to roam or lie down.

The kayak is designed for beginners and anglers, so it’s stable and easy to paddle. The twin-arched multi-chine hull is designed for excellent maneuverability and stability.

Pelican built this kayak using patented RAM-X material, which means it is very durable. This kayak can stand up to the demands of having a dog with you. Another feature that makes this kayak dog-friendly is the anti-slip carpet, which helps your pup with its footing.

The ErgoLounge Seating System gives the paddler a nice comfortable ride and there is plenty of legroom.

PROS

Lightweight
Anti-slip carpet included
Durable
Spacious deck for you and your dog

CONS

Does not come with a paddle

Summary

The Pelican Sentinel 100X is one of the best kayaks for dogs because it is spacious, has an anti-slip carpet, is lightweight, and easy to paddle.


Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump, Grey/Blue (68306NP)
  • The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is sporty and fun with a streamlined design for easy paddling
  • The bright green color and sporty graphics make the kayak highly visible in the water
  • 2 86 inch aluminum paddles and an Intex high output pump for easy inflation and deflation
  • Made of company's rugged, super tough vinyl that's puncture and UV damage resistant for long term durability
  • Measures 30 by 15 by 138 inches (W x H x D) inflated, with 400 pound maximum weight limit; Includes 2 86 inch aluminum oars, high capacity pump, and repair patch kit

Last update on 2021-05-15 at 15:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features:

Number of Paddlers:1 or 2
Weight Capacity:400 lbs
Kayak Weight:33.5 lbs
Length/Width11’6″ x 30″
Material:Durable vinyl
What’s included?Kayak, two seats, two paddles, pump, carry bag, removable skep
Best for: Small/Medium dogs

Review

The Intex Challenger K2 is an affordable and popular inflatable kayak. Durable vinyl construction makes this an excellent choice for kayaking with your dog.

This kayak is uniquely designed for either one or two paddlers. This model’s benefit is that if you have a large dog, you can remove one of the seats and paddle solo with your pup.

If your dog is small, you can still enjoy paddling with a partner, and your dog can fit between your legs. You will need to be mindful of the 400-pound weight limit.

There is plenty of open space on this inflatable, which makes it great for gear, and your canine. The Challenger K2 comes with everything you need, including a pump, two paddles, a carry bag, and a removable skeg.

PROS

Lightweight
Easy to transport
Comes with paddles and a pump
You don’t need a rack on your car
Inexpensive

CONS

Not a lot of storage space
Vinyl could puncture

Summary

This is an excellent kayak for dogs because it’s wide, durable, and includes all the accessories you need. If you paddle solo, there is plenty of space for you and your dog. The inflatable kayak is also pretty comfy for your four-legged friend to lay on.


Sea Eagle 370 Pro

Sale
Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles
  • 3 person/650 lb capacity, weighs 32 lbs, suitable for up to Class III whitewater
  • 370 Deluxe Kayak Package features two movable, super comfortable Deluxe Kayak Seats for improved back support and 2 paddles, foot pump, and carry bag
  • 2 AB30 7'10"" 4 Part Paddles with asymmetrical blade and aluminum shaft
  • 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking & speed
  • Open and close drain valve, 5 deluxe 1-way inflation/deflation valves

Last update on 2021-05-15 at 13:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features:

Number of Paddlers:Up to 3
Weight Capacity:650 lbs
Kayak Weight:32 lbs
Length/Width12’6″ x 34″
Material:PolyKrylar
What’s included?Kayak, inflatable seats, two paddles, pump
Best for: All sizes of dogs

Review

The Sea Eagle 370 Pros is a beast. This kayak can handle up to three paddlers and has a weight capacity of up to 650 pounds. One feature that makes this a great kayak for dogs is the removable seats. You can use just one seat and paddle solo, so there is plenty of room for your dog (s).

With a high weight capacity, this kayak is great for large dogs. If you take a large dog, have the dog sit, or lie down toward the bow, it is easier to paddle solo with a heavy payload.

The kayak is made from durable PolyKrylar, so it’s strong enough to withstand paws and toenails. There is plenty of room for the paddler, dog, and gear. You might even be able to do an overnighter.

PROS

Lightweight
Durable construction holds up to paws
Heavy duty carrying capacity
You don’t need a rack on your car
Ideal for larger dogs

CONS

Not super nimble on the water
Vinyl could puncture

Summary

Why is the Sea Eagle 370 Pro one of the best kayaks for dogs? Because it is durable, has a high payload capacity and there is plenty of space for you and your dog (s). It’s also very affordable which makes this kayak a good value.


Lifetime Triton Angler 100

Lifetime Triton Angler 100 Fishing Kayak, Olive Green
  • Stable hull design and integrated skeg for tracking performance
  • Multiple Footrest positions for different size paddlers - 275 lb. Weight capacity
  • Self-bailing scupper holes to drain water from the cockpit and tankwell
  • Tankwell storage with bungee cord lacing to secure loose items
  • Adjustable quick release seat back and seat pad for comfort

Last update on 2021-05-15 at 17:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features:

Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:275 lbs
Kayak Weight:48 lbs
Length/Width10’0″ x 30.5″
Material:High-density polyethylene
What’s included?Kayak and seat (with backrest)
Best for: Small/Medium dogs

Review

The Lifetime Triton Angler 100 is an ideal kayak for small and medium dogs because it has an open deck, with ample room for your buddy to lie down. The kayak is easy to paddle and has an integrated skeg to help the paddler stay on course.

High-density polyethylene means the kayak is durable and will hold up well against paws and teeth (if your canine uses your kayak as a chew toy). It is good to add some grip pads so the pooch doesn’t slip and fall.

If your dog loves to swim, the scupper holes will help drain any water that your dog brings on board. There is plenty of storage behind the seat, and the paddler has different footrest positions to choose from.

PROS

Sit-on-top open cockpit
Storage behind the seat
Multiple footrest positions
Open deck for your dog to roam
Self-draining scupper holes

CONS

Not a lot of storage space
Seat clips tend to break

Summary

The Triton Angler 100 is an excellent kayak for dogs because there is an open deck, scupper holes for water to drain, and it will fit dogs of different sizes. It’s affordable, lightweight, and easy to transport.


Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC FK184

BKC FK184 9' Solo Sit-On-Top Kayak w/Premium Memory Foam Seat -Paddle and Fishing Rod Holders Included
  • THE PERFECT KAYAK FOR OUTDOOR FUN: The Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC FK184 has all the features the solo paddler needs. Whether you're headed out for an afternoon of lake fishing or you're headed downriver on a multi-day adventure, this solo kayak is ready to launch.
  • FULLY LOADED ACCESSORIES: Our kayak comes equipped with a premium memory foam seat, adjustable aluminum paddle, 2 waterproof hatches, 5 rod holders, 2 paddle parks, and 1 bungee cargo tie down. We have all the accessories you need for your next excursion.
  • CRAFTED FOR STABILITY: Our Roto Molded single Piece High density polyethylene material is superior to inflatable kayaks and a capable craft on ocean, lake, or river, while supporting up to 330 lbs. Our kayak is well suited to fishing, navigating swift currents, and even stable enough for standing to cast and reel.
  • BUILT-IN FISHING ROD HOLDERS: The BKC FK184's four flush-mount rod holders and single articulating rod holder keep multiple lines deployed at one time, or just keep the rods out of your way during paddling, making transport easy.
  • WATERPROOF STORAGE: Keep all your valuables dry inside the BKC FK184's 2 watertight storage hatches. With ample watertight storage and a large cargo area, bring along enough supplies for multiple-day adventures. The rear cargo space with bungee cord will hold all of your fishing stuff and outdoor gear.

Last update on 2021-05-15 at 15:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features:

Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:330 lbs
Kayak Weight:44 lbs
Length/Width9′ x 32″
Material:High-density polyethylene
What’s included?Kayak, memory foam seat, paddle, paddle parks
Best for: Small dogs

Review

Brooklyn Kayak Company is a well-known name in the industry. The FK184 is a fishing kayak at heart and is best suited for smaller dogs. The kayak is loaded with accessories that will whet the appetite of many anglers.

The BK184 is on the shorter side at 9 feet long, but the adjustable footrests and open deck will fit your furry friend just fine. If you are an angler, you can have your cake and eat it too with this kayak. Taking man’s best friend on your fishing trip. What could be better?

The kayak is crafted for stability, so much so that you can stand up to cast. You may decide to add some slip padding to the bow to make it easier for your pup to get around without slipping.

Overall, this is a very nimble kayak that is well-priced and fully loaded.

PROS

Loaded with angling accessories
Comes with a paddle
Stable enough to stand up
Self-draining
Waterproof storage

CONS

Small for larger dogs
You might need to add non-slip padding

Summary

The BK184 from Brooklyn Kayak Company is a great option if you want to take a smaller dog when you go fishing. The kayak is stable, well-priced, and nimble, an excellent kayak for dogs.


Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Comfortable for anyone: Kayak includes an adjustable inflatable seat with backrest; Cockpit designed for comfort and space
  • Dimensions: Inflated size 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inch; Maximum weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Directional stability: Removable SKEG for directional stability
  • Increased visibility: In case of emergency, bright yellow color helps visibility
  • Made for smaller bodies of water: Explorer k2 is made for smaller bodies of water including lakes and mild rivers

Last update on 2021-05-15 at 13:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features:

Number of Paddlers:1 or 2
Weight Capacity:400 lbs
Kayak Weight:30.6 lbs
Length/Width10’3″ x 36″
Material:Durable vinyl
What’s included?Kayak, two inflatable seats, pump, two paddles, removable skeg, carry bag
Best for: All sizes of dogs

Review

Here is another affordable inflatable kayak that is great for dogs. The key to the Explorer K2 is that it can be used as a tandem or solo kayak. By removing one of the inflatable seats, you can paddle the kayak solo, and there is plenty of room for a larger dog.

With a 400-pound weight capacity, you might even have space for two paddlers and a small dog. The Explorer K2 is versatile with its configuration.

Inflatable kayaks are appealing because they are easy to transport and don’t require a roof rack or other special equipment. Additional equipment costs you more money.

The Explorer K2 is durable, affordable, and very roomy. If you are paddling alone with your dog, you might be able to go overnight and pack enough gear.

PROS

Comes with all the accessories to get started
Great for one or two paddlers and a dog
Lightweight kayak
Easy to setup and take down

CONS

Not as durable as a hardshell kayak
Does not track super well

Summary

If you are in the market for an affordable, inflatable kayak for your dog, this is a great option. You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a day on the water with your pup.


Perception Sound 10.5

Perception Kayaks Sound 10.5 | Sit Inside Kayak for Fishing and Fun | Two Rod Holders | Large Rear Storage | 10' 6" | Grasshopper
  • The best value in sit-inside kayak fishing for larger paddlers; also great for general recreational use - Made in USA
  • Tri-keel hull creates ultimate stability and smooth steering - great for lakes, ponds, slow-moving rivers and calm coastal waters
  • Extra cushy ergonomic Zone Seat with adjustable backrest for optimal support and comfort
  • Quick-adjust footrests accommodate paddlers of all sizes
  • Dashboard with two mounting points Perception's Solo Mount accessory system (sold separately on Amazon)

Last update on 2021-05-15 at 15:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features:

Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:335 lbs
Kayak Weight:46 lbs
Length/Width10’6″ x 29.5″
Material:High-density polyethylene
What’s included?Kayak only
Best for: Small/Medium dogs

Review

The Sound 10.5 is great for slowing moving rivers, as well as lakes and ponds. The kayak is loaded with features that will please anglers and dog owners. This model is best suited for smaller dogs that will sit between your legs in the cockpit.

The kayak has a good deal of storage behind the seat so that you can take food, drinks, and gear for you and your companion. The kayak is customizable too. You can add accessories, including a fish finder or action camera.

If you are interested in taking your canine with you while you fish, then you are in luck. There are two molded fishing rod holders behind the seat. It might be a little cozy, depending on the size of your dog.

Overall, this is a customizable boat that you and your dog can enjoy.

PROS

Very durable
Plenty of storage
Molded fishing rod holders
Customizable
Tracks well

CONS

No open deck for your dog to lay out
Does not come with a paddle

Summary

Perception kayaks are extremely durable and the Sound 10.5 is no exception. If you are in the market for a stable kayak to take your pup fishing this is worth a look.


How to choose the best dog-friendly kayak

Durability

Kayaks are made from a variety of different materials. Whether you choose a hardshell kayak or an inflatable for you and your dog, the kayak needs to be durable.

If you are the type to “accidentally” drag your kayak across a rocky beach or run smack into a submerged rock or tree stump, a durable kayak will serve you well. 

Durability is even more critical when you have your dog with you.  You have the added elements of dogs toenails and potentially teeth if they decide to use your kayak as a chew toy.

You want a boat that will stand up to the rigors of kayaking, including weather, sun, obstacles, and the nuances your dog adds to the adventure.

Price

There are so many kayaks to choose from, and sometimes it simply comes down to price. You may not want to spend a ton of money on a kayak for you and your dog, and that is something to keep in mind.

If you don’t know how well your dog will like kayaking, you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on the first kayak you purchase. However, if you have experience taking your dog kayaking, you may want to spend a little more on an upgraded model.

Before you break the bank on the best kayak for your dog, it’s good to have an idea if you and your pooch will enjoy the experience.  You may want to start with an inexpensive inflatable kayak to see that works, then upgrade down the road.

Space

When you include the paddler, a cooler, and all of your other gear (not to mention your dog), available space on a kayak is limited and fills up quickly. Make sure the kayak you purchase has plenty of room for all these things.

You need legroom for yourself, and you need some room for your dog to move around.  You don’t want Fido to fall overboard just because there isn’t enough wiggle room.

If you have a large dog, they are going to need their own seat. Many dogs (large or small) like to be close to their owner, especially if they are new to kayaking.  If you have a small dog, there might be enough room in the cockpit for both of you.

Stability

A stable kayak is essential when you have your dog with you. Heck, when you buy a kayak for yourself, you want it to be stable. 

If your dog sits or lays in one position and doesn’t move, that’s great.  But the minute Fido starts to move and walk around, your kayak becomes less stable.

It might be fun to end up in the water, but your dog might not be so keen on that idea.  It can be traumatizing for your pooch to unexpectedly go overboard.

It’s essential to have a kayak with a wide, stable hull, which will make your experience on the water much more enjoyable. Sit-on-top kayaks will generally have a wide, stable hull, great for taking your dog with you. Inflatable kayaks are also very stable.

Weight capacity

It is important to note the weight capacity when you buy a kayak. You can check out this article for detailed information. Every kayak has a maximum load capacity.  Once you include the weight of the paddler and gear, that can add up quickly. 

Also, you will need to take your dog’s weight into account. If you have a large dog, you will need to make sure the vessel can safely support the load you will put in it.  Small dogs won’t be so much of an issue when it comes to the weight limit.

Another thing to keep in mind is to keep the weight evenly distributed. This will help with stability.  If you load up the bow or stern with a lot of weight, your kayak will not be as stable as it is designed to be. 

How big is your dog?

When it comes right down to it, there isn’t a whole lot of space on a kayak. If you are new to the sport of kayaking or have not had your dog out with you before, you may be in for a surprise. 

Be mindful of how big your dog is when looking for the best kayak for dogs.  If you have a large dog, you may want to purchase a tandem kayak, so there is plenty of room for both of you.  If your dog is a small lap dog, then you probably don’t need as much space. 

You will need some space for your dog to move around.  Keep in mind your dog’s size and weight before you jump in with both feet and buy a kayak for your dog. 

Drainage

If your dog likes to swim, you might be in for a very wet day. You might want to choose a kayak that has scupper holes to allow the water to drain out. You can plug the holes if your dog doesn’t get wet.

Best types of kayaks for dogs

There are a lot of kayaks on the market, but not all are good for dogs.  Some are great for speed or traveling long distances, but not so great for taking your four-legged friend with you.

You most likely won’t find a kayak that specifically says it’s suitable for dogs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your canine with you.  Many kayaks are great for dogs; you just need to know what to look for.

Next, we will talk about different types of kayaks that are suitable for your dog. Please note that the different types of kayaks listed below are available in both solo and tandem (two people). For an in-depth look at different types of kayak, click here.

Sit-on-top

Sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks are popular because they are easy to paddle, have plenty of space, and are an excellent option for dogs of all sizes, especially larger dogs.

These kayaks have a completely open deck with plenty of space for gear.  They are easy to get on and off and are typically wide and stable.  Sit-on-top kayaks are popular with anglers, and some are stable enough to stand up and fish.

These boats are an excellent option for folks who want to take their dog kayaking since there is a lot of space for the dog to roam, and there is plenty of legroom for the paddler.  Sit-on-top kayaks have a reasonably wide hull, so they are stable, making them great for dogs.

If you end up in the water, either on purpose or otherwise, SOT kayaks are easy to get back on from the water. This is another good aspect. If your dog ends up on the water, it’s easier to help them back onboard.

Sit inside

Also known as “recreational” kayaks, these are another excellent option, mostly for smaller dogs.  On this type of boat, the paddler sits inside a cockpit. The cockpits are traditionally pretty wide, and the paddler sits lower than a SOT kayak.

The center of gravity is lower with a sit-inside kayak, making them more stable than a SOT.  With a sit-inside, you sacrifice open space for stability.

These types of kayaks are better suited for smaller dogs that can fit in your lap or between your legs.  There is enough legroom to have your pup sit down with you. If your dog is nervous or not quite sure about kayaking, a sit-inside might be a good option since your pup will be very close to you.

Sit inside kayaks are not good for large dogs unless you buy a tandem recreational kayak.

Inflatables

Let the fun begin!  You might be wondering if an inflatable kayak is a good idea with a dog. While it may be a bit risky, you can make it work if you buy a durable kayak and make sure your dog’s nails are trimmed properly.

Inflatable kayaks have come a long way over the years. We are not talking about a pool toy!  With durable vinyl construction, many inflatable kayaks can take a beating.  Plus, your furball will have a comfy place to lay down.

These types of boats are wide, stable, lightweight, and very affordable. Transporting an inflatable kayak is easy since it will fit in the back of a car.  You don’t need a roof rack or other way to transport the boat. 

Many inflatable kayaks will stand up well to nails and teeth. But you need to keep a repair kit with you just in case. 

Types of kayaks to avoid with dogs

Sea kayaks

These kayaks are built to cover large bodies of water in a hurry. Sea kayaks are narrow and fast, so they are not ideal for taking a dog with you. Even if you have a small dog, it might be uncomfortable for both of you in such close quarters.

White water kayaks

White water kayaks are not a good fit when it comes to dogs. These kayaks are small and very nimble.  There isn’t any room for a dog onboard.  White water kayaks are very responsive, and the paddler often uses their whole body to maneuver the boat. 

These are not a good option when you are looking for the best kayaks for dogs.

Tips for kayaking with your dog

Taking your dog with you on a kayak should be fun.  You will explore the outdoors together and get some exercise. But, you also need to be safe.

Here are some recommendations to help you have a pleasant experience on the water with your dog. Click here for more information on accessories to take with you when kayaking with your dog.

Proper training

If your dog knows basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” etc., that can be very helpful when you are on a kayak.  When a dog gets nervous or is in unfamiliar territory, they can forget everything you taught them. 

It’s important that your dog knows these basic commands and can perform under pressure.  This will make the experience more enjoyable for both parties.

In addition to the basics, you can try to teach your dog commands for boating, like “boat,” to get on the boat.  Proper training can go a long way toward a positive kayak experience with your dog.

Doggy sunblock

When you are in the sun for long periods, you need protection.  Some people wear hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunblock.  But does your dog need protection from the sun too?  Absolutely! 

It’s crucial to apply sunblock to areas where your dog isn’t covered by fur, like the nose and ears.  If your dog likes to lie down, its belly could be exposed to the sun and get burnt. You want to put sunblock on your dog wherever they can get burnt.

Be sure to reapply every couple of hours, just like you would do with yourself. Take precautions for your dog, so they will have a festive outing too.

Life jacket

Some dogs are great swimmers, but even a great swimmer needs a life jacket when they are kayaking.  If your dog ends up in the water unexpectedly, they might panic.  Times like this are when a dog life jacket comes in handy.

If your furry-friend is elderly or doesn’t swim well, you will want to make sure they have a life jacket that can help your pet stay afloat until you can help them.

Know your dog’s temperament

This is important if you are going to take your dog on a kayak for the first time. You need to be aware of your pet’s temperament. If the dog is easily excitable or distracted, that will make your outing a little more challenging.

If your dog wants to jump in and chase every duck on the lake, you will have your hands full.  Also, if your dog is nervous, they might spend a lot of time pacing, making the kayak unstable. 

Some dogs are excited to be on the water, while others are very relaxed. It’s good to know what you are in for before you hit the water for the first time.

Introduce your dog to the kayak

Dog, meet kayak, kayak, meet dog.  Yes, introduce your dog to your kayak, preferably before your first time on the water.  Even sitting in your kayak in the middle of your yard with your dog a few times will help.

Getting your pooch familiar with the kayak can be a big help before you hit the water the first time. If your canine trusts you and is familiar with the kayak, you can have a positive paddling experience.

Take it slow

It should go without saying that you need to take it slow, especially if it’s your first time on the water with your dog.  Stick to calm water, and don’t try to do anything that will make your dog nervous.  The best way to have a great experience is to stay calm, take it slow, and paddle on.

Gear you need when you take your dog kayaking

There are a lot of items to take when you go kayaking and even more stuff when you take your dog. To have the best experience, make sure you have the right gear with you. You don’t want to be unprepared when you are kayaking with your dog.

Life jacket

As we mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to have a life jacket for yourself and your dog.  If your dog is elderly, heavy, or not a good swimmer, a life jacket is paramount.

Even if your four-legged friend is a good swimmer, a life jacket is a great way to help prevent your pup from downing. A life jacket will give your pet more buoyancy to keep them afloat in case something happens. 

A dog’s life jacket isn’t designed to keep its head above water as a human life jacket, but it will certainly help.

Food and water

Dogs that love to swim will burn a lot of energy.  Your pup will need some fuel to keep them going during and after a fun day on the water.  You can also bring food to feed your pup during regular feeding hours if you are gone all day.

If you don’t have access to fresh water while you are paddling, bring your own.  There is nothing worse as a human being than being hungry and thirsty after a long day of playing on the water.  Keep that in mind when it comes to keeping your pet energized.

Leash

To help keep your furry companion safe, bring a leash with you when you are kayaking.  Dogs get excited, and you never know when they might decide it’s time to jump in the water or chase a squirrel while you are launching your kayak. 

You might even want to bring a spare leash just in case one ends up at the bottom of the lake. 

Sunscreen

We touched on this earlier, but it’s essential to make sure your dog has sunscreen on areas that could burn.  It’s an easy thing to overlook, but there are areas on your dog that aren’t covered with hair or fur, and your buddy could get burnt. 

Think about areas like the nose, ears, or belly (if your dog will be lying down on the kayak). 

Dog toys

If your dog loves water, bring some toys with you.  Your pet will enjoy chasing a ball or Frisbee in the water. You can also use toys as a reward for good behavior when you are on the water.  Never underestimate the power of a dog toy!

Towel

If you don’t want a wet furry mess in your car when you are loading up at the end of the day, bring a towel to wipe your canine off.  A towel should be part of your standard gear when you go kayaking, especially if you have an inflatable kayak. 

Toss in an extra towel or two so you can give your pup a good drying off before you put them back in the car.

FAQ’s

Will my dog slip and fall?

Your dog can slip on the wet surface of your kayak and fall overboard.  Even the most well trained and docile dog will move around on the kayak. 

If you are concerned about your dog slipping, you can add grip pads to make your kayak dog-friendly. When you are scoping out kayaks for dogs, see if there is a spot for grip pads.

Where should my dog sit?

This depends on your dog and the kayak you purchase. Some dogs are timid and will need to be close to you when you are paddling. In this case, your furry friend can sit in between your legs, if that’s feasible.

If you buy a sit-on-top kayak, there is plenty of deck space for your dog to sit or lay down.  With a sit-inside kayak, you are limited where the dog can sit. If you have a huge dog, you will need a SOT kayak to give your buddy a place to sit.

Is a hardshell or inflatable kayak best for dogs?

This is up for debate for sure. There are pros and cons to each type of kayak. You can read more about that here. Your pup probably won’t care what type of kayak you buy; it depends on what is best for you. If you have a way to transport and store a hardshell kayak, that’s a solid choice.

Inflatable kayaks are very popular because they are easy to transport and store.  One downside is that you have to inflate and deflate the kayak. Inflatable kayaks are durable, and many can stand up to your dog’s nails. 

It’s up to you which type of kayak is best for you and your dog.

Where will my dog go potty?

If your dog is well potty trained, that is a huge bonus. There aren’t a lot of options for potty when you are on the water. You might need to find a spot to take a break now and then so your buddy can go to the bathroom. 

Conclusion

Best dog-friendly kayak - Sheila the dog laying on the grassPin

When you are looking for the best kayaks for dogs, there are a lot of choices. You know your pooch better than anyone.  Keep in mind things like temperament and the size of your dog when choosing a kayak. 

Kayaking is a great way to explore the outdoors and find little places you might not get to otherwise.  Taking your dog kayaking can be a lot of fun, especially if you are well-prepared. 

If you have any questions, please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

Steve Morrow Founder of Paddle About
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve is an avid kayaker and founder of Paddle About. When he is not on the water, Steve enjoys outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, and hiking with his family. Read more.

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