Kayak Accessories for Dogs – Paddling With Your Pooch

So, you want to take your dog kayaking with you but aren’t sure what you need?  Paddling with your pooch can be a lot of fun if you are prepared. In this post, we will discuss kayak accessories for dogs to make your outing a success.

There are many variables when you take your dog kayaking, but with the right tools, you can be well-prepared.  Having your dog with you on the water can be an excellent outing for both of you. This article will share some accessories to help you on your kayaking voyage.

Kayak accessories for dogs

Many accessories can make your day on the water with your pup more enjoyable. Some will help calm your dog’s nerves and yours as well. Some accessories might seem silly or overkill, and you certainly don’t need all of these. After all, there is only so much room on a kayak.

This is certainly not meant to be a complete list; if we missed something, please let us know. With that said, let’s get right to it!

Kayak seat for your dog

If you want to keep your dog comfortable on your kayak, try a doggy kayak seat. A kayak seat can help keep your dog still and in one place if they have a dedicated spot.  Many seats are non-slip and water-resistant to help keep Fido from slipping around on the hard plastic.

This can also be a good training tool.  You can teach your dog a command like “seat” when you are on the water.  A dedicated spot for your dog on the kayak can be good for your outing.   

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Kayak dog decks

Many kayaks are made of hard plastic, making it challenging for your dog (and sometimes humans) to grip and avoid slipping.  One way to help prevent slipping is by using a dog deck. Deck mats can be installed on your kayak to help keep your dog from slipping.

Many deck mats come pre-shaped, but you can easily cut them to suit your needs.  Most can be attached to the kayak deck with the adhesive on the bottom of the pad. Dog decks are a great way to keep your dog from slipping.

Mats are also a great way to keep your dog from scratching your kayak deck.

Kayak platform for dogs

A platform is basically used as a way to help your dog get back in your kayak if your dog ends up in the water, on purpose or not. Platforms come in different shapes and sizes, and it’s basically a ramp to help get your dog back on your kayak. 

A platform can benefit you and your dog after a quick swim.  One end goes in the water, and one end on your vessel.

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Dog life jacket

A proper fitting life jacket is a must when you are kayaking, and it’s no different for your dog. Many jurisdictions require a life jacket for human paddlers or at least have one on board.  Even if your dog is a great swimmer, a life jacket can be a lifesaver if they unexpectedly end up in the water.

There are many options to choose from, but it’s essential to make sure the life jacket fits your dog correctly. It’s better to be safe than sorry when paddling with your four-legged friend.

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Yep, you guessed it, dog goggles, aka doggles.  If you can get your pet to wear them, some people swear by a good pair of doggles.  They protect your dog’s eyes from water and UV rays. If your dog has sensitive eyes, you might want to check out a pair of doggles.

If you are in the middle of a river, lake, or inlet with no shade in sight and the sun reflects off the water, your pooch might thank you for a pair of doggles.

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It’s easy to forget some basics while kayaking with your dog.  Be sure to bring enough water for you AND your dog to drink. This is especially true when it’s hot out. You and your dog can dehydrate when you spend a day on the water.


Once again, you probably take snacks for yourself when you spend a day kayaking, so remember to bring some for your pup.  If your dog is a swimmer, he or she will burn some serious energy, so take some snacks with you.

Also, treats can be a great way to entice your dog to follow commands.  Training might go out the window when they are on a kayak, so treats can be a great reward.

Floating leash

A floating leash comes in handy if your dog unexpectedly goes overboard.  You can use the leash to pull your pooch back to you.  A floating leash is best because a standard leash will take on water adding extra weight.

Having a leash when you are on choppy water or water with a current is a good idea. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, it can be tough to swim in rough water. Look for a leash with a carabiner. It’s much easier to use.

Just remember, don’t ever tie your dog to the kayak. It could be a disaster if the boat flips or something else happens.

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Despite being covered by fur, dogs are susceptible to sunburns like humans.  Areas like their nose and belly can burn if not protected. It’s a good idea to lather your furry friend up to help prevent sunburns.

Dog bowl

You will need a way to give your pooch food and water while kayaking, especially if you are planning a day-long trip. A collapsible bowl is a great option to save space. You might be able to get away with one bowl, but two is ideal.

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Waterproof phone case

Okay, this isn’t necessarily a kayak accessory for your dog, but you want to protect your phone when you are on the water.  Of course, you will take a billion pictures of your dog and post them. 

Make sure you have a waterproof phone case for your water adventure. This will not only keep your phone dry but can also keep it afloat if it ends up in the lake.

Even if you are paddling through choppy water, it’s easy for a phone to get soaked (been there, done that).  Heaven forbid your phone goes overboard.  Save yourself the grief and make sure your phone is ready to go swimming.  

Dry bag

Taking your dog kayaking may result in you and your pup getting wet (and/or cold). Actually, there is a good chance one or both of you will get wet. It’s a good idea to keep extra supplies in a dry bag.  You can keep a towel, extra clothes, and other items that you want to keep dry in a dry bag.

If you keep dog treats or food onboard, you can also store them in a dry bag. Wet dog treats are gross, maybe not to Fido, but certainly to humans.

Is your dog ready to kayak?

You might have all your dog accessories ready to go kayaking, but is your dog ready for the adventure? Next, let’s look at some ways to know if your dog is a good fit for a kayak and what you can do to help.

Practice some commands

Even if your dog is well trained, it could be that all that training goes out the window the second your dog steps paw on the kayak. It’s an entirely different environment for your companion, which might take some time.

Dog practicing sittingPin
Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash

It’s a good idea to have some basic commands down to make your life a little easier when you are afloat. Commands like “sit”, “stay”, “seat” (as mentioned earlier). 

An excellent way to practice is to do this with your kayak on dry land, like a dry run.  This can help get your pup accustomed to the kayak when it’s not floating on the water. 


Unless your dog is a puppy, you should know what kind of personality you are dealing with. Is your dog pretty laid back, or is she super skittish?  A nervous dog might be kind of a wildcard when you put him in the kayak for the first time.

Does your dog love to swim or hate the water?  This is good to know before you set out on a sometimes wobbly kayak.

A large dog with an exuberant personality might be challenging to kayak with.  Before you head out kayaking with your dog, it’s good to know his or her tendencies in advance.

Size and weight

We sort of touched on this already. The size and weight of your dog can impact your kayaking trip.  First, kayaks have a weight limit, which might be lower than you think. You have to be careful when loading up your gear and your dog. The weight can add up fast.

If you have a large dog that is easily excitable, that might present you with challenges on a kayak. Sure, kayaks are pretty stable, but not so much when you have a giant dog rocking it back and forth.

Small dogs, like the kind you can put in your pocket, don’t pose much of a risk of tipping over.  Medium-sized dogs are pretty easy to take kayaking, given they are well trained.

Other factors to consider

Kayak capacity

Most people don’t check the weight limit on a kayak when they buy it. You might be surprised by how low the rating is.  Believe me. Gear can add up in a hurry.  Be sure your kayak can handle the load you will have.

Loading and unloading

At first, your dog might not be as excited as you are about kayaking. It’s a good idea to practice getting on and off (in and out) of the kayak before you hit the water. 

Get your pooch comfortable with loading and unloading ahead of time. You can entice her with treats to associate getting in the kayak with treats.  That works for humans, too, by the way.

What type of kayak is best for dogs?

We have an entire article dedicated to the best kayaks for dogs, so you read that article in full if you are in the market.  We will give you the abbreviated version here.

A great option is a tandem sit-on-top (SOT) kayak.  A tandem kayak is built for two, and a sit-on-top kayak generally gives you the most room.  A SOT kayak has an open deck, so there is more space for your pooch. 

You don’t have to have a tandem or a SOT kayak. Depending on your dog’s size, you can also make it work with a sit-inside kayak.  You might consider an inflatable kayak too.  Modern-day inflatables are very resilient to claws, etc.

Wrapping up

Kayak accessories for dogs - Cute dogPin

If you want to take your dog kayaking, it’s essential to be prepared. Having the right kayak accessories for your dog can make a huge difference in your experience. 

This article outlined many accessories, and there are probably some that we missed.  At the end of the day, you will need to choose the gear that will work best for you and your dog.

If you have any questions, please let us know. We are happy to help. 

Enjoy paddling with your pooch!

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.

2 thoughts on “Kayak Accessories for Dogs – Paddling With Your Pooch”

    • Yes, a sunshade is a great addition to help keep your dogs cool. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the comment.

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