kayaking with dogs

9 Tips for Canoeing & Kayaking with Dogs (2023 Guide)

Kayaking with your dog can be a fun and exciting way to spend time outdoors and bond with your furry friend. However, choosing the right kayak for both you and your dog can be a bit of a challenge. There are a few key factors to consider when selecting the best kayak for dogs, including the size and weight of the kayak, its stability, and its durability.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a kayak for dogs is the size and weight of the kayak. If you have a larger dog, you will have to choose a kayak that is large enough to accommodate both you and your dog comfortably. The kayak should also be sturdy enough to support the weight of both you and your dog without tipping over or feeling unstable.

Top Rated Dog-Friendly Kayaks for 2023

Best kayak for dogs

Kayaking along with your dog may be a fun experience for both of you and exciting as well. Preparing your pet for kayaking will take some time, but it will be worth it. A little bit of knowledge may set you up for a long time of fun kayaking with your dog, from training your dog to appreciating being around water to understanding the behavior of your dog while on the water.

Bring your dog along to try the boats because certain configurations are better for canoeing & kayaking with dogs than others.

Aluminum canoes may grow quite hot and loud, which are both uncomfortable for a dog, therefore we recommend avoiding them. If you’re thinking of getting into a kayak. 

Step #1: Determine If Your Dog Is Prepared to Kayak with You

Whenever you take your dog swimming or doing any other water-related activity, be sure they have the appropriate skills and training.

Consider the following questions:

  • Is my dog comfortable in and near water?
  • Is it possible for my dog to swim? (It’s not necessary if they have a life vest, although it’s a plus.)
  • Will my dog accept a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD)?
  • Is my dog obedient to orders such as “sit,” “stay,” and “get in your place”?
  • Is my dog capable of ignoring exciting diversions including other kayaks, ducks, seals or floating objects, or other boats without leaping in the water to chase them down?

If you can answer “ yes ” to these concerns, the dog is a good fit for kayaking!

Step #2: The Training Process Is to Acclimate the Dog to the Kayak

Bring your kayak to a safe area where your dog may inspect it. It’s preferable to place the boat in a yard and park where the dog could sniff it, stroll about it, and even play with it. Kayaking with the dog is a lot of fun since it’s so simple. If the dog could sit in a vehicle, it should be able to paddle in a kayak in a matter of minutes to a few hours.

Sea Kayak with Dog

Smooth, calm waters are ideal for kayaking with a particularly intriguing canine companion or tandem kayaking. Start in a calm lake, or inlet where the dog can easily swim to land if required.

Even when the dog has become acclimated to floating, you should probably stick to calmer waters including rivers, lakes, and brooks. Bringing the dog into rapids or high waves is not a good idea. Anything that has a higher chance of being tipped should be avoided. 

Furthermore, the small kayaks intended to manage rapids as well as the thin kayaks used for sightseeing do not provide the space and security that the canine need.

Here Are a Few Pointers on How to Encourage Your Dog to Enjoy Your Kayak

  • Hide little goodies inside the kayak for your dog to locate.
  • Praise and/or reward your dog each time he or she approaches the kayak.
  • Take a seat.
  • When the dog comes over to say hello, sit in the kayak yourself & touch it.
  • Allow the dog to sit in the kayak, and reward, and praise them.
  • You’re ready to move on after your dog understands the notion of “kayak” and “fun.”

Kayaking Equipment Required for Your Dog

Kayaking with dogs needs a bit more equipment than kayaking solo. You’ll want to bring pet supplies with you to make sure that both you and your dog have a comfortable and safe journey.

A life jacket: It’s not difficult to find pet-specific PFDs. These unique and best life jackets are sized (and formed) to fit your dog perfectly. Many feature a rear handle or strap to assist you in lifting the dog out of the sea & back into the kayak. Remember to bring your floatation device! Regardless of how skilled a swimmer you are, aiding the dog in the sea without a personal floatation device (PFD) might be hazardous to your health.

A leash & harness: are required. It’s never a good idea to tether your dog to your boat. However, during the sections of your excursion on land, a leash & harness are still required. You can find yourself in camping or a park where leashes are required. Even if the dog is well-behaved, having him leashed and near to you can help keep him safe from other dogs.

Food and water are essential: It’s crucial to stay hydrated, and it’s even more critical for pets that can’t get up or get a drink on their own. Even if you’re going to be near water, it’s not always a good idea for the dog to drink. Bring enough food for each of you, and don’t forget a dish!

Something for the dog to relax on that is comfortable: A folded beach towel is simple and serves two roles, while kayaking seats & cushions, for example, may be as elaborate as you desire.

Toys for dogs that are suitable for use in the water: If your dog enjoys swimming, this is a great toy for them to play with or to keep them amused while on board. Choose a toy that they don’t link with fetching if you don’t want them to swim.

Sun protection: Sunscreen, sun balm, canine protective eyewear, and/or a hat are all recommended. Dogs can also become burnt, particularly when light reflects off the ocean.

Medical equipment:  Are you aware that dogs may become sunburned? You & your dog both require sunscreen, in addition to other necessities. If the dog has sensitive feet or gets harmed when strolling along rough river bottoms, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, including first aid for tiny injuries can be helpful. We also include vital safety equipment, such as a canine first-aid kit. We also included a couple of dog booties in the kit so that if we need to bandage a paw, the booties help hold the bandages in place.

Dog pooping: Belongings for le pooping.

Treats for dogs: It’s critical to keep dog snacks on hand. One of the most important aspects of training the dog is to constantly reinforce the behavior you want to see. Positive reinforcement builds trust and is more effective at ingraining actions than punishment. 

Reward your dog for excellent conduct to show them what you want from them, even if it’s only “sitting quietly.” Once your dog has mastered the basics, you may gradually reduce the number of treats you give him. It’s wonderful to get rewarded once and again, though.

Canoe vs. Kayak for Dog Paddling

The type of paddling you prefer, the size of the dog, and who you go out on the water with will most likely influence whether you paddle with the dog in a canoe or a kayak. If you’re new to the activity, we suggest renting a kayak or a canoe to discover which one you prefer before investing in one.

Canoeing with Dogs

Canoes are wide open, so dogs may ride in the middle or even on either end, and there’s plenty of room for supplies. A canoe is an easy pick if you’re doing a lot of paddling with a friend. Solo canoeing might be enjoyable as well, but I have no experience with them.

Make that the dog understands the commands “sit,” “lay down,” and “stay.” When traveling by canoe, these orders will be necessary.

It might be difficult to get into the boat. We started with either sandy gentle landings or easy-access landings and worked our way up to rock-hopping.

Don’t quit if canoe camping doesn’t turn out the first time. Plan some low-key day treks from a campsite, or set up a base camp for a few nights in the interior. You’ll be greeted by a seasoned travel companion if you have patience and time.

Kayaking with Dogs is a fun activity:

the Kayaks, are perfect for small excursions. They are adaptable and simple to use. Here are a few main causes why kayaking with the dog could be a better option.

  • One person can easily operate a kayak.
  • Kayaks are ideal for dogs that are tiny or medium in size.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are sturdy, easy to climb aboard, and spacious enough for large dogs.

What kayak is best for a dog?

There are a few factors to consider while choosing the best kayak for your dogs.

Sit-On-Top Vs. Sit-Inside

When kayaking with a dog, there are several advantages to utilizing a sit-on-top kayak. Sit-on-tops are simple to put on and take off for the dog. They’re wide than sit-inside kayaks, so they’ll be more secure if the dog begins moving about, and they’ll give him more space.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Include drain bungs, so if the dog jumps in and ends up leaking 1⁄2 the lake, you may rest easy knowing that the water would simply return to its proper place. Another advantage is that if the dog, like ours, wants to leap out of the boat, it’s simple to hoist them back in (tip: get a life jacket with a sturdy handle).

Sit-Inside kayaks

These are ideal for little dogs, timid dogs, or dogs that benefit from the extra security of being near to you. My only concern would be to make sure that both you and the dog could securely evacuate the boat if it tips over.

Our elder dog enjoys a sit-on-top, however, our younger dog cannot resist diving into the sea from a sit-on-top. We need to get some practice in!

Another alternative for kayaking with dogs is a two-person kayak, which provides you with a space for yourself & a room for your dog. We’d be fine if we could simply train them how and where to paddle the boat.

What to Do in the Event That You Fall Over:

Even the best-prepared kayaker can experience a flip, especially when the weather conspires against you. You’re cruising along, enjoying the peace and quiet, singing a little ditty to the dog about blackberries (actually, I’m discussing myself), and then you’re sucker-punched by a speed boat’s wake, the dog oddities out, you overcorrect, and-sploosh!- everyone is swept away. This may also happen if you’re attempting to get your dog out of the water and back onto the kayak, so being prepared is beneficial in spirit.

1. Locate your canine companion and bring them close to you.

2. Return to the kayak & keep your canine nearby, quieting them and conversing in a calm manner. As if being in the sea together would be genuinely delightful.

3. Finish by flipping the kayak back over.

4. Return your oar to the kayak or chuck it in. Make an effort to place it in a location where it won’t just go away.

5. Raise the dog’s paws on the boat & force them back on board. Inhale slowly. Pat your dog and reassure them that everything is fine. They could be worried because you’re in the water while they’re not. You may also pick yourself up first and then drag the dog out by its life vest handle, but I prefer to know my dog is safe and secure so I can relax.

6. Return to the kayak by pulling yourself back in. This will take some effort, but wearing a life jacket will help you stay lighter. I’ve never mastered this technique, so I usually remove my lifejacket, chuck it to the side, and then pop back up by throwing myself across the center and pulling myself up with the far side. (It isn’t attractive, but it serves its purpose!)

If you can’t get back into the boat, swim it over to the dock or the ocean. If you’re too far from the coast to swim safely, putting a flag down can assist. Begin kicking if there isn’t any help available.

If you’re using a sit-inside kayak, it could be easier to climb back in first and then drag the dog on board. I recommend practicing inverting in the shallows so you’ll be prepared if it happens at any stage. You don’t have to throw the dog overboard; simply start in chest-deep water with your kayak turned upside down, bring the dog with you – and have them swim over to you, & go through the maneuvers.

9 Tips for Kayaking with Dogs

Here are 9 tips for kayaking with dogs:

  1. Make sure your dog is comfortable and confident around water before taking them kayaking. You may want to introduce them to swimming or get them used to being in a boat on shore before hitting the water.
  2. Bring a life jacket for your dog, and make sure it fits properly. A life jacket can help keep your dog afloat if they fall into the water, and it can also provide extra warmth if you are kayaking in cold conditions.
  3. Start by going on short, calm water kayaking trips, and gradually build up to longer and more challenging outings. This will help your dog get used to the boat and the motion of paddling, and it will also give you a chance to see how your dog handles the experience.
  4. Avoid kayaking in rough water or in areas with strong currents, as this can be dangerous for both you and your dog.
  5. Plan your route in advance and avoid areas with strong currents or other hazards that could be dangerous for your dog.
  6. Bring plenty of water and snacks for your dog, and take regular breaks to give them a chance to drink, rest, and go to the bathroom.
  7. Keep your dog on a leash while kayaking, or use a crate or a dog platform to keep them secure in the boat. This will help prevent them from jumping out of the boat or getting tangled in the paddle or other gear.
  8. Be prepared for emergencies, and know what to do if your dog falls into the water or if you capsize. Have a plan in place for how to get your dog back into the boat, and make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment on hand, such as a throw rope or a bilge pump.
  9. Always be aware of your surroundings and the conditions of the water, and make sure to follow all applicable laws and regulations for kayaking with dogs in your area.

Overall, kayaking with dogs can be a fun and enjoyable activity for both you and your four legs friend, as long as you take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.


Q1. Where can you go kayaking with your dog?

It could be almost any place. The majority of the people refuse to take their dogs on whitewater or to the sea, but they may go wherever else. Begin by staying near the beach and covered until you and the dog feel ready to venture further.

Q2. What should I do to get my dog ready for kayaking?

First and foremost, be prepared to wait. Consider if the dog has the personality to love kayaking; a hyperactive or nervous dog may struggle, but a calmer dog that appreciates spending time with you will most likely enjoy it!

Whereas many canines can be trained to enjoy it, it isn’t for everyone, so always consider the dog’s individual characteristics when picking an activity. Start on land to make sure the dog understands the “stay” command; otherwise, you may have difficulties keeping him and her in the kayak.

Q3. Is it necessary to construct a specific platform for the dog?

No. In the kayak, most canines will find a comfy spot. Choose a waterproof cushion or closed-cell foam if you really want to keep it comfier for them.

Q4. Is It Safe For Dogs To Ride In An Inflatable Kayak?

Yes. The majority of inflatable kayaks are made to last… truly last. They are unafraid of the paws and claws of dogs. As they’re so solid, comfy, and safe, they are great for dogs.


To wrap up, the dog friendly kayak is one that is spacious enough to accommodate your dog comfortably with you, stable, and durable. By considering these key factors, you can ensure that you and your dog have a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

Have a good time, Slow down… Begin with small outings so that your dog may earn your praises while honing his kayaking abilities.

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One Comment

  1. I have a larger dog, 90 lbs and a sit in-with a wide hull. It works. A dog that size moving around a lot makes kayaking harder but she has learned to only move to get comfortable, and loves it. She sits behind me and watches everything.

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