A Beginners Guide To Kayaking With Dogs In 2023: Tips, Tricks & more

Spread the love

If going anywhere on the water without your dog or pet makes you cringe, then go kayaking with your dog. Kayaking with a dog can be a stunning adventure for both of you, provided that you take the necessary safety measures for paddling. Of course, kayaking with a dog will take loads of blood, sweat and tear, but it will be worth it. 

So, if you are looking for a beginner’s guide on how to take a dog kayaking, then I have got your back covered. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step process on how to go kayaking with your pet dog or cat. 

From training your dog for kayaking to buying the best-suited kayak for dogs, from learning the best kayaking tips to everything in between – this guide covers everything in depth. 

Here’s a bit summary of this blog post. 

  • Is kayaking safe for dogs?
  • How to teach your dog kayaking?
  • What to do if the dog tips over from the kayak?
  • What are the gears and accessories required for kayaking with pet dog?

Is kayaking safe for dogs?

Is kayaking safe for dogs? Should you take your pet for kayaking? These are the most common question that pop into the mind of every paddler, angler or kayaker while planning a kayak trip with their furry friend. 

The short answer to the above two questions is yes. Kayaking is 100% safe and sound for dogs and other pets as well. 

In fact, dogs and pets make better kayaking partners than others. However, you can follow the safety-first approach here. Safety is important not only for you but also for your furry friend. So, make sure that you are loaded with the necessary safety gear and tools. For example, a life safety vest or paddling life jacket is a must-have accessory while kayaking with dogs. 

If your dog is not having proper personnel for kayaking right now, then you can train him/her a bit and make them friendly with kayaking. 

These are the additional 5 safety tips to follow while kayaking with dogs.

1. Place your dog properly on a kayak

Place your dog properly on a kayak

No matter which type of kayak you have, you need to make your pet sit comfortably on your watercraft. Keep your as well as your pet’s preferences in mind, depending on what type of kayaking you have. Some dogs like to sit, while some love to lie down between your feet. 

If you own a tandem kayak, your dog can rest in the front seat, so you can keep an eye on him while kayaking. In case, you own a solo kayak, you can keep your dog on top of the kayak or on the deck side. 

2. Learn to sit

Learn to sit

The next important tip while kayaking with dogs or pets is to sit properly. You can set up your buddy in a cosy and safe spot from where you can keep an eye on him. Also, keep your personal preface in mind as you both need to enjoy a comfortable and smooth ride. 

3. Take short breaks

Whether you agree or not, kayaking with a pet or dog is undoubtedly a daunting task, especially if you are doing this activity for the very first time. Hence, I recommend you take short breaks in the middle of your kayaking journey. Also, make sure that you are carrying ample of supplies like food, beverages, sunscreen, a kayaking speaker, a GPS system or a kayaking watch for a more safe and more comfortable ride. 

If possible get a kayak or paddle board cooler

4. Test ride

Test ride

If you are a newbie paddler who wants to take a dog for kayaking then test rides are a must for you. Try kayaking with your dog on small ponds and lakes for the initial days before going out for a full-stack adventure. Also, try and flip your kayak with your dog and look out or ways to get your dog back into the kayak from the water

This will help you in keeping prepared in case of emergencies and accidents while on your trip. 

And, remember that even if your dog is a great swimmer, he or she should always wear some type of life jacket with a handle so you can pull them back on board if necessary.

5. Pick the right kayak

Last but not the least, you need to select the right kayak for you and your dog that can carry you both easily and also a load of other accessories. If your weight is anywhere between 75-100 kgs then pick a kayak that can carry the load up to 300 lbs and features ample storage space in terms of hatches, deck space and bungee lacing as well. 

Also, opt for a kayak with a wide deck and tall length that will allow you to carry, load and upload your dog and other kayaking accessories easily. 

Some of the best kayak options available are: tandem kayaks, wide-shape kayaks, pedal drive kayaks, stand-up kayaks, or kayaks for big guys as well. 

How to teach your dog kayaking?

How to teach your dog kayaking

Now that you have learnt about whether kayaking is safe for your dogs or not. Now it is important to know some tips, tricks and techniques to train your dog for kayaking. If you have never ever taken your dog for kayaking, then you must train him first before taking him for any adventure. 

Here’s how you can train your dog for kayaking.

1. Teach some commands

The first thing that you should start with is training your dog with commands. Try and make sure that your dog understands all of your commands easily even while he is not on a trip kayaking.

For example, some basic and universal commands like sit down, stand up, quiet, bark, and stay on the spot can be very useful if you are planning a kayaking adventure with your dog. These are the universal command and will help you not only with kayaking but also in your home or elsewhere. 

If your dog responds to the command within 2-3 seconds, you are good to go for kayaking with him. If not, you need to train him more. Try using the treatment technique to teach some basic commands to your dog. 

Treat him with his dog food every time he follows your command correctly. Doing this multiple times will create a habit and your dog will follow your basic command nicely. 

2. Introduce your dog to kayaking

Introduce your dog to kayaking

Once your dog is ready with the basic command and training, you need to introduce him to the world of kayaking. With careful attention, and proper instruction you can make your dog ready to sit in the kayak and give him the first impression of what kayaking is. Since the first impression is the foundation, make sure you do it correctly and nicely. 

Don’t be too much in hurry at this point. This is only the induction part where you to introduce your dog to the world of kayaking and not take him for a full fledged ride. This activity can also be on land, in a small swimming pool or in a pond near your location. 

Try to make your dog understand what kayak is all about. Let your dog examine and get the first impression of the kayak and each part of your ride. Try to explain to him the different parts of the kayak, and if, possible teach him to sit and stand in the kayak. 

3. Start training in dry land first

Before taking your dog with a kayak on the water, you must do relevant training on physical land. Bring your kayak on land and make your dog spend some time on it. If possible, teach him to sit and stand command live on the kayak and go side with him calmly. 

After you go inside the kayak, ask your dog to come with you. Teach your dog about where to sit and what you are going to do.

Follow this activity two or three times a week and let your dog get familiar with this recreation. Pass some time with your dog inside the kayak and look for various sitting options. Also, clarify each instruction to your dog for enjoying a hassle-free experience on the water. 

[Remember: Do not practice this activity for long because your dog might get boor.]

4. Start training on water

Once the inland training of kayaking with a dog is completed, you can now start taking your dog and kayaking on the live water. Watch out for how your dog reacts to the water and the environment. Don’t go too far in the beginning. Just check the reaction of your dog and look if he gets familiar with the sport or not. 

In the beginning, you can get a small and compact size inflatable kayak with ample space for you and your dog. 

When out on the water kayaking with the dog, keep an eye on the expression of your dog. If he is barking it is an indication that something is wrong and you either need to give him more training. If he stays quiet and enjoys the environment, you are good to go for long-distance paddling adventures.

Even if your dog gets comfortable while kayaking, you should always remain to alter at every time. Because your overexcitement can soon turn into the worst nightmare and might cause you some accidents which may create a negative impact on your dog’s mind and he might not come kayaking with you next time. 

5. Make your dog comfortable

Make your dog comfortable

Right from the beginning of your kayaking journey, you need to make sure that your dog is comfortable with the kayak. Try different types of kayaks with your dog first, then opt for the best-suited watercraft. You can also opt for a paddle board for dogs if kayaking is not your cup of tea. 

No matter what type of watercraft you opt for, making your dog comfortable and safe should always be your top priority. 

Try paddling on calm waters which might boost the confidence of your dog. After the confidence level of your dog is boosted and he takes interest in kayaking, you can plan for a long day kayaking or camping adventure on the Hudson river, Lake Tahoe and many other places on the water. 

Makin your dog comfortable while kayaking might take some time. So, if you want to enjoy kayaking with the dog to the fullest, make sure you do enough practice.  

6. Training negative command in a positive way

Including negative commands, while training your dog for kayaking is of utmost importance. Otherwise, you’ll not be having control over your dog and he might do anything while on an adventure. Make sure to introduce your dog to every possible situation while kayaking. From pooping to tipping off into the water and everything in between,

You should be prepared and make your dog compatible with all sorts of situations. 

Another important thing you should keep in mind is not to get arrogant or rude with your dog in little matters. If you do this, your dog might not follow your commands while kayaking. 

It is important that some commands should remain the same in training time and in final kayaking. Through this, your dog’s training will be accelerated and you both will be confident about the adventure.

7. Poop training is more important

Without any doubt, poop training for dogs while kayaking is yet another important thing to consider. And if you are going camping kayaking or other recreational activities, this step becomes of utmost importance. 

Finding a place to take care of the poop of your dog while kayaking is a daunting task. So, basic training and good command over here can help you out. You should also carry a bag or bin, litter or plastic container which can be leveraged to keep the poop of your dog. 

You should also be carrying a life jacket, which can cover the back and hip portion of your and help with pooping easily. Your dog can poop in it, but this might become unhygienic, especially if you are out for a long day kayaking. Your dog might feel irritated by this. 

One of the best things you can do is get a portable toilet for a boat or kayaking and get rid of all these issues. A puppy diaper is also a great option to look into. 

8. Train with good kayaks

Now here comes the most important if you are planning for kayaking with the dog. There are loads of different types of paddle boards and kayaks available in the market. But when kayaking with the dog, you should first focus on the comfort and then on the space available. Comfort and ample of space are deadly combinations to make kayaking fun with dog. 

You can go through the different types of features available with the kayak, including length, width, carrying capacity, storage space, deck platform type, construction material, type of hull and everything in between. Also, do a definitive comparison in sit-in kayaks vs sit on top kayaks for beginners

Train your dog with a kayak on those watercraft which make EVA deck traction pads and offer extra stability and are easy to manoeuvre. On such kayaks, your dog will feel more comfortable and enjoy the ride. 

Besides, make sure to buy a kayak that comes with a skeg at the bottom and drain plugs, so that water can be kept out and your dog might not feel afraid of falling or tipping off. 

9. Environment check

When going kayaking with the dog, the environment is yet another important factor to take into consideration. Go kayaking when the water is calm and avoid choppy and whitewater at all costs. This is something that your dog might not be familiar with. 

At the beginning for the first few rides, look for kayaking locations with calm and flatwater types. Once your dog gets familiar with the flatwater types, you can then consider taking him for a ride on river rapids and small choppy waves. 

10. Regular practice is a must

Regular practice is the key to success for amazing kayaking with dog experience. Try and go out for a regular kayak session with your pet. This will increase his experience and make him more familiar with the sport. 

If you and your dog are doing well at the training session, you can try different kayaking methods. Or, you can then shift your dog to big-size kayaks, mini kayaks or stand-up fishing kayaks as you wish. 

What to do if the dog tips over from the kayak?

When kayaking with the dog, it is possible that you your pet or dog might fall apart from the kayak. What will you do in such situations? Will you jump into the water, or try to throw a safety tube and protect your dog? 

Safety will always be a concern while kayaking with dogs. Therefore, you must take utmost care before going for a ride with them.

If your dog tips over the front of the kayak, you can do the following things.

1. Swim and safe time: If you know how to swim, then jump into the water and protect your dog. 

2. Throw a safety tube in the water: If you don’t know how to swim, then you can carry a safety tube and throw it into the water. However, you should train your dog to use the safety tube. 

3. Train your dog for swimming: Another way to safeguard your dog if he falls apart from a kayak is by teaching him how to swim and get back onto the kayak. 

4. Wear a life jacket yourself and for the dog as well: This is the most important one. Buy a life safety jacket for your dog and yourself as well. This will keep you and your dog afloat even if you both don’t know swimming. 

5. Tie a leash around his neck:  Last but not the least, you should try a safety leash on your dog and tie it around the kayak, so there is no chance of tipping off. 

What are the gears and accessories required for kayaking with dogs?

Now that you have learned everything about kayaking with dogs. From best kayaking with dogs tips to safety products to follow- everything is covered above. Now let me walk you through some most important accessories you need while kayaking with dogs 

1. Kayak seat for dog

Kayak seat for dog

When kayaking with the dog, what is the way to keep your dog comfortable and give a smooth ride? Of course, it’s a seat for your best friend. By a kayak seat for a dog that is both comfortable and waterproof, allowing your dog to enjoy a relaxing kayaking experience with you. 

You can also opt for an anti-slip deck padding material made with Neoprene and polyurethane foam core. This will give a stunning grip to your dog and keep him protected from falling apart into the water. 

2. Life jacket 

Life jacket 

A life jacket is yet another important accessory that you need while kayaking with a dog or pet. Buy a life jacket for your dog by considering his comfort, body shape, ability to swim and many other factors. 

I would personally recommend you buy a life jacket for a dog with bright color, which makes them look visible on the water. Also, there should be a D ring attachment point on the jacket, allowing you to tie a leash around. 

Lastly, your dog life jacket should have extra flotation material around the sides to give more buoyancy and better protection in case of accidents and emergencies. 

3. Dry storage bag

Dry storage bag

The next important accessory you need while kayaking with dogs is the dry storage bag. These bags come in handy and you can keep them anywhere on the stern or back side of the kayak. 

A dry storage bag is useful to carry relevant paddling accessories and essentials of your dog like: food, water, drink, gadgets, medicine and a lot many things. 

Opt for a PVC-made dry bag with the seams welded to ensure that the interior is watertight and will keep your materials and accessories dry for long hours. Also, when fully submerged in the water, your dry should float. 

4. Cooler


If you seriously want to enjoy a perfect kayaking experince with your dog and you don’t know what makes everything better? Of course, it’s the snacks and cold beverages on a hot day while kayaking with the dog. 

By a cooler that is waterproof and made with hardshell construction material, allowing you to use it for a long time. Also, a 25L capacity is practical enough to carry not only your but also your best friend’s food and beverages. 

Also, make sure that your cool has metal clips included, so you can attach it on the bungee lacing system of your kayak and also install it with D rings.

5. Doogles


If you are kayaking with a dog in the hot summer, then Goggles for a dog is another must-have accessory. 

Buy a piece is made with high-quality plastic material, with a comfy fit and soft PVC frame that will give utmost protection to your dog. Not to forget, the Goggles should also be UV protected and made with extra soft material to reduce the eye pressure of your pet. 

Last but not the least, it should be fashionable and should look charming on your pet dog.

6. Safety leash

Safety leash

If you have not given proper kayaking training to your dog, then this is the most important accessory for you. A safety leash will keep your dog protected from tipping off into the water.

Tie it around the neck of your pet and attach it with the D rings or bungee lacing system of your kayak. You can also attach it with the mounting points if your kayak has any. 

If the bungee lacing and D rings are located at the back of your kayak, but on a long leash, so you can keep a proper eye on your dog and focus on paddling alone. 

7. Portable toilet 

Portable toilet

If you want to enjoy an absolutely Hygenic kayaking ride with your dog, buy a portable toilet or potty seat for a kayak. If you are planning for long kayaking with dog, it is quite possible that your dog might just poop. Not only your dog, but you also might pass your urine or poop. 

In such a situation, a portable toilet comes useful. 

If you have got a small or mini-size kayak, it won’t be possible to buy a locate a portable toilet on it. In such a situation, you can opt for diapers for your dog. 

8. Bowl


You surely don’t want to make your kayak dirty with the dog feed here and there. So, make sure to have a small size bowl for your dog in which you can feed your dog this food. 

9. Dog food

Dog food

The last on this list of important kayaking accessories for dogs is the food, especially if you planning a long-distance kayaking adventure. Carry whatever food that your dog loves and make sure he remains in the mood while you are paddling or rowing your kayak. Get food that he likes also treat him every time if he follows your command while kayaking. 

FAQs About Kayaking With Dogs

Can you go kayaking with dogs?

Yes, you can go for kayaking with dogs only if you have a proper kayak, tools, and accessories and most importantly your dog should be trained for kayaking. Then only kayaking with a dog will be a successful journey for you. 

How can you make kayak dog friendly?

In order to make your kayak friendly for dogs, you need to purchase a dog seat separately and also change the flooring of your dog, which will allow your dog to sit comfortably and enjoy the ride. You can place a dog mat on the kayak made with cushy material. This will give a smooth ride for your dog 

What type of kayak is best suited for dogs?

Sit-in inside kayaks is best suited for dogs because they are very comfortable and feature adjustable seats for dogs and paddlers. Also, inflatable kayaks are very comfortable and suited for dogs because they are made with PVC materials and drop stitching technology. 

Is kayaking with dogs safe?

Kayaking is safe for dogs only when you are fully accessorized with safety gear and accessories. Also, your dog must be familiar with kayaking and must listen to your commands very well. Besides, you must have a proper kayak to enjoy a ride with your dog. 

What accessories do you need for kayaking with dogs?

Safety jackets, cooler, dry storage bag, dog food, whistle, light in case of night camping or long day paddling, portable toilet, dog diaper, sunglasses, water bottle, GPS system and watch are some the accessories you need while kayaking with dogs. 

Leave a Comment