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Kayaking With a Dog – Tips from Personal Experience

By: Kayak Cambria

Last updated on: June 15, 2021

The dog days of summer are coming up, and what better way to spend the day than kayaking with your dog? There’s nothing more satisfying than getting out on the water and being one with nature. But before you jump in, there are a few things that need to be considered for safety reasons and kayaking is not easy sometimes. This blog post will give you our top tips on how to do kayaking with a dog!

Does your dog like water?

Does your dog like water?

First and foremost, determine if your dog likes water. If they do, then kayaking might be a great idea for both of you. This is important because dogs can easily get motion sickness and not enjoy the experience as much–especially on choppy waters or when there’s wind involved.

Does your dog have any other physical limitations?

Does your dog have any other physical limitations

If so, it might not be the best idea to take them kayaking. Consider whether your dog can jump in and out of a moving kayak on their own as well as how they might react if they’re being tossed around by waves or strong winds–especially if it’s something that could cause them injury.

If you decide to go ahead with taking your dog for kayaking, be prepared for a wet dog.

Dogs are going to get wet, so be ready for it! You may want to bring an extra towel or two in case your pup gets too chilly from being immersed in the water–especially if they’re small and furry.

If you have any concerns about how this might affect their health, check with your vet before you go out on the water.

Introduce your dog to the kayak

Introduce your dog to the kayak

When introducing a new dog into an environment like this it’s best to keep things calm and introduce everything slowly so they can become accustomed–especially if this is their first time in a kayak.

Introduce your pup slowly

This means don’t go from zero exposure (zero interaction with dogs) right into sitting on top of your kayak with an excited pup running around you while trying to paddle. Instead, start by playing fetch in shallow water first and then gradually work your way up to standing on the kayak and taking a small dip in deeper water.

You can teach your dog that kayaks are an enjoyable activity by taking them for long walks along the shore in front of the water until he eventually gets used to it. Keep doing this until one day he runs right onto a small kayakhout any hesitation!

Introduce your pet to paddles

If you want them to enjoy being near the water and don’t mind getting wet, try playing fetch with a paddle. This way they will associate the sound of on-shore waves crashing against rocks or kayaks hitting their hulls with something fun!

Teach them how not get into trouble

What if someone is fishing? Or what if there’s some other dogs nearby who might be unfriendly? Keep your dog on a leash when kayaking, and have them wear an identification vest to ward off any potential problems.

Introduce your pup to doggy lifejackets

Doggie PFDs are great for safety! They help prevent dogs from getting into trouble by preventing their heads from going underwater in the event that they fall overboard or get washed over.

Give your dog some treats!

If you are having trouble getting them into the kayak, try giving them food or other goodies–this can work wonders and get most dogs to jump right on board.

Training your Dog before kayaking

Training your Dog before kayaking

Some dogs will not be comfortable with anything that moves too quickly so it’s best to introduce any new motions like paddling slowly at first then gradually build up speed as they become accustomed to what is happening around them.

If your dog seems uncomfortable talk to an expert who might have advice for how to help him or her feel more comfortable.

Sit near the front of the kayak (the bow) and offer lots of encouragement when he/she walks towards the kayak.

Take breaks along the way for both yourself and your dog so both of you don’t get overwhelmed from lack of rest or energy levels being depleted. If necessary, take turns paddling while one person walks alongside their dog on land.

This can help alleviate pressure on humans’ backs while still giving plenty of exercise for dogs who are not used to walking long distances.

Kayaking With The Dog

Kayaking With The Dog

Paddle slowly and deliberately – with slow strokes, long breaks between each one (about 30 seconds) then another few strokes after resting enough, dogs will feel at ease because they know there is no rush or panic mode happening while still being given exercise.

Use a dog paddle leash or anchor so your pup will not be able to jump out of the kayak. This is vital for safety reasons and also protecting against injury to your dog’s paws from rocks, shells, ice, sharp objects on shorelines etc.

Lift them into and out of the kayak carefully. Do not throw them in all at once because it can cause motion sickness! When lifting dogs onto an elevated surface such as a dock you may find that they have difficulty balancing themselves which could lead to them falling off- always hold their backside close while gently guiding their feet over any ledges until they are standing on solid ground.

Finally, know when it’s time for your pet to call it quits! For a dog, this could be after an hour or so. If you are unsure how long your dog can stay in the water then bring along some fresh drinking water and offer it to them every thirty minutes if they are out there for more than one hour.

Tips To Keep Your Pooch Safe While kayaking

Tips To Keep Your Pooch Safe While kayaking

So, till now you have some idea about kayaking with a dog and how you can go do it properly. Here I have mentioned some safety tips to keep your dog safe, please read them carefully and keep it in mind while going for kayaking with a dog.

  • Don’t throw them in all at once because it can cause motion sickness.
  • When lifting dogs onto an elevated surface such as a dock, always hold their backside close while gently guiding their feet over any ledges until they are standing on solid ground.
  • Know when it’s time for your pet to call it quits! For a dog, this could be after an hour or so. If you’re unsure how long your dog can stay in the water then bring along some fresh drinking water and offer it to them every thirty minutes if they’re out there for more than one hour.
  • Give him something that smells familiar in the kayak with you–it may make him less anxious as it will remind him of home!
  • If possible, have your dog wear a life jacket.
  • Bring plenty of water for yourself and your dog, as well as food so that both can continue to stay hydrated and energized throughout the journey.
  • Pack some sort of shade cover too if you are going to be out on the water all day in direct sun–if possible, put this up before paddling off from shore so it has time to set up!
  • NEVER tie your dog to the kayak- it’s too dangerous for both you and your dog!
  • Remember that dogs paddle differently than humans do–they use their back legs primarily (not so much their arms) and can’t steer or control where they’re going in the same way we can.
  • Don’t forget about water safety when bringing along your dog–keep an eye out for debris floating around them, fenced beaches, etc. even at low tide!

What Type of Kayak Should I Use?

What Type of Kayak Should I Use

Keep in mind that you and your dog will be sharing a kayak, so it’s best to use one of the larger kayaks that has ample room for both of you to get in and out.

Remember that there are two main types of kayaks, sit-in or open. So, choose the best Kayaks for Dogs wisely.

The size of your dog will probably dictate which type of kayak is best for you. If they’re fairly small and slim, then a sit-in kayak will work best. But, if your dog is large and long-legged, then an open hull kayak will be more appropriate because they’re capable of carrying more weight and can be easier to enter and exit.

Sit-on-top kayaks

These types of Kayaks are a good option if you’re not expecting to go out on rough water, and they are often less expensive than other models as well.

Some kayaks, like this one from Sun Dolphin, are made specifically for dogs. They’re wide and sturdy with handles that your dog can stand on to take pressure off their paws while they’re riding in the kayak.

Tandem kayaks

These are also great for dog owners because they’re not only a lot of fun to paddle together, but you can usually fit two dogs in one.

Closed-cockpit kayaks

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to worry about your dog jumping overboard or swimming in rough waters, closed-cockpit kayaks are for you.

You’ll need a life vest and some buoyant water shoes as well if you go this route because it’s easy for paws to slip off pedals on open hull kayaks and the dog will be more comfortable in the closed cabin.

This one from Wilderness Systems is a great example of a good, sturdy kayak that has molded-in handles and space for your pet to ride inside.

Best kayak accessories for dogs

Best kayak accessories for dogs

Ready to prepare for your dog’s water adventure? Here are the best kayak accessories for dogs:

  • PFD for Dogs – Just like humans, your dog needs a PFD if they’re going out on the water.
  • Boat Bag for Dogs – A kayak bag is perfect to store your dog’s supplies as well as their PFD when you’re not on the water.
  • Kneepads for Dogs – Kneepads are a great way to protect your dog from abrasions and scrapes while they explore.
  • Collar & Harness – A dog’s collar will help you keep your pup close when they’re on the water.
  • Sun Cream – It’s important to protect your dog from the sun, so use a wide-spectrum sunscreen!

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