Man and dog kayaking

Ultimate Guide to Kayaking with Dogs

For the active dog owner and dog, regular walks can quickly get a little boring, to say the least, and it probably won’t take long before you start looking around for other activities to engage in. There is one thing for the outdoorsy dog-owner team that you just can’t miss, and that is the opportunity to go kayaking on a warm summer day.

Does this sound like something your four-legged friend would enjoy? Or does it sound more like a disaster in the making? The truth is, you won’t find out until you try, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on an adventure, so let’s have a look at everything you need to know to go kayaking with your best fur friend.

Preparing for a Kayaking Experience

Man with dog on a Kayak

Before you should even think about getting your dog into a kayak, you need to make sure there is no pre-existing fear of water. Take your dog down to the lake where you hope to go kayaking one day, and let them run around, play and explore.

See if you can get them to walk in the water, and perhaps even swim? The more used they are to the water and the more comfortable they are – the safer and easier will it be to get them to go on a kayak with you.

You will also want to introduce the dog to the kayak already before you put it in the water, so it is a good idea to keep the kayak at the house for a few days for your dog to do all the necessary sniffing. Think of it the way you would crate train a dog – slowly, and by never forcing the dog onto the kayak unless they take the initiative themselves. Treats can help, but let the process take its time.

Safety on the Water

Dog wearing life vest

As with all dog activities, safety should always be your primary concern. Both you and your dog should be wearing quality life vests when getting on the kayak because even if you are both food swimmers, you never know what situation you could find yourselves in once you are out there.

There are excellent life vests available for dogs all sizes, so make sure you have a look online for the best life jacket for your dog and for yourself before you head out on the water.

Choosing the Right Kayak

If you are planning to buy a kayak, you have the perfect opportunity to find the best kayak for your dog and for yourself. Pick one that is sturdy and that won’t tip over easily, as your dog might move around a bit, and make sure there is enough space to accommodate your dog.

A larger dog will need more space to sit, and a smaller dog might need less, so take your dog into consideration already when you are shopping for your new kayak. If your furry friend is comfortable – you are a lot more likely to have a good experience.

Dog Kayaking Gear

Besides the brand new kayak you might be about to invest in, you also need a few other things before you are ready to go. You need life vests for you and your dog, a dog water bottle for longer outings, a collar with a name tag and your phone number in case of an incident, possibly a snack for you and your fur pup, a dry-sack for your personal items, a chew toy, a dog-friendly towel and a first-aid kit. Being prepared will help you deal with unexpected events, and it will make the experience safer for everyone.

Can All Dogs Kayak?

A dog does not have to love water to be a good kayaking candidate, but they do need to feel comfortable close to water, as they will be surrounded by it once you are out on the kayak. Water-loving dog breeds like Retrievers, Spaniels and Pointers are great kayaking companions, but you can also take your Chihuahua, your Jack Russell or even your Great Dane – just make sure the kayak is big enough!

Getting Started

A decision is all you need to make to get started. Decide that you are ready for a new adventure and that you would like to take your dog with you and start slowly and work up towards your ultimate goal – going kayaking with your four-legged best friend.

New experiences are healthy and good for both humans and dogs, and as long as you take it slow and avoid forcing your pooch into doing something they are not comfortable with – he or she might even come to love it!

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