Kayaking is a fantastic way to explore the great outdoors, and for many, it's an experience best shared with a furry companion. But when it comes to inflatable kayaks, paddlers often ask, "Can you put a dog in an inflatable kayak?" The answer is a resounding yes, with a few caveats. This article will guide you through the process of kayaking with your dog, ensuring both you and your four-legged friend have a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

Key Takeaways:

  • Yes, you can put a dog in an inflatable kayak, with proper preparation and safety measures.
  • Selecting the right kayak is crucial, with dog-friendly kayaks offering features like stability and durability.
  • Training and safety are paramount for ensuring a fun and secure kayaking experience with your dog.
inflatable kayak

Choosing the Best Inflatable Kayak for Your Dog

When selecting the best inflatable kayak for your adventures, consider models that are specifically designed to accommodate a canine passenger. The best dog-friendly kayaks often feature a versatile design, higher quality materials, and additional space. Look for kayaks with a sturdy floor, such as those with aluminum ribs or a skid plate, to withstand your dog's nails. Tandem kayaks or those with three seat locations can offer more space for larger dogs, while a single person kayak might suffice for a small dog.

sit in kayak

The stability of the kayak is also crucial. Sit on top kayaks are a popular choice for dog owners due to their open cockpit design, which provides more space and makes it easier for your dog to sit comfortably. Additionally, these kayaks often come with adjustable padded seats and a higher weight capacity, accommodating both you and your pet with ease.

Preparing Your Dog for Kayaking

Before hitting the water, it's essential to get your dog comfortable with the kayak. Start by allowing your dog to explore the kayak while it's on dry land. Place it in your yard or living room and encourage your dog to sit in it using dog treats. This familiarization process helps your dog associate the kayak with positive experiences.

Training your dog to enter and exit the kayak calmly is also important. Practice commands such as "sit" and "stay" to prevent sudden movements that could cause a sudden jolt or imbalance. For dogs that are new to kayaking, short sessions in calm waters can help build their confidence.

Safety Measures for Dog Kayaking

Safety should always be a top priority when kayaking with your dog. Ensure your dog wears a life jacket, even if they are strong swimmers. The life jacket should fit snugly and have a handle to help you lift your dog back into the kayak if they jump out. Additionally, keep essential items like a repair kit, a carry bag for your gear, and a bungee cord to secure items within reach.

It's also wise to check the weather and water conditions before you paddle. Inflatable kayaks can handle shallow water and some rough water, but it's best to avoid rougher waters when kayaking with your dog. Calm waters will provide a more enjoyable experience for both of you.

Training Your Dog to Stay Put in the Kayak

One of the challenges of kayaking with dogs is ensuring they stay seated during the trip. Use positive reinforcement to train your dog to sit still. Reward them with treats and praise when they remain in their designated spot. It's also helpful to bring along floating sticks or toys to keep them entertained.

If you have a tandem kayak or a kayak with multiple seat locations, you can designate a specific spot for your dog. This helps them understand where they should be during the kayak trip. For added comfort, consider bringing along a cushion or a special mat for your dog to sit on.

large dog

The Right Gear for Your Dog

Just as paddlers need the right gear, so do their canine companions. A dog life jacket is a must-have for safety, and it's also helpful to have a dog-specific seat or mat to keep your dog comfortable. If you're planning a longer trip, bring along a dog-friendly water bottle and a collapsible bowl to keep your furry friend hydrated.

For storage, kayaks with ample storage space are ideal. This allows you to bring along dog treats, a leash, and any other essential items without cluttering the kayak. Some kayaks come with a carry bag specifically designed to hold all your gear, making transportation to and from the water a breeze.

Ensuring Comfort for Both Paddler and Pooch

Comfort is key for an enjoyable kayaking experience. Inflatable kayaks with comfortable seats and adjustable seat backs can make a big difference for paddlers. For your dog, consider a kayak with enough space to allow them to move around a bit without risking a capsize.

If you're paddling solo, a single person kayak with extra room can be sufficient. However, if you're bringing along a larger dog or multiple dogs, a tandem kayak or one with three seat locations will provide the necessary space for everyone to be comfortable.

Dealing with the Unexpected

Even with the best preparation, unexpected situations can arise. If your dog jumps out of the kayak, remain calm and use the handle on their life jacket to guide them back in. If your kayak gets punctured, a repair kit can be a trip-saver. Always carry a patch kit and a foot pump to address any issues quickly.

In the event of a sudden jolt or imbalance, practice bracing techniques to stabilize the kayak. It's also a good idea to practice capsizing and re-entry drills with your dog, so you both know what to do if you end up in the water.

Photo credit: Sea Eagle®


Kayaking with your dog can be a rewarding experience, and yes, you can put a dog in an inflatable kayak with the right preparation and equipment. Choose a dog-friendly kayak with stability and space, train your dog for the experience, prioritize safety, and ensure comfort for both you and your pet. With these tips in mind, you and your four-legged friend are set for a fantastic paddling adventure.

inflatable kayak faqs


What type of inflatable kayak is best for dogs? 

The best inflatable kayak for dogs is one with a stable and durable design, such as a sit on top kayak with an open cockpit, aluminum ribs, or a skid plate. It should have enough space for your dog to sit comfortably and a higher weight capacity to accommodate both of you.

How do I train my dog to stay in the kayak? 

Train your dog to stay in the kayak by using positive reinforcement. Reward them with treats and praise for sitting still in their designated spot. Practice commands like "sit" and "stay," and start with short trips in calm waters to build their confidence.

What safety gear does my dog need for kayaking? 

Your dog needs a well-fitting life jacket with a handle for safety. Additionally, bring along a repair kit, a carry bag for gear, and a bungee cord to secure items. Always check weather and water conditions before heading out and avoid rougher waters when kayaking with your dog.

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