The Best Kayak For Dogs In 2024 – Buying Guide And Reviews

kayaking with your dog

Intro Into Our Best Kayak For Dogs

The saying is true… a dog really is a man’s best friend. Every dog owner understands the enjoyment gained from being able to take your pooch anywhere with you and to experience the adventurous life you enjoy.

After all, dogs are closely related to wolves, they love being outside! Getting the best kayak for dogs going to make your time on the water easier to manage and more comfortable.

It’s getting more and more common to see people taking their dogs on kayaking trips, this has led to the production of kayaks that are more stable, can carry more load, and are comfortable making them ideal for yourself and a 4 legged companion.

There are thousands of kayaks on the market but picking the right one for you and your dog can be an overwhelming task.

To make things easy for you we have compiled a list of the best kayaks for dogs which will all be perfect for you and your dog. We have also listed some pros and cons for each choice to further assist you in making the right decision.

Quick View Dog Kayaks:

5 Best Kayaks For Dogs​

​​​​​​The Best Kayak For Dogs Buying Guide and FAQ

Now that we have gone over the best kayak for dogs, we would like to further assist you with making your purchase by providing this buying guide and FAQs.

We will go over what kind of kayaks you should use with your dog, what key features are important and how to look for them, and finally some frequently asked customer questions.

We know that making the correct choice can be daunting and overwhelming especially with the sheer amount of products on the market and many that are often over-hyped and don’t live up to expectations.

But that’s exactly why we spend the time to do hours of research. And create these review articles so fellow lovers of water sports and kayaking make investments into products they love and carry the passion for water sports forward with their family, friends, and in this case their beloved furry friends!

We will also include some top safety tips when kayaking with your dog to ensure you both stay safe whilst out on the water.

best kayaks for dogs

Best Types of Kayak For Your Dog

As we’ve previously stated there is hundreds of kayak option on the market, but not everyone is going to be suitable for both you and your dog.

Making the wrong decision is going to greatly affect how you paddle, store things, stability, safety, and how comfortable you are on your adventure.

Some kayaks are clearly labelled as dog friendly which should make your purchase a little easier. But occasionally this is just marketing fluff and the kayak isn’t necessarily the best choice for you.

And more often than not, the best kayak for you and your dog isn’t actually a kayak produced solely for dogs, in fact, non of the kayaks that make out the best kayaks for dogs list is marketed as ‘dog kayaks’.

For example, fishing and recreational kayaks are a brilliant choice. They have to carry lots of gear, have plenty of storage, are sit on top and are very stable.

Some are so stable fisherman stand on the kayak to cast. This makes them a great kayak choice for you and your dog.

Best Choice:

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are often tailored towards the beginner or first time kayaker. They have lots of room to move around in, are easy to paddle in a straight line, and are easy to get in and out of.

The most important aspect of a recreational kayak is stability. They are often slightly wider than let’s say a touring kayak produced for experienced kayakers.

This makes them a great choice for you and your dog, especially if your dog likes to move around the kayak whilst out on the water, you shouldn’t have to worry about tipping over.

Double-check the size of the kayak and make sure you can fit with your dog, especially for larger breeds. If you have a large dog breed then shop around for a tandem kayak made to seat 2 people. Tandem kayaks have more room and aren’t any more difficult to paddle.

Sit On Top Kayak

Every one of the kayaks on our 5 best kayak for dogs list, is a sit on top kayak. This is because they are very easy for your dog to get in and out and the open hull means there is lots of room for both you and your dog.

Most sit on top kayaks also have plenty of storage room and some have dry storage so you can take along valuables or store items such as your dog leash and treats.

Remember when we said stability is a key factor? Well sit on top kayaks are very stable.

Some sit-inside kayaks are actually produced to be rolled over in the water, whereas sit-on-top kayaks are manufactured in a way to counteract the ability to roll over ensuring you and your dog stay dry and safe.

So now  you know the 2 main kayak types to look for… But which ones should you avoid?

Worst Choice:

Touring Kayaks

Don’t get me wrong touring kayaks have their place, they are excellent for the kayaker who seeks adventure off the coast in unchartered water or around crystal clear bays.

Touring kayaks are often enclosed kayaks with a long deck made to cut through waves and track in a very straight line.

But to achieve this they are built very narrowly. This makes them notoriously unstable and should only be used by someone with more experience in kayaking.

The instability and lack of space mean they shouldn’t be considered for you and your dog, after all, you definitely don’t want to be capsizing with a dog on board.

Whitewater Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are essentially the opposite of a touring kayak, they are very small in length and wide.

Although the width means they are very stable, the length means there is only room enough for the kayaker and nothing else.

They are made to be kayaked down fast-flowing rivers with lots of rocks that need to be rapidly steered away from.

They are a definite avoid as a kayak for you and your dog.

Important Considerations When Choosing The Best Kayak for Dogs


Space is an important consideration after all you don’t want to receive your kayak and realize it cant fit you and your dog. You also don’t want the dog to feel over-cramped on an adventure – remember it has to be fun for both of you.

If you have a smaller dog that clings to you at all times then you might be able to get away with a smaller kayak where the dog can squeeze in between your legs or inside the cockpit on your knee.


We’ve touched on this a few times already but it’s worth mentioning again, stability is very important when choosing a kayak for you and your dog.

There is no doubt if your dog is a water lover and a good swimmer then it will be diving in and out of the kayak on your journey.

The dog will most likely come straight back to you if it leaves the kayak by choice. But if there is an unexpected flip of the kayak which will scare/startle the dog then it’s possible the dog will panic and head straight for shore – depending on where you are this could be very far and put the dog in danger.

Choosing a stable kayak will be safer and make the whole kayaking trip a whole lot more enjoyable. Especially if you and your dog are a beginner kayakers.

Durable Material

This should always be a top consideration for anyone buying a kayak however it does hold more importance when you are taking animals aboard with you.

No matter how careful you are, it’s always likely that your dog will end up scratching the kayak. This isn’t such an issue for solid kayaks but if you opt for an inflatable kayak make sure it is made from wear-resistant materials.

Safety Tips For Kayaking With A Dog

Kayaking and going on adventures with your dog should be an incredibly fun experience for you both. It’s a great way to explore and create an everlasting bond with your four-legged friend.

However safety should never be overlooked. I’m not going to go over all of the dangers that kayaking out in deep and rough water hold – these are obvious.

But we should go over some top safety tips to ensure both you and your dog remain safe and ultimately have a more enjoyable time out on the water.

Use a Life Vest

Some dogs love water and some are fantastic swimmers. However, if your dog is a poor swimmer or you want to provide some extra security – especially if you are far from shore or kayaking in rough water then you should opt for a life vest for your dog.

Although dog life vests aren’t specially designed to keep your dogs head above the water if they’re unconscious like a human life vest, they will provide buoyancy and keep your dog afloat making it easier for them to swim long distances and make it easier for you to get to them in time if they are unconscious.

Kayak/Water Training

Regardless of how calm your dog is, if this is their first time in a kayak which let’s be honest feels really unstable at first then the dog may panic and be very scared.

It’s very important that you take things really slow at first in the kayak and give the dog time to get used to it. This is even more important if your dog isn’t a big fan of water.

We recommend that when you first receive your kayak you lay it out on some stable ground and reward your dog with treats for sitting in the kayak.

Encourage your dog to hop in the kayak and out on its own. You ultimately want to make sure the dog doesn’t associate the kayak as a scary object but rather a fun place to enter and get rewarded.

This will make it much easier when you first get onto the water. I would also recommend taking some treats or dog food along with you on your adventure, constantly positively reinforcing the kayak as a happy place for your dog.

Remember you want the trip to be enjoyable for you both.

Sunscreen & SPF

When you’re planning which supplies you need to take along with you on your kayaking list, this may be at the top of your list… but for yourself, not your dog.

Many people don’t know that dogs can get sunburned and quite severely, especially in areas with not much fur such as ears, nose, tail and paws.

Sunburn can be a real issue when kayaking as you’re often spending hours in the open on the water which also strongly reflects the sun.

If you’re unsure about which sunscreens are safe for your dog then WebMD has a great article about sunscreen for dogs.

Calmer Waters

This point is more important if you’re a beginner kayaker yourself or if your dog is a beginner and is still getting used to spending time on the water.

Rough waters will create more unstable conditions, making it easier for your dog to fall overboard and also harder for your dog to swim back to the kayak or back to shore.

I would always recommend sticking clear of whitewaters with your dog no matter what level of experience you are.

It’s not just the speed of the kayak in the water that’s the issue here. But also the amount of rocks and rapids, if your dog is lost overboard the water is likely to take it way downstream before you can reach him or her.

Even worse if your dog hits its head and becomes unconscious then the situation becomes much worse – for obvious reasons. Stick to calmer waters such as lakes, calm rivers, and calm coastal waters.

Talk To Your Veterinarian 

It’s unlikely your vet is going to completely discredit kayaking with your dog. After all, they understand the relationships people have with canines better than anyone.

And what better way to create an everlasting bond between owner and pet than kayaking and exploring the outdoors together.

However, your vet will be able to address important safety concerns and check over the health of your dog. If your dog has for example heart conditions or a bad leg/back – anything that might cause an issue in the water, then the vet will be able to inform you whether it’s a good idea or not.

Although as pet owners we think we know everything there is to know about our best friend, the vets tend to know more and their advice shouldn’t be ignored.

Pet Insurance

Although claiming on your pet insurance for an accident or illness is the last thing any dog owner wants to think about. It’s always worth having insurance for anything unexpected that might occur whilst kayaking on the water.

It’s better to be prepared than to be hit with an unexpected medical bill which can rapidly creep into the thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the issue.

Best Kayak For Dogs – FAQs

kayak for dogs

What should I take along with me on our adventure?

Although you might be super eager to get out on the water with your dog, it’s really important you plan and prepare properly ahead of time. When you have a dog with you it’s essential you take some particular things with you.

  • Food and Water

This is very important! If you are kayaking for long periods of time then your dog is likely to get dehydrated, especially in the sun!

Don’t assume that because you are surrounded by water that your dog will drink that – some waters aren’t clean and contain harmful bacteria. Make sure you take along something like a portable pet water bottle.

Your dog may also get hungry, although you don’t have to take along a dog bowl and full meal, it’s always wise to take along some dog food to make sure your dog remains fed and happy.

  • Dog Sunscreen

We touched on this in the safety tips but we will mention it again. Dogs can get sunburned! Often overlooked by pet owners, make sure you take some dog sunscreen with you. Paying close attention to the ears, nose, and paws.

  • Life vest

Don’t forget this! The safety of your dog is paramount. If your dog isn’t a great swimmer, don’t forget your dog life vest.

A life vest will make your dog more confident about swimming in the water, also if you have an unexpected capsize then you can rest assured that your dog isn’t going to panic and swim back to land or sink in the water. They are very affordable and worth every penny.

I own a Daschund which loves the kayak but is a terrible swimmer, so I wouldn’t go without a life vest – It also makes it easier to pull him out of the water if he falls in.

  • Medical Supplies

If your dog is injury prone then it may be wise to take some medical supplies along with you. We have already mentioned sunscreen, but some painkillers, bandages, and antiseptic wipes might also be a good idea.

Also, if your dog needs medication for other health problems and you’re going to be kayaking for longer periods of time then don’t forget their meds!

  • Dog Toys

You’re kayaking to create an enjoyable experience for you both. If your dog loves toys at home then why not take some with you?

After all, it will make the dog feel more at home and will definitely reassure the dog that the kayak is a fun space to have fun and be happy.

Can I Get A Platform For My Dog To Sit On In The Kayak?

Although we can’t find any kayaks we would recommend with a built-in platform for your dog.

If you are handy then there is no harm in making one, just make sure it doesn’t affect the stability and safety of the kayak. You also want to make sure it doesn’t get in the way of your kayak stroke.

Can I Make My Kayak Slip-Proof For My Dog?

If you’re worried about your dog slipping off the kayak and into the water, especially when the deck is wet then you can easily and affordably make your kayak slip-proof. This will benefit both you and your dog, especially when getting in and out of the kayak.

It’s very common to see anti-slip tape and pads on kayaks and boat decks. You simply apply them to the kayak and you’re good to go!


So that’s it! We hope you are more informed on what key features to look out for when buying the best kayak for dogs. Remember to pay special attention to the safety tips as these shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked!

We also hope you enjoyed the kayak reviews, we spent hours researching and developing a list along with the technical specs and key features. I often go out kayaking with my dog so I know exactly what to look for in a kayak for dogs.​

I really hope you manage to make a decision and purchase a kayak for you and your dog as there is no better way to create a long-lasting bond between you and your best friend than to explore the outdoors together.

Related Posts:

Similar Posts