Intro Into Our Best Kayak For Dogs
The saying is true... a dog really is a mans 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 is 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 which are more stable, can carry more load and are comfortable making them ideal for yourself and a 4 legged companion.
There is 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.
7 Best Kayaks For Dogs
1: EDITORS CHOICE
Perception kayaks have been one of the leading kayak brands for many years now, this one makes our list for the best kayak for dogs easily. And it also takes our editors choice!
Initially being produced as a fishing kayak, this sit on top kayak has been purchased by many dog lovers around the world due to its stability and wide open space. It also has integrated accessory rails which allow you to easily tie your dogs leash to if you're worried about it jumping out of the kayak.
There is a lawn chair style mesh seat with 2-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh for ultimate all-day comfort and no pain, you can also lower the seat backwards to make it perfect for relaxing or paddling in a comfier position.
The area for your legs is also big enough to hold your dog or the storage area behind the seat can also hold a dog, even those of a larger size.
The kayak is fairly wide which gives it fantastic stability, so there will be no issue with your dog moving around the kayak and potentially tipping it.
Although this kayak comes in as one of the more expensive ones in our list, its a brilliant choice if you're an avid kayaker and it will serve you well on any trip with and without your dog.
PROS & CONS
View more products from Perception Kayaks >>
Another great kayak brand - Ocean Kayaks, this one makes our list as our top pick as being a great all round kayak choice for you and your dog.
This kayak has three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a child or pet.
There is a pair of Comfort Plus seats which provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats. Another cool thing is that you can sit either in the front or the back which allows you to choose where you would like your dog to sit.
The sit on top hull makes it really easy to get in and out of the kayak and the wide middle section makes the kayak stable making it ideal for any experienced paddler and for carrying a lot of weight.
PROS & CONS
View more products from Ocean Kayaks >>
This kayak from sevylor is highly suitable for dogs due to its stability and size. Originally made as a fishing kayak, this kayak has lots of room for storage and lots of open hull space to ensure you and your dog are comfortable on your adventure.
The 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover provide durable protection from punctures and scrapes. Don't worry about the durability of an inflatable kayak with this one!
As this kayak is technically for fishing, it also has attachment points for a trolling motor, so if you don't want to paddle as much and relax you could also attach one of them.
Many customers report on how comfy the seats are. There is 2 seats and plenty of room, so you could easily fit 2 people and your beloved dog in the kayak.
PROS & CONS
View more products from Sevylor >>
4: OUR TOP PICK
This kayak is perfect for your adventure with your canine friend. It's spacious and extremely stable hull provides the perfect place to paddle and chill out. This kayak can also be used as a fishing kayak and therefore has tremendous stability.
The 500lb capacity means this kayak can easily hold and fit 2-3 people.
The kayak is also shaped to maintain excellent tracking even through the roughest waters.
Molded from High Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durability. This kayak is also backed by a 5 years manufactures warranty.
PROS & CONS
View more products from Lifetime >>
Another portable and inflatable kayak which will be great for your dog. The Intex challenger K2 is an extremely popular choice amongst recreational kayakers.
Streamlined shape allows fro easier paddling which is usually more difficult in inflatable kayaks.
Produced from Super Tough vinyl that's puncture and UV damage resistant for long term durability - sometimes a worry with inflatable kayaks!
2 very comfy kayak seats ensure you or your pooch wont be in discomfort on your kayaking trip!
A very impressive 400lb weight capacity means you may be able to get 2 people and your dog inside of the kayak.
This purchase also comes with 2 86 inch aluminium oars.
PROS & CONS
View more products from Intex >>
Stability is one of the key features you should look out for whilst deciding on which kayak to purchase for you and your dog, it's also especially important if you're a beginner - and we would say this kayak is one of the most stable kayaks on our list.
There is a dry storage area which will keep your electronics and valuable safe even if you tip over. As well as this there is also shock cord deck rigging so if you want to stop your dog leaping out the kayak then you can tie the leash to this.
Customers report on how comfortable the seat is to sit in, even for extended periods of time.
The large open cockpit area gives plenty of space for your dog to sit in, even for the larger breeds.
The kayak also comes in a wide variety of colors to suit your needs.
PROS & CONS
View more products from SunDolphin >>
7: BEST VALUE
Another Inflatable Intex kayak that has made our list and fro good reason. Thousands of customers have reviewed this product on Amazon and the great reviews keep pouring in.
Loved for it's great portability and small size it packs away to. Also for the ease of inflation and deflation.
Very affordable this kayak is a great choice for beginners.
Not short on room this kayak can easily fit two people and a dog. The comfy seats ensure you stay upright and paddle in the correct position making sure you avoid any back and arm pain.
PROS & CONS
View more products from Intex >>
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 guid and FAQ. 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 become disappointment.
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 Types of Kayak For Your Dog
As we've previously stated there is hundreds of kayak option on the market, but not every one 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 best kayaks for dogs list are marketed as 'dog kayaks'.
For example, fishing 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.
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 the stability. They are often slightly wider than lets 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 7 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 enclosed kayaks are actually produced to be rolled over in the water, where as sit on top kayaks are manufactured in a way to counter act 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?
Don't get me wrong sea kayaks have their place, they are excellent for the kayaker who seeks adventure off the coast in unchartered water or around crystal clear bays. Sea 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 narrow. This makes them notoriously unstable and should only be used by someone with more experience in kayaking. The instability and lack of space means 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 are essentially the opposite of a sea 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 which need to be rapidly steered away from.
They are a definite avoid for 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 realise it cant fit you and your dog. You also don't want the dog to feel over-cramped on it's 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 eaves 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.
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't 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 tear resistance 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 over looked. 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 live 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 f they are unconscious.
Regardless of how calm your dog is, if this is it's 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 it's 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 water which also strongly reflects the sun.
If you're unsure about which sunscreens are safe for your dog then WebMD has a great artile about sunscreen for dogs.
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 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 down stream before you can reach him or her.
Even worse if your dog hits it's 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.
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
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! 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 anti-septic 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 a 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 research and developing that list along with the pros and cons. I often go out kayaking with my dog so I know exactly what to look for in a kayak for dogs.
To recap, our top 2 picks were the Perception Pescador Pro 12 and the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak.
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.
If you enjoyed our review style then check out our best paddles for kayaks.