5 Best Kayaks for Dogs (Open Sea Adventures Await)

Do you love water sports and adventures in the outdoors but hate leaving your pooch at home?

A kayak that is suitable for dogs is a real must-have for water-loving dog owners that want their furry friend beside them. 

However, with an array of kayaks on the market, how can you know which is the best kayak for dogs? Relax, we have got the answer for you.

We’ve compiled a list of the top five best kayaks for dogs to aid your search.

Alongside this, we’ve written a helpful buyer’s guide as well as some frequently asked questions that might have crossed your mind. 

Say goodbye to a crying pooch and hello to longer days on the water with a kayak suitable for dogs! 

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Check out our top 3 Dog Kayak picks below...

OUR TOP PICK

Intex Explorer K2 Two-Person Kayak with Oars + Pump

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is made with streamlined design for easy paddling and heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl that is perfect for enduring your dog’s claws!

The inflation and deflation process is quick thanks to the Boston valves and the two separate air chambers ensure that you have time to get to safety should one of them experience any issues.

Lightweight and compact, this kayak is a snap to assemble, and allows you to take the fun of kayaking wherever you go. 

Pros

  • This bright yellow kayak is highly visible in the water and is perfect for being spotted should an accident occur. 

  • This particular kayak has adjustable inflating seating with backrests for maximum comfort.

  • The Intex Explorer comes with a removable skeg for your convenience, as well as inflatable I-beam floor.

Cons

  • There's very little negative to say about this kayak. 

EDITORS CHOICE

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump, Grey/Blue (68306NP)

The Intex Challenger Kayak is a luxury kayak that is built for durability.

This kayak is designed with a rugged vinyl construction that’s built for strength and has an inflatable I-beam floor, a low-profile deck and high-buoyancy side chambers for stability, comfort and function. 

A grab line at each end is provided for your convenience, as well as a cargo net for extra storage, a NMMA certified U.S. Coast Guard I.D., and a repair patch kit.

Pros

  • This kayak includes a handy repair set, 2 aluminum paddles, as well as an inflatable pump!

  • This kayak is bright green and is made with sporty graphics for high visibility when you’re out on the water.

  • Removable skeg for directional stability.

Cons

  • An all round great kayak with very few downsides. 

BEST VALUE

perception Kayaks Rambler 13.5 | Sit on Top Tandem Kayak | Recreational Kayak for Two | Storage with Tie Downs | 13' 6' | Dapper

The Perception Rambler 13.5 Sit on Top Tandem Kayak is built with versatility, stability and fun in mind! 

This kayak is made with roomy molded-in seats that feature a removable padded seat and backrests with adjustable support.

Convenient! The supremely stable sit-on-top design is exceptionally safe and easy for anyone to get in and out of. 

Pros

  • This kayak is suitable to be used on lakes, ocean bays, light surf or even slow moving rivers and is brightly colored so you’re easy to spot in the water! 

  • Multiple footrest options accommodate paddlers of all sizes.

  • Additional mold-in center seat for the kids or dog!

Cons

  • No paddle included.

RUNNER UP

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak

The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is made with super tough laminate PVC with a polyester core that makes it lightweight and highly resistant to damage from abrasion, impact and sunlight!

There is plenty of storage space in bow and stern, with stainless steel D rings for tying down dry bags and gear. 

The high pressure inflation provides extra rigidity and stability, with high pressure spring loaded valves for easy inflation and fast deflation.

Pros

  • The total weight capacity for this kayak is 400 pounds!

  • This kayak includes 86in aluminum oars and high-output pump.

  • Quick set up! Spring-loaded high pressure valves for quick inflation and deflation for your convenience.

Cons

  • Less back support than other models.

RUNNER UP

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles

The Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak is lightweight and portable for convenience, yet still remarkably stable and durable.

This kayak features two movable, super comfortable Deluxe Kayak Seats for improved back support and 2 paddles, foot pump, and carry bag.

The PolyKrylar hull is strong enough to withstand dog paws and claws so it’s perfect for your pooch!

Pros

  • This rugged kayak is designed to hold 3 people or 650 lbs meaning that it is perfect for you, a family member, and your dog!   

  • Set up in as little as 10 minutes!

  • This kayak is great fun for beginners and experienced paddlers alike!

Cons

  • Deflates quicker than than you may expect.

Best Kayak for Dogs Buying Guide

There are a few things to take into account before buying a kayak that’s suitable for your dog, but it mainly comes down to your safety. 

As with any water sport, there is an element of risk when it comes to kayaking. As a result, you will want to ensure that you and your pup are as safe as you can be when you’re out on the water.

That being said, you need to make sure that you get a good quality kayak to ensure your safety and should never cut corners by buying a cheap alternative.

Accidents beyond your control can occur, but they’re less likely to if you take the appropriate action to help prevent them! 

Be sure to check out the features below before making your purchase! 

Brightly Colored

Arguably one of the most important factors to consider for your safety when purchasing a kayak is its color.

Water safety is not something to ever be taken lightly, especially with your furry friend on board with you.

Taking that into account, we recommend that you find a kayak that is brightly colored so that you’re highly visible in the water should you capsize or find yourself and your pooch in a dangerous situation. 

Size

An important factor to think about when purchasing a kayak is the size.

This is subject to change depending on how many people you intend to have in your kayak as well as the space that you’ll need for your pup.

You’re likely to find that most larger sized dogs when kayaking are going to be more comfortable riding in their own seat, meaning that you don’t have to worry about them sitting on your lap or being uncomfortable all day because they don’t have enough space of their own. 

Where you put your dog will also depend on their temperament. If your dog gets separation anxiety or is excitable, you may find that it’s safer to have them in the cockpit between your legs.

However, it’s important to note that this is only really advisable if they can’t behave in their own seat, as you’ll be much more comfortable and your movement won’t be hindered if they have their own.

Weight

When purchasing your new kayak, it is important to note the maximum weight that the kayak can handle. 

This is necessary because you’ll need to take your dog’s weight into consideration and only load the kayak accordingly, as you don’t want to risk loading it with a cargo that’s too heavy as you could risk having it sink on the water.

Be safe by making sure that your kayak can carry the weight you need it to! 

Durable Material

Something crucial to take into consideration when purchasing a kayak suitable for your dog is the material that it is made out of. 

You’ll need a kayak with durable material for your own safety, but especially if you intend to take your pooch out with you. This is because your kayak will need to be able to withstand your dog’s sharp claws.

No matter how well behaved your pooch is, you can bet that they’ll scratch the kayak just moving around, so you need to be mindful of this when purchasing a durable material. 

Stability

A large factor to consider when purchasing a kayak suitable for your dog is the stability.

Kayaking with your beloved pooch can be a fun activity for the whole family, however, depending on how your dog copes in the cold water, you’ll need to ensure that you buy a stable kayak.

You may be comfortable with capsizing and falling out, but you never know how your dog will react, especially when it comes to kayaking in colder temperatures.

Wherever you are when your dog falls into the water, the first thing they are likely to do is swim to shore or try to get back into the kayak.

That being said, they’ll be up against the weather conditions and any currents and rapids in the water, so it’s just safer for all if they are in a stable kayak.

As a result, you should always look for a sturdy kayak to ensure it’s less likely to tip over! 

Storage and Set Up 

Something important to think about when purchasing a kayak is the storage and how easy it is to set up. 

People quite often prefer inflatable kayaks as they’re compact and much easier to store. However, you’ll need to think about the set up time that the kayak requires.

A lot of inflatable kayaks boast very little time to set up, however, you will need to factor this time into your time on the water and you may prefer. 

You might find that a plastic dog friendly kayak is more convenient for you. However, if the kayak of your choice is not inflatable, you’ll need to think about the space you have available and where you’re going to store it.

Make sure that you check the dimensions properly and measure the space you have correctly before you choose the right kayak for you. After all, depending on the size, they can take up quite a lot of space!

Features & Extras

Something worth noting is that lots of kayaks come with handy features and extras, but this is largely down to personal preference and what you intend to be using your kayak for. 

If the kayak you’ve chosen is inflatable, it’s always handy to look for one that comes with a pump, so you’ve got everything that you need to blow it up straight away. 

Oars can be an added expense if your kayak doesn’t come with them, so this is also something to weigh up when you’re deciding which kayak to buy. 

Safety Tips

It is worth noting that the most important thing to take into consideration when buying a kayak is you and your dog’s safety.

You’ll need to ensure that you’re both wearing life jackets so that if you do go overboard, you’ve got that extra level of buoyancy to help you. Don't assume your dog can swim, give him a doggy lifejacket.

It goes without saying that this is especially important if your pooch is not a strong swimmer, is elderly, or if they’re overweight, as they’ll need the extra support if they’re required to swim for longer periods of time.

You’ll also need to acclimate your dog to the kayak that you buy. You can do this by hiding little treats inside the kayak and letting your dog find them.

Every time your dog goes over to the kayak, make sure that you praise them and/or give them a treat so they can associate good feelings and fun with the kayak.

Lastly, you can sit in the kayak yourself and pet your dog when they come over to say hi, this will show them that there is nothing to be scared of and it will eventually become more familiar to them. 

Lastly, whilst your dog is getting the hang of the kayak, you should stick to calmer waters. This will minimize the risk of them falling into the water and becoming scared of it.

You need to be patient and ease them in! Their first experience should also be short and sweet, to avoid subjecting them to unnecessary stress.

You need to create a positive association between them and the kayak, so they learn that there is nothing to be afraid of!

That way they’ll be more than ready to go on their next adventure next time you decide to take them kayaking! 

Consult Your Veterinarian

Before going on any kayak adventures, it is important that you check with your veterinarian and let them know if you’re training your dog for kayaking.  

As professionals, your vet will be able to advise you on the safety precautions you should take when kayaking with your pooch as you want to ensure that you have everything you could possibly need with you on board. This is especially important if your dog has any health issues, such as diabetes and a weak heart. 

It is also worth mentioning, if your dog spends a lot of time in the water you will want to get their skin/fur checked regularly. This is because tics can burrow their way into your dog’s skin without you even realizing, and can cause further issues down the line!

Also, mosquitoes are known to thrive around water and you never know if they’re infected, so it’s important that you get your dog checked to ensure that no bites become nasty. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to take your dog kayaking?

As with any water sports, there is always going to be a degree of danger when you go out kayaking.

However, with the right kayak and safety precautions, you can enjoy your favorite water sport with your furry friend, too! 

It is important to note that before you take your dog kayaking, you need to ensure that they know how to swim and that you’ve provided them with a life jacket too.

For most dogs, swimming is instinctual, but being in a kayak is still foreign territory. You need to train them appropriately and ease them in, as you don’t want to be in an emergency situation whereby you find out if they’re a strong swimmer or not.

You need to prep them beforehand. 

What do you do if your dog jumps ship when kayaking?

The most important thing to do when your dog jumps ship is to first make sure that they’re wearing a life jacket at all times when kayaking.

So, if your jumps overboard without permission here are a few tips.

  • Remain calm. Keep your voice at an even level but remain firm, so that you ensure you’re not going to panic them.
  • Tell them to get in the boat calmly as you paddle towards them.
  • When they’re close, lift your paddle out of the water so it doesn’t hit them or scare them, then lean over and grab your dog by the lifejacket handle and pull them on board.
  • If your dog isn’t wearing a lifejacket, lay down your oar so it won’t fall in the water, then reach down and pull your dog parallel alongside the kayak. Try to calm them a bit by keeping your voice at an even, soothing level.
  • Once you’ve got them on board, reassure them that it’s okay. You don’t want them to be afraid to fall in again, as it’s bound to happen!

Last update on 2021-05-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API