What is the Best Kayak for Dogs?

Many dogs love going into the water and so may your dog. If you’re fortunate enough to have a dog that doesn’t mind going into the water, you might want to take it kayaking for a fun adventure. There are so many kayak models that are suitable for dogs, so the next you go kayaking your best friend doesn’t have to stay at home.

two dogs on a kayak

How to Choose a Suitable Kayak for You and Your Dog

Choosing a kayak for your dog may seem tricky but it’s important to ask yourself certain important questions to help you narrow down your options.

  • Do you and your pooch prefer to avoid the water, or do you not mind a little splash here and there?
  • What water body do you prefer to explore? Something adventurous like white water rafting, or perhaps something calmer like lakes and ponds?
  • What are your paddling preferences? Do you prefer relaxing waters in a stable kayak, or do you want a more responsive kayak?

Types of Kayaks Suitable for Dogs

The tandem kayak is naturally, suitable for larger dogs. But some owners have trained their dogs well enough to sit on the bow of a sit-on-top inflatable kayak, or even crouch near their legs in a sit-in hard shell kayak.

That being said, the safest and most comfortable option, in this case, has to be the tandem kayak. It allows the dog to have a bit of room to move around and makes things more comfortable for you as well. The only catch with this is that tandem kayaks tend to come in at a higher price point.

If a tandem kayak is out of your budget, a sit-on-top kayak might just serve the purpose as well. They’re easy to use and are built for a versatile range of activities. They typically offer a lot of room so both you and the dog can be in comfort and ease without feeling cramped.

But no matter how big your kayak is, always make sure that your dog is fitted with a personal floating device before venturing into the water. Also, be aware of the dangers of sun damage – sunscreen for the dog’s nose and belly is vital.

Types of Kayaks that Accommodate Dogs

dog on kayak

Sit-on-Top and Sit-in Kayaks

Sit-on-Top kayaks are preferred because they are the most user-friendly option. For dogs, they are highly preferred because they have maximum stability, because of the wide hull. They’re also very easy to get in and out of which is a huge plus point, especially with a dog. They are a lot more spacious which makes them suitable for big dogs too

Furthermore, these kayaks are self-bailing which means that there is convenient water draining through the holes. On the downside, it also increases your chances of getting wet, so if you prefer to stay dry, maybe you should explore other options!

In such cases, you can always opt for sit-in kayaks which ensure that you and your dog stay dry. But then again you need to weigh the pros and cons because sit-in kayaks are more difficult to climb in and out of which is a huge compromise at times if you’re kayaking with your dog.

Tandem Kayaks

Tandem kayaks can be the best option in the market if you have a larger dog. They’re generally much more spacious which gives your dog more room to move around, and that can make long rides a lot more comfortable for both of you.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are preferred by dog owners primarily because of their easy storage at home which gives their dogs time to get familiar with it and be less anxious offshore as compared to in a rented kayak

However, these kayaks are not very durable in rough water conditions such as choppy waters and winds, so these can only be used in fair weather. Also, don’t forget to clip your dog’s nails so that he doesn’t rip the boat!

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks can be an easy go-to option for dog owners because they are extremely stable and are mostly covered except the cockpit.

However, because of the space constraints, these are mostly suitable for lap dogs or small dogs that can fit easily between your legs.

Types of Kayaks to Avoid When Kayaking With Dogs

dog on kayak on water

Sea Kayaks

Sea kayaks are not usually recommended for dog lovers because they can be a tight fit. They have pointed ends and long slender bodies, which is fine if you’re paddling solo but leaves little room to share with your dog when adventuring on the water together.

White Water Kayaks

The white water kayaks, which are used for both recreational and competitive purposes among other things, were not designed with canines in mind because of the design’s reliance on a user steering the boat. These types of boats have a tight-fitting shape that does not leave any room for having dogs on board. Not only this but these particular vessels are very lightweight and sensitive to small leans or changes – too responsive to have your dog along!

Top 8 Dog-friendly Kayaks for 2021

1.     Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak – Best Kayak for Big Dogs

best kayak for dogs

Check Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem on Amazon

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem enjoys tremendous popularity on a kayak. It is especially popular with people who like to kayak with their dogs. This 12-foot sit-on-top kayak is great when it comes to comfort for you and your dog. It has room for another person, let alone a dog.

  • This is a versatile kayak that can handle both the rough rapids and calmer waters like flat lakes.
  • The generous weight capacity of 425 pounds means that it can seat two adults and a small pooch without difficulty.
  • Interestingly, the design of the hull is such that you can stack another identical kayak on top of it with ease.
  • Not something that you’ll base your purchase on, but convenient if you own multiple of these models.
  • The durability of this kayak has been well proven, as the reviews point out. I
  • ts main draw is the stability and reliability with which it is able to maneuver waters.
  • Its generous size and weight rating make it an ideal kayak to use when you’re kayaking with your dog.

2.     Perception Tribe 13.5 Sit-On-Top Kayak – Best Kayak for 2 Adults and 1 Dog


best kayak for dogs

Check Perception Tribe Sit-On-Top Kayak on Amazon

The Perception Tribe, as you might have guessed by the name, is 13.5 feet long and can easily seat up to three adults. Or two adults and a regular-sized dog if you want to take your best friend with you. The boat features a good amount of width and is low towards the water, making it a highly stable kayak that is ideal for cruising in a calm lake.

  • There is enough room for the dog to move around as you make your way through the water. The weight rating is similarly impressive – up to 500 pounds.
  • The Ocean Malibu is big but this is even bigger, which makes it a better proposition for people who want to take multiple dogs kayaking.
  • The wide shape of the hull makes it a beginner-friendly kayak as well.
  • The seats are padded for added comfort and can be folded to make room for gear.
  • Should some water get in the boat, there are draining scupper holes that will help it get out of the boat, keeping you and your dog dry.


3.     Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10


best kayak for dogs

Check Old Town Vapor 10 on Amazon

The Old Town Vapor 10 is an Amazon favorite among customers. Whether you want to take your dog on a river cruise or just go for a relaxing fishing session, the Vapor 10 will serve you well.

  • Even though it isn’t very long, it is made out of a very high-quality hardshell body that makes it a durable kayak.
  • The cockpit is decently sized and there’s room enough for a medium-sized dog to sit inside between your legs.
  • The small nature of the Old Town Vapor 10 makes it easy to carry on land, as it weighs just 47 pounds.
  • The Vapor 10 is available in three variants: the standard recreational kayak, the XT, and the Angler.
  • The XT model is basically the standard model with a rigid day well cover thrown in.
  • The Angler of course is made for the purposes of fishing and is equipped with rod holders and an anchor trolley system.
  • The versatile Vapor 10 can easily handle a variety of kayak needs.

4.     Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak


best kayak for dogs

Check Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak on Amazon

The 10-foot Lifetime Sport Fisher is a hard-shell kayak that can be used as a solo or tandem. The boat is reasonably long and you can easily take your dog in it kayaking. The low hull is designed to provide additional balance while you’re standing and is a welcome feature for beginners.

  • This kayak also comes with special features for anglers – there are two molded paddle rests so you can safely stow away your paddles while you’re fishing.
  • The kayak also comes with four-rod holders for your fishing poles. The kayak comes with everything you need to get started with kayaking including two paddle oars.
  • The durability of this kayak is quite good and it can easily withstand scrapes with rocks. Rest assured, your dog’s paws will do little to damage the body of this kayak.

5.     Riot Kayaks Edge LV – Best Kayak for Small Dogs


best kayak for dogs

Check Riot Kayaks Edge LV on Amazon

The Riot Kayaks Edge LV is for dog owners who have experience in going kayaking with their dogs. There isn’t a lot of room to move around on this kayak and your dog will have to perch on the bow. This is a one-person kayak so there isn’t a lot of space but it’s perfect for venturing into smooth lakes.

  • The kayak is 14-and-a-half feet long and comes with covered dry wells on both the stern and the bow.
  • There is also a pilot rudder system that improves tracking performance and allows it to react to user inputs swiftly.
  • If your dog is small it can easily fit into the cockpit along with you.

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Dogs

6.     Aquaglide Chinook XP Tandem XL 3 Person Inflatable Kayak

best kayak for dogs

Check Aquaglide Chinook XP Inflatable Kayak  on Amazon

Now we’re stepping into the territory of inflatable kayaks. But believe it or not, it’s not as dangerous as it sounds. There are plenty of people who take their dogs with them on their inflatable kayaks and the whole experience happens without any mishaps. Just make sure that your dog’s nails are properly trimmed and you’ll have no reason to fear any punctures in the inflatable kayak.

  • The Aquaglide Chinook XP is a favorite amongst dog owners because of its length. There’s room enough for three people, or two people and a regular-sized dog.
  • The extra-large cockpit, your dog has plenty of room and will not feel cramped.
  • The boat comes in at 12 feet and 10 inches, barely shy of the 13-feet mark.
  • It has an impressive weight capacity of about 550 pounds when inflated, which makes it an even better option for larger adults who wish to take their dog with them.
  • This kayak might be inflatable but it’s also very robust. Made out of a durable, puncture-resistant PVC beam floor it can easily withstand the usual scrapes with rocks and even your dog’s nails.
  • The packaged accessories include a repair kit, 2 core seats, a saddle seat, two footrests, and a carrying bag.

7.       Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package


best kayak for dogs

CheckSea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak on Amazon

The Sea Eagle SE330 is high quality and a durable inflatable kayak that is one of the best kayaks for dogs.

  • The Sea Eagle SE330 comes with everything you need to get into the water. There’s a repair kit, a high-pressure air pump, two paddles, two inflatable seats, and a carrying case.
  • The inflatable kayak has a durable floor that can easily withstand abuse from your dog’s paws or even scrapes with rocks underneath.
  • Don’t expect the same level of durability as you get with a plastic kayak but for most scenarios, this model will serve you well.
  • A big benefit of having an inflatable kayak is that it is highly portable. This model weighs just 26 pounds when fully deflated, so you can easily stow it into the trunk of a car for easy transport.

8.     Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak


best kayak for dogs

Check Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak on Amazon

Coleman Colorado is one of the best fishing kayaks available in the market today. It is almost 11-feet long which makes it a great choice for two adults or one adult and a regular-sized dog.

  • Although this is an inflatable kayak, it sports excellent durability. The body is made out of eighteen-gauge PVC which means it can easily withstand your dog’s paws without any punctures. The fabric is pretty durable and will take a lot of beating.
  • Colorado doesn’t skimp out on equipment either. It comes with the Berkley Quick Set fishing rod holders and can accommodate a Sevylor trolling motor as well.
  • Accessories include a pressure gauge and carrying case.
  • The price tag of this kayak is quite affordable, making it a great choice for people who’re looking for a portable kayak they can take their dog with.

Kayaking Gear Necessary for the Dog

man and dog on a kayak

Just like people, a dog has to be equipped with suitable safety equipment before being put into the water. Dogs are natural swimmers, but precaution is still necessary to avoid untoward incidents in water.

Life Jackets for Dogs

Accidents can happen all the time when you’re far from the shore. And just like humans, dogs too can slip into the water. A Personal Flotation Device or life jacket can be a great lifesaver!


Having a couple of leashes is also a good idea. The first leash might slip your hand, so a second one close by will serve as the backup if things do not go according to plan. A full harness can come in handy if the dog falls into the water. It makes pulling them out a much safer and easier task.

Sun Cream

Just like people, dogs can get sunburnt too. In fact, the risk increases as sun rays are reflecting off the water, which can affect parts of their bodies not exposed by furs such as their nose, ears, and bellies. There are several good ranges of sunblocks available for dogs in the market!

Tips for Kayaking with a Dog

Always put the needs of the dog first before you decide to go kayaking. Not all dogs are fans of water, so you might have to look for another companion to go kayaking with. Also, a dog that is easily excited will not be suitable for kayaking – an activity that relies on keeping still and observing patience.

It is also important that your dog first become familiar with the kayak. Don’t just assume that the dog will instantly feel at home in the kayak – it may take some time. Sit in the kayak first and invite your dog to come and next in the kayak. See if they’re willing to do so. Dogs that are hesitant to jump into a kayak should never be taken onboard.

Even if everything goes smoothly during preparation, don’t expect your dog to behave itself on its first kayak adventure. It might even take several kayaking trips before the dog is fully accustomed to the experience.

Train your Dog for Kayaking

If you want to enjoy the experience of kayaking with your dog, it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable with the experience. That’s why it’s important to train them so that they become acquainted with kayaks and do not stress out and panic once you set out into the waters.

You need to give your dog time to adjust to the new surroundings, so let them explore the kayak beforehand while the kayak is still onshore.

You can even sit in your kayak to encourage your dog to come to play there, and give him treats every time he explores the kayak.

Perhaps start with your garden or background, and once you think your pup is comfortable, move the kayak to shallow waters, and when you’re sure he’s ready you can move to deep waters.

Michael Holding

Michael is an outdoor adventurer and a kayaking enthusiast who loves to share his experiences with others. He is the Chief Editor at XgearHub.

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