If you’re a dog owner who usually kayaks, you most probably leave your dog behind whenever you head to the shore. This makes you a bit guilty, doesn't it? Now, you can safely enjoy the best kayak trips with your loyal friend.
All you need to do is find a dog-friendly kayak. Such kayaks usually offer a high weight limit, enough space where your dog can play around without you worrying he might fall over, and other qualities that we’ll talk about in detail later.
However, before taking your dog on board, there are specific tips that you should follow to ensure their safety.
If you want to know more about this, go on reading this article for information about the best models, how to choose one, the safety tips, and some frequently asked questions you have in mind.
Ready to meet the best kayak for dogs?
Best Kayak For Dogs
1. Intex Explorer K2 - Widest Inflatable Kayak
Before buying a dog-friendly kayak, you must make sure that the dog's limbs stay inside the kayak no matter what position he is standing in. Intex Explorer K2 is an excellent inflatable kayak for that as it’s 10 feet long and 36 inches wide.
We love this yak because it’s easy to store and transfer from one place to another thanks to being inflatable. You might think that this is not really important for you if you have a car, but it will come in handy during the training period. You won't need to take your vehicle and go near shore to familiarize your dog with the yak. You can do this right inside the house!
You needn’t be worried that your dog’s claws will tear the kayak’s body because it features a rigid and robust vinyl construction.
Intex Explorer K2 offers optimum comfort to the paddler thanks to its adjustable inflatable seat with backrest. What we love more about it is that it allows your loyal friend to be comfortable, too, as it features a large storage area and two seats. This means that your dog has his own seat and can play around as much as he wants in the large cockpit.
This yak is very dog-friendly to the extent that the addition of a dog boosts its stability and trackability as it tends to move from side to side in windy weather if the weight in it is not close to its 400-pound maximum weight capacity.
However, this is not a massive drawback since inflatable kayaks should only be used in nice weather. Plus, they are better suited to less choppy waters like lakes and smooth rivers.
It’s pretty stable thanks to its three air chambers. This way, if it ever leaks, you can rest assured that it will get you to shore safely. Plus, it features a removable skeg for directional stability.
What’s more, it comes in a bright yellow color, which increases your visibility in case of an emergency.
- Easy to store
- Comes with paddles
- Needs a lot of weight inside to be stable
Intex Explorer K2 is one of the most affordable dog-friendly kayaks as it offers enough space for your dog to walk and play around without falling in the water. Plus, you’ll love its lightness and ease of storage.
2. Sun Dolphin Bali - Most Affordable Hardshell
If you’re looking for a sit-on-top hardshell kayak that doesn't break the bank, Sun Dolphin Bali is your best choice. Like Intex Explorer K2, this one is 10 feet long and 30 inches wide, offering enough safe space for your dog to play around.
What’s more, even though it offers one seat, it has ample legroom where your pet can stay. On top of this, your dog sitting in the front space won't reduce the enclosed and watertight storage space at the back.
Actually, the yak comes with a floatable portable accessory carrier (P.A.C), which you can remove and drag behind you on the water. This, of course, frees up some extra space for your dog.
You’ll be comfortable enough in the seat thanks to the protective thigh pads and adjustable foot braces. There is even a paddle holder, allowing you to store your paddles to pay full attention to your dog when needed.
Your pet will definitely love how easily he can climb in and out of the kayak thanks to its open cockpit. Plus, his paws won't damage the yak’s sturdy body as it is made of high-density polyethylene.
Besides, if you love feeling fancy on the water, you’ll appreciate that it comes in a variety of colors such as red, blue, green, orange and light blue.
Sadly, you can only get Sun Dolphin Bali if you have a small dog because it accommodates up to 250 pounds only, so it’s not suitable for large people or big dogs.
Also, the kayak's trackability is not the best out there, so it's challenging to maneuver. This means that if you are a beginner or your dog is not an experienced kayak partner, stay away from this model.
- Lots of space for your dog
- Comfortable seat
- Difficult to control
- Not beginner-friendly
Sun Dolphin Bali is one of the best affordable kayaks on the market for those with small dogs. It offers a lot of space and is a safe space for your dog to have fun. However, it’s a bit hard to maneuver, so it's not the best for beginners and inexperienced dogs.
3. Sea Eagle 370 Pro - Highest Weight Capacity
If you’re searching for a three-person inflatable kayak with the highest weight capacity, Sea Eagle 370 Pro will be your best friend from now on.
This sturdy kayak holds up to 650 pounds, so it is one of the best yaks for large dogs. What’s more, it is 10 feet long and 33 inches wide, offering a vast space for your dog to move around and play.
Its 32-pound weight and included carry bag are a huge plus as they facilitate transportation so you can hold it with one hand and hold your dog with the other one. Plus, being an inflatable kayak, you won't have a hard time trying to store it.
You can say goodbye to back pain thanks to its two movable deluxe kayak seats with improved back support. Besides, you won't have to pay for buying paddles or a foot bump as they are included in the package.
Since Sea Eagle 370 Pro is a three-person yak, it’s perfect for families of two where you can enjoy a fun time with your partner and your beloved dog.
Besides, you will enjoy the stability it provides, given that it features an I-beam construction floor so your weight will be borne by the entire floor instead of just the side chambers.
What's more, it has two skegs on its bottom to improve trackability and speed. Also, made of the tear-resistant K-80 Polykrylar, your dog's paws won't ever damage it or allow for any kind of leakage.
- Excellent trackability
- Perfect for large dogs
- Best value of money
- Not suitable in windy weather
Sea Eagle 370 Pro offers the best value for money as it holds up three people with a weight capacity of 650 pounds. Plus, it is stable, durable, lightweight and easy to store.
4. Ocean Kayak Malibu - Most Comfortable
You and your furry friend will enjoy the best time on the water because Ocean Kayak Malibu offers the best seats and most suitable dimensions.
It has three seating positions, so you can use it as a solo or a tandem kayak where you can bring along your dog. Moreover, it is the longest yak on our list at 12 feet and 34 inches wide. This means that your dog will be safe inside, and there is no chance of slipping.
The option of solo paddling allows you to bring two well-behaved dogs onboard. However, make sure that the weight capacity does not exceed 425 Pounds; otherwise, it may flip over.
You’ll enjoy the seat’s four-way adjustability, which guarantees your comfort. Plus, there is excellent slip prevention over the molded seats, so if some water gets in, you won't slip.
Center paddlers will appreciate the patented overlapping footwells because it allows them to settle in and brace their feet comfortably. What’s more, the sit-on-top hull design makes it easy for you and your loyal friend to get in and out of the yak.
Besides, Ocean Kayak Malibu offers ample deck space that you can use as an additional storage area. This comes in handy if you decide to catch some fish along your trip.
We absolutely love that the yak’s trackability isn't affected by the dog's movement, so your dog can play around as much as he wants without any problems.
Sadly, it is a bit heavy coming at 57 pounds, but it comes with a pair of molded-in handles and a skid plate facilitating its safe transportation.
- Excellent trackability
- Convenient length and width
- Very expensive
If money is not an issue, Ocean Kayak Malibu is a comfortable kayak for dogs. It is especially convenient for people who want to take their dog and child on board thanks to its removable three seats.
5. Perception Pescador Pro 12 - Best For Fishing
Perception Pescador Pro 12 is designed for fishing. It is one of the best kayaks for dogs because fishing kayaks are known for their stability.
You can install fish finders using the integrated accessory rails on each gunwale. Plus, it comes with rod holders where you can place the rods and free your hands in case you need to pay full attention to your dog.
The ample storage space could be used for placing your tackle and gear, or as a lovely and safe space for your dog to play. What's more, the yak is 12 feet long and 32 inches wide, providing a safe zone for your dog.
Made for one paddler, the 375-pound maximum weight capacity is nice. Yet, this means that it’s more suitable for small dogs.
It comes with a removable seat with two positions, so you can adjust it to the position that is more comfortable for you.
The skid plate allows you to drag your kayak in and out of the water with your dog inside without worrying about causing any punctures.
Plus, your dog’s paws won't harm the kayak’s body thanks to its high-density polyethylene and one-piece roto-molded construction that provides exceptional UV, impact, and abrasion resistance.
- Excellent for fishing
- Features rod holders
- Not suitable for big dogs
Want to go fishing with your dog? There is no better yak than the lovely Perception Pescador Pro 12. Its stability, dimensions, durability, and fishing accessories won't disappoint you.
What Makes A Kayak Good For Dogs
There are certain things that a kayak should offer in order to be dog-friendly. Some of these factors include being wide and long enough so that the dog can safely play around as well as being durable so as not to get punctured from the dog's claws. Here are some factors that should be on your checklist.
It goes without saying that the bigger the dog, the larger the kayak should be. Even if your dog is very well-behaved, it’ll still move around. Thus, the kayak should be comfortable enough to allow him to do that without falling into the water.
Aside from its length, the width of the kayak is crucial, too. You must make sure that the front and back feet of your dog fit comfortably on the kayak.
Each kayak has a specific weight limit that, if exceeded, it will be unstable and might topple over. Before buying a kayak, consider your weight, your dog's weight, and the weight of the equipment you’ll have onboard.
Single or Tandem
Single kayaks have one chair and don't provide enough space for anyone else other than your gear. Dogs usually love to sit in their own chair, and that's why we believe that tandem kayaks are more dog-friendly as they provide a lot of space where your dog can comfortably and safely move around.
You can only go for a single kayak if your dog is really small, and if you know that it likes to sit beside you.
Even if you'll get on board without a dog, buying a durable kayak is a must. But, with a dog, it becomes even more critical.
No matter how decent your dog is, it will most likely scratch the kayak’s body with its claws- intentionally or unintentionally. Some dog breeds even chew on certain things.
How to Make Sure Your Loyal Friend is Safe on the Kayak
Before taking your dog on board, there are certain things that you must consider to ensure its safety.
It goes without saying that before taking your dog on a kayak, it should be trained on the basic commands such as “get in, sit, stay, jump, etc.” because you can never predict what will happen while you're in the middle of the water.
Besides that, the dog should not just be “okay” with being on the kayak but he must be in love with it. How can you do that? Let’s see.
First of all, you should never throw it into the kayak and expect him to act normal. Instead, throughout several days before actually getting into the water, allow your dog to get acquainted with the kayak. Let him smell it, get in and out of it. Also, you should get inside it and invite your dog. You can even let him sleep in it if he wants.
The safest way to ensure the safety of dogs is getting them into a life vest even if they are great swimmers. This would prevent them from drowning if the kayak flipped.
However, it's essential to know that the Coast Guard has not approved any life vests for dogs, so you’ll still have the full responsibility of protecting your dog because they don't keep the dog's head above water.
Yet, they still help keep the dog afloat and save his energy if he needs to swim for a long time on his own. And If you don't have one, a personal floating device (PFD) of any kind is better than nothing.
Did you know that dogs can get sunburned? Always remember to apply some sunscreen on their bodies, especially in areas where there is not a lot of fur to protect them, such as their nose and inside their ears.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it Safe to Tie My Dog to the Kayak?
This is the most dangerous thing you can do to your dog. If the kayak flips over, your dog needs to be able to swim. If he is tied to it, he may get trapped below it, or the leash may get caught around his limbs.
Which is More Dog-Friendly, an Inflatable or a Hardshell Kayak?
We can't tell which of them is the “best,” but we’ll let you know the pros and cons of each, so you can decide, depending on your preferences.
Hardshell kayaks are more stable, always ready to get on the water, and are easily maneuvered. However, they are heavy and require more maintenance.
Inflatable kayaks are more affordable, lighter, easier to store, and require less maintenance. But they are harder to control and need to be inflated before each use and deflated after each trip.
What to Bring When Kayaking with Your Dog?
There are some things you should have when your dog is your kayak buddy such as a life jacket, some dog treats, fresh drinking water, a bowl, a towel or something comfy for your dog to sit on and some water-friendly dog toys.
Upon reaching the end of the article, we hope that you have decided which model is the best kayak for dogs. Because we know that choosing a kayak for your good boy is a significant decision, we have decided to help you a bit more by highlighting some of the models above.
If you’re looking for the most affordable inflatable kayak, Intex Explorer K2 is the best option. You can rest assured that your friend is safe inside as it is wide and long enough to fit their movements. Plus, it’s stable and durable.
If the weight limit of Intex Explorer K2 is a bit low for you, go for Sea Eagle 370 Pro as it is an inflatable kayak offering the highest maximum weight capacity of 650 pounds. It’s perfect for families, given that it is a three-person yak. Also, it won't cause any back pain thanks to its comfy seats.
Sun Dolphin Bali is your best bet if you’re looking for an affordable hardshell kayak where you can take your puppy. It is also comfortable for both of you and offers ample legroom where your puppy can play. Plus, it’s durable and comes in various colors.