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Outdoor adventures are always more fun when your dog can tag along. And kayak adventures are no different, as long as you have the right kayak.
The most dog-friendly kayaks all have one thing in common: stability. And here are some of the best options for taking your dog kayaking.
To save you time, I think the best kayak for dogs is the Sea Eagle SE370 thanks to its durability, stability, and room for your dog to spread out.
At A Glance: Top Kayaks For Dogs
- Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak
- Perception Pescador Pro 12
- Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher
- Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem Inflatable
- Perception Kayak High Life 11
- Ocean Kayak Malibu Two
- Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler
- Old Town Vapor 12 Angler
- Wilderness Systems Pungo
9 Best Kayaks For Dogs
1: Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak
- Length: 12 foot 6 inches
- Width: 34 inches
- Weight: 33 pounds
- Max Capacity: 650 pounds
The Sea Eagle SE370 is a durable inflatable kayak that is designed for stability in a range of waters, from flatwater to Class III rapids. However, I don’t recommend you take your dog whitewater kayaking on your first expedition.
If you and your dog are new to kayaking, this is the best kayak in terms of stability and ease of use. I’ve found it can also be good for kayak camping.
It comes with a carry bag with shoulder strap, so you can keep your hands free for holding your dog’s leash.
This inflatable kayak has a wide hull, with a stable I-beam floor. The sidewalls are a decent height above the floor to help your dog feel more comfortable (with less chance of falling out).
The thick PVC hull material is incredibly durable and there are also three separate air chambers for added safety if you do happen to get a puncture.
With such a high weight capacity, this is ideal for all types and sizes of dogs, including large dogs. But it’s not the easiest to maneuver.
- Great for large dogs
- Excellent stability
- Good for beginners
- Not the easiest to maneuver
2: Perception Pescador Pro 12
- Length: 12ft
- Width: 32.5 inches
- Depth: 14.5 inches
- Weight: 64 pounds
- Max Capacity: 375 pounds
This one person kayak is specifically designed for fishing. As mentioned above, angler kayaks are particularly good for dogs as they are made for ultimate stability. This kayak is made from durable high density polyethylene.
Made for one paddler, the Perception Pescador Pro 12 comes with a removable seat for your ultimate comfort on the water. This seat comes with two positions (upright and recline) and can be adjusted on the go with a molded-in accessory track recess.
Storage is also available in abundance including a tank-well with bungee, cup holder, recessed tackle box storage and a center console where you can rig fish finder electronics.
Depending on the size of your four legged companion, you may need to forego some extra equipment in order to have them accompany you in this kayak but overall it will provide you with a smooth and comfortable day out on the water.
- Great for kayak fishing with your canine buddy
- Easy to move around on the water
- Plenty of onboard storage compartments
- Not suited for larger dogs
3: Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher
- Length: 10ft
- Width: 36 inches
- Depth: 19 inches
- Weight: 65 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
This is a robust recreational kayak made to hold up to three people with the extra seat in the middle. It’s made from polyethylene plastic so it’s highly durable but a bit heavy.
The stable hull is designed so that you can stand up to fish or sit side-saddle without tipping. This high level of stability along with the high capacity is great news if you’re kayaking with a bigger dog.
Designed for both comfort and high function, this kayak comes with multiple footrest positions which cater for many users. This can accommodate the three molded in seat wells.
If you’re keen on fishing, this kayak comes complete with several built-in features that may be of interest. Made with comfort and stability in mind, this is a great option for kayaking or fishing with you dog.
- Won’t break the bank
- Good tracking
- Fishing capabilities
- There are bigger boats on the list
4: Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem Inflatable
- Length: 10ft 9 inches
- Width: 39 inches
- Weight: 37 pounds
- Max Capacity: 470 pounds
This is an inflatable angler’s kayak designed for two people (or one person and a dog). Made of 1000 denier tarpaulin at the bottom and 840 denier nylon on the cover, this kayak is robust, durable and puncture resistant.
Made for comfort as well as stability, this kayak comes with two adjustable seats. This is great not only for your comfort but also for the comfort of your dog as you can move the seat closer to you if required.
This two person kayak comes with plenty of storage options and paddle holders for when you fancy a rest or just want to sit and float for a while.
As for getting it to and from the water, there’s a double-threaded Boston valve and a pressure gauge for easy and accurate inflation and deflation and comfortable carry handles for a smooth transition into the water. It’s also compatible with a Sevylor trolling motor.
- Inflatable kayak for portability options
- Made from tough materials
- Some may not enjoy the setup and deflation process
5: Perception Kayak High Life 11 (Board/Kayak)
- Length: 11 ft
- Width: 34 inches
- Depth: 12 inches
- Weight: 55 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 280 pounds
This kayak has a versatile design with plenty of space and can be used as both a kayak and paddle board. The deck is made with no-slip padding and the kayak is designed to be extremely stable, with good directional stability. This is therefore a great option with ample room for dogs of various sizes.
Complete with a fold-down seat and a cooler storage area, a rear tank-well for additional storage and a built-in cup holder, this kayak is ideal for relaxing days on the water with your dog and a couple of cool beers.
There’s even a swim deck at the back of the kayak which is ideal for dogs (or kids). This is not only a perfect place for furry friends to sit and relax in their own seat, but also makes entering and re-entering the water a lot easier. We all know some dogs love to jump into the water, so this could be the ideal kayak with enough room for them to find the most comfortable position to rest.
- Easy to get on and off for dogs and people
- An easy way to get on the water with your pup
- Excellent for moving around
- If you want an actual kayak – this isn’t for you
6: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak
- Length: 12 ft
- Width: 34 inches
- Weight: 58 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 425 pounds
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a tandem yak that can hold two paddlers plus a small child or a dog. It has a tri-hull construction, which adds to its overall stability, especially in small ocean waves or moderate river current.
The sit-on-top design can make it easy for both you and your dog to jump on and off of. Plus it can be paddled solo with different seating positions, giving you more room to possibly take two well behaved dogs. It also features straps at the bow and stern where you can tie down some of your gear if you’re off on an adventure.
For added comfort, the Malibu Two comes with two padded adjustable seats and has the option of adding dry storage if you wanted to modify it. There are two side carrying handles and bow and stern toggle handles to make it easier to lift and take to the water.
- A great entry-level kayak
- Plenty of room for your dog(s)
- Easy to paddle on your own
- Two seats
- Not the highest capacity
7: Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Kayak
- Length: 13 ft 4 inches
- Width: 28 inches
- Weight: 56 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
The Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler is a single sit-on-top yak that may offer more speed on the water, thanks to its relatively long and narrow hull design, which could also help to improve tracking.
The Prowler is designed as an angler yak, meaning it has built-in fishing features, such as rod holders and internal hull storage that is accessed through the hatch at the bow.
Being over 13 feet long, there should be plenty of room for your dog to join you, and the hull is built for stability, which may make it feel a little more reassuring if your dog decides to move around while you’re out on the lake. However, it might be a great choice for smaller dogs but it may not be roomy enough for bigger dogs.
- Take your dog AND fish – Yippee!
- Stability good for excitable dogs
- Storage space aplenty
- Not great for larger, heavier dogs
8: Old Town Vapor 12 Angler Kayak
- Length: 12 ft
- Width: 28.5 inches
- Weight: 56 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 375 pounds
The Old Town Vapor 12 Angler is a 12 foot yak with a large 47 inch by 19.5 inch cockpit, which should give you plenty of room to bring your dog with you. There’s also a spacious rear tank well for you to store your gear, freeing up space in the cockpit.
The vessel is built for stability and comfort, featuring an adjustable Comfort Flex padded seat and cockpit tray with a built-in cup holder. Additionally, there are thigh pads and a Support Track foot brace system for added paddling comfort.
The enclosed cockpit could make it an ideal choice for paddling in colder conditions, helping to keep you and your dog safe and dry. The Vapor 12 can also be a perfect kayak for fishing trips, with built-in rod holders and bungee rigging for securing additional gear.
- Covered cockpit to shelter smaller dogs from the elements
- Good storage spaces
- Decent features available
- Not ideal for big dogs
9: Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Kayak
- Length: 12 ft
- Width: 29 inches
- Weight: 49 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
This Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 is a single sit-inside vessel that is designed to offer storage, comfort and performance. It has a spacious cockpit, measuring 57 inches long, making it ideal for bringing along your four legged friend.
The Pungo 120 also benefits from a Kayak Konsole, which gives you added storage for keeping smaller items within arm’s reach, but this can easily be removed if you need more space for your dog to move around. There is also additional storage with the stern hatch and both front and rear bungee rigging, which could make it a good yak for an overnight trip.
It’s also stable, lightweight and easy to maneuver, as well as having an adjustable mesh coated seat that is designed to offer comfort on longer trips.
- Spacious cockpit for your pooch
- Lightweight and stable
- Cockpit console is removable
- Comfortable seating
- Suited for fishing, although rod holders need to be bought separately
Is It Safe To Kayak With Your Dog?
Generally speaking, it is safe to kayak with your dog. However, your paddling location and your dog’s behavior will usually determine how safe it is.
If your dog is prone to chasing wildlife or likes to get up close and personal with nature, then they might not be ready for a kayaking adventure. You should train your dog to handle distractions before you plan a paddling trip.
Once your dog is able to avoid distractions on land, you can then start training your dog to kayak. Check out our guide on how to go kayaking with your dog if you want some tips.
Always remember to have your dog wear a life jacket. There are plenty of dog life jackets available for dogs of all sizes. I would recommend a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) for all dogs, even if they are good swimmers.
Check out the best dog life jackets for your pup.
Another situation that may not be safe for your dog to join you on a kayaking trip is if you plan to paddle in locations where there are predators.
Sharks and alligators, for example, can often be attracted to your kayak if you have a dog on board, which can put both you and your dog in danger, especially if you’re kayak fishing with your dog. I don’t recommend kayak fishing with your dog at all in waters where there are predators.
What Are The Key Features To Look For In A Dog-Friendly Kayak?
I know a kayak with a high level of primary stability, such as pontoon hulls and those with flat bottoms, can feel more stable on flatwater, which can be more comfortable and reassuring for your dog.
Kayaks that have rounded or V-shaped hulls may feel unstable to your dog which may make them feel uneasy, which will make you feel uneasy when your kayak starts rocking. This could result in your dog jumping off to escape the perceived danger, or worse: toppling your kayak as they frantically move around.
When your kayak has to deal with your dog’s paws (or your dog’s claws), durability is a key feature.
If you plan to opt for a hard-shell kayak, a polyethylene one can be more suitable than a composite one. This is because plastic kayaks tend to be able to handle bumps and scrapes better than fiberglass kayaks and other composites.
In know that good inflatable kayaks also have a high level of durability, making them ideal for kayaking with dogs.
Most inflatable kayaks are made from thick material which is designed to be resistant to tears and punctures – perfect for four unsteady paws.
Comfort And Space
It’s important that your dog feels comfortable while you’re kayaking, otherwise they could capsize the kayak through fear or restlessness.
I’ve found that kayaks with flat decks can be more dog-friendly than ones that have lots of hatches, foot braces, or other accessories that can get in the way.
Wider kayaks will often have more room for a dog to lay down and spread out compared to narrower ones.
Some dogs might be happy to sit in the rear cargo deck of some kayaks. Other dogs might prefer to sit in front of you. If you have a curious dog or a nervous one, I’d recommend that they sit in front of you in a sit-on-top kayak so you can keep an eye on them.
Alternatively, you might prefer to use one of these best canoes for dogs.
Another important consideration when choosing dog-friendly kayaks is the load capacity. This will probably be higher up your list of priorities if you have a big dog or more than one dog.
Remember to take into account your own weight and the weight of all your gear when calculating the total load. When you add your dog’s weight in, you should still have room to spare as far as weight capacity is concerned.
It’s best to avoid loading the kayak close to its capacity, as this can affect the stability and overall performance of the kayak. An overloaded kayak can be difficult to paddle. And when you have a dog on board, there’s a high risk of capsizing.
Inflatable kayaks will generally have a higher capacity than hard shell kayaks.
Video: Teach Your Dog To Love Your Canoe Or Kayak
What Types Of Kayaks Are Best For Dogs?
I’ve found that recreational kayaks can be some of the best kayaks for taking your dog with you. These are generally built for flatwater conditions, so they are designed to have a good degree of primary stability.
In my opinion, sit-on-top kayaks are better for dogs because they don’t have an enclosed space and they can be easy for your dog to jump in and out of.
However, some small dogs do seem to enjoy riding in sit-in kayaks. If you’re thinking about paddling with your dog in a sit-inside kayak, opting for one with a large cockpit can give you both more space.
Avoid narrow kayaks, such as sea kayaks and whitewater kayaks, as these may not have enough room. And if your kayak requires a spray skirt, you won’t be able to attach a spray skirt if your dog is in the cockpit.
Some tandem kayaks (if it’s a sit-on-top kayak) can offer more space for you and your dog to spread out. This can be a good idea if you have a medium or large dog that takes up as much room as a person.
Most tandem kayaks can be paddled solo, so your dog can sit back and enjoy the ride from their own seat.
A tandem kayak will also usually have a much higher capacity than a solo kayak.
Because a fishing kayak is usually designed with stability as a key feature, a fishing kayak can make an excellent kayak for dogs. And they usually feature fishing rod holders as an added bonus for tackle storage space.
Many fishing kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks that have platforms on the deck that allow kayak anglers to stand up to fish. The platforms are often flat and have padding that can provide traction for dogs’ paws.
Can You Put A Dog In An Inflatable Kayak?
Inflatable kayaks can be some of the best kayaks for dogs because they combine all the key features for dog-friendly kayaks.
Contrary to what you might think, inflatable kayaks are extremely durable and tough. Advances in technology mean it’s not the same material that you might have had on an inflatable boat or beach toy as a kid.
An inflatable kayak is usually a sit-on-top kayak and will often have a flat and spacious deck with plenty of room for your dog to spread out and get comfortable. The sidewalls on most inflatables offer additional protection and comfort, and help to stop your dog jumping off to swim.
Kayaks with drop-stitch technology in the floor can often provide extra space and increased rigidity for better performance and improved stability (like a paddle board).
Can I Modify My Kayak To Make It More Dog-Friendly?
There are several ways you can modify your kayak for a dog. Many dog owners add accessories, such as float ramps, deck padding, and a dog bed.
Deck padding can be one of the easier modifications you can do. And as well as providing traction for your dog, it’ll also be safer for you to stand on the non-slip surface.
Check out some of the best dog kayaking accessories you can buy.
Kayaks For Dogs: Important Questions
How Much Weight Can A Dog-Friendly Kayak Hold?
The minimum weight capacity of our recommended dog-friendly kayaks is 280-pounds.
The capacity should be higher than the combined weight of you, your dog, and your gear.
How Can I Train My Dog For Kayaking?
Basic obedience training should come first.
Then you can introduce kayak training by gradually getting your dog used to the kayak on land before you take to the water. Use treats as rewards and positive reinforcement.
Can A Dog Wear A Life Jacket In A Kayak?
Yes, life jackets are recommended for kayaking dogs.
What Are The Best Brands For Dog-Friendly Kayaks?
Brands that manufacture recreational, inflatable, and fishing kayaks are among the best.
Can Large Dogs Comfortably Fit In A Kayak?
Yes, as long as the kayak has enough space for the dog to lay down comfortably.
How To Manage Dog Anxiety While Kayaking?
Bring your dog’s home comforts, including their bed/blanket. Don’t forget their favorite toy and treats for good behavior.
I know that chew toys and lick mats can help to ease dogs’ anxiety and keep them calm.
What Are The Essential Supplies For Kayaking With Dogs?
Food and water bowl, bedding, toy, leash, towel or drying coat, and a life jacket.
Doggy Paddle: The Last Stroke In Choosing The Right Canine Kayak
My winner of the best kayak for dogs is the Sea Eagle SE370. This inflatable kayak has just about everything you could want in a dog-friendly kayak, including excellent stability, durability, and room for your dog to get comfortably.
I find its high capacity also makes it great for a camping trip.
My runner-up pick is the Perception Pescador Pro 12. This fishing kayak has space for a small to medium-sized dog, with a decent level of primary stability to handle curious paws.
Not all of these kayaks will be suitable for you and your dog. Remember to get your dog used to the kayak in advance of your trip. And don’t forget the treats!
We hope out guide to suitable dog kayaks was useful. If you’ve any questions on the subject, we’ll do our best to answer them. Just don’t ask us why your dog is hungry ALL the time, hehe.