Best Kayak For Dogs
What’s the point in experiencing life’s greatest pleasures if you can’t share them with your friends? And what better friend to share kayaking adventures with than your dog! Woof Woof!
Spending time with your furry friend needn’t be limited to walks around the park.
At A Glance: Top Kayaks For Dogs
(to see the yaks on Amazon, click these links. Scroll below to learn more...)
You can take your dog with you in your kayak where you can both enjoy a relaxing time on the water. And that’s why we’ve made it our mission to help you find the best kayak for dogs.
How To Choose A Dog-Friendly Kayak
Types of kayaks. There are plenty of options of kayaks suitable for dogs. Decisions, decisions, eh?
So here are a few key factors you should consider before purchasing dog friendly kayaks.
It goes without saying that the size of your furry best friend should impact your decision when picking your kayak. Before considering your kayak’s dimensions, you will need to know your dog’s dimensions.
Even the most docile and well behaved dogs will move around so you need to make sure that your kayak is adequately sized to make it a comfortable and safe experience.
The width of the kayak is important to consider. Some of the best kayaks for dogs will have a flat deck area where your dog can sit and stand comfortably, no matter what direction they face.
You may also be able to get a portable accessory carrier for extra storage that can carry gear behind the boat to make enough space on your deck for your dog.
The maximum capacity of your kayak must also be considered. If you have a large, heavy dog you need to make sure that your kayak can hold the weight of the dog, yourself and your equipment.
Otherwise, you will struggle to paddle and control the kayak and could even sink. Check out the "fail" video below to see what we mean...
Sit-On-Top or Sit-In Kayaks
Many find that sit on top kayaks are more suitable for dogs as they have an open cockpit, allowing your dog to roam about freely. Your dog can jump into the water with ease and can easily get back on to the kayak with some assistance from you. They also tend to have drain plugs for easier bailing.
Sit-on-tops are also generally considered more stable so this is an added advantage. Recreational kayaks can often be the best kayaks for dogs.
However, small or timid dogs might prefer sit inside kayaks, where they can get cosy in the cavity by your feet or even sit on your lap whilst you paddle. This of course depends entirely on your dog’s personality, breed and size. However, sea kayaks, and other kayaks that are built for speed, may not have extra space for a canine companion in the cockpit.
Single Or Tandem Kayaks
Single kayaks (whether sit-in or sit-on-top) have one seat and generally only enough room for you, your kayaking gear and some food supplies. However, some may have a portable accessory carrier that can be towed.
If you have a large furry companion, you may find there's not much room and a tandem sit on top would therefore be a better option with extra room for both you and your pet. Many tandems can be paddled by just one person.
Fishing yaks are generally considered more stable as they are usually wider kayaks to let you sit and stand. They are therefore very much dog friendly kayaks. These are often sit on top kayaks so they tend to have a more open deck with more space for your dog to sit in a comfortable position.
They probably won't perform well in rapids, like whitewater kayaks, but if you’re kayaking with your dog you should be sticking to primarily calm and flat waters anyway.
Inflatables vs Hardshells
Don’t be afraid to explore the option of an inflatable kayak for you and your dog. Advancements in technology have made inflatable kayaks just as durable (if not more so) than a hard shell kayak. Inflatable kayaks also tend to be wider than hard shell kayaks for maximum stability for an inquisitive dog and are often some of the best kayaks for dogs.
The outer layer is made of rubber and PVC (similar to white water rafts or life boats) so as long as your dog’s nails are trimmed, you shouldn’t have any problems or punctures from your dog's claws. But many inflatables come with a repair kit just in case.
Inflatable kayaks also have a higher capacity than hard shell kayaks and are generally considered more stable. So if you have a Bernese Mountain Dog or a Great Dane, inflatable kayaks may well be the best option for you. Some inflatable kayaks also feature drop-stitch technology, which provides a more rigid surface and can be a more comfortable and durable kayak for dogs.
Most will also have an open and close drain valve or a drain plug, which can make it easier to self-bail if your best dog jumps in and out with a splash.
Safety Is Important
It goes without saying that safety is key, for your sake as well as your precious canine friend. Just like, you, most dog owners and dog lovers want to keep their pets safe at all times. There are several things to remember when taking your dog out on the water but the most important safety tips are:
For your dog's safety, you need to prepare your dog for kayaking beforehand. Practice getting in and out of a kayak and staying still on dry land (use your leash only on dry land) so that you are in control on the water. Generally speaking, if your dog is disobedient and doesn't know basic commands, they’re not ready for kayaking.
Dogs are intelligent animals so it should be possible to train them how to kayak. However, this may be easier said than done with some dogs, as most dog owners will probably tell you.
A PFD is important for water safety, whether you’re a human or a dog, but you may not be able to explain this to a dog, so you might find it easier to have them try it on at home. They should wear a PFD even if they're a great swimmer and the best dog out there.
This can help them get used to wearing the life vest before they’re introduced to the right kayak. A lot of the best dog PFDs will have four way adjustability to allow you to fit the vest around your dog's chest, shoulders and torso.
One thing that might help encourage your dog to jump into the kayak, especially if he or she is feeling nervous, is to reward him or her with dog treats for good behavior once they’ve successfully got in and sat down.
Remember to try this tactic before you set sail. Try it in your backyard or somewhere familiar to your dog, so he or she can get used to the yak in comfortable surroundings.
You could always sit down in the yak with your dog to show them you’re comfortable yourself, as many dogs can sense your energy, so if you’re nervous, it can be likely that they will be too.
You might find it helpful to come up with a keyword command to tell your dog that it’s time to get in to the boat.
Once you feel like your dog has got the hang of voluntarily going in and out of the kayak, you might be ready for some on-the-water learning. But remember to choose water that is calm, just like if you or your kids were hitting the water for the first time in a yak.
Take it slow when your dog is on board, especially during the launch, as your dog might feel uneasy with wobbly nature of the kayak, even if it is super stable. It might also be a good idea to stay close to the water's edge and in shallow water and gradually make your trips longer as they get used to it.
Let your dog move around on the kayak if they want to, as this might make them feel more at ease and they're probably not going to sit perfectly for long anyway.
Once you’ve got them trained, you can enjoy a wonderful and stress-free time with them on the water - living the absolute dream and spending quality time with your best friend.
Best Kayaks For Dogs
1: Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak
The Sea Eagle SE370K is a two person inflatable kayak that can hold a third passenger (two adults and a child or furry friend). However, for maximum comfort and space, it is best used for two adults (or one adult and a big dog). It has a comfortable seating area for both humans and canines.
Made from durable material, this Sea Eagle is a tear resistant inflatable boat, holding up to a whopping 650 pounds. This can be the perfect kayak for anyone with a very large dog and can even handle rougher waters.
Designed for ultra stability, the floor of the Sea Eagle is made from 5 I-beam tubes. This makes paddling easier as you sit higher and the weight is born by the floor instead of the side chambers. This stability once again is great for kayaking with dogs.
The 5-tube design of this stable kayak also creates a more rigid floor which improves the speed and tracking of the kayak. Furthermore, the removable skeg (like you see on surf boards) at the bottom of the kayak allow you to paddle in a straight line, enabling you to go faster and further with less paddling effort.
This is a lightweight kayak that can be easy to travel with. It's also a relatively affordable kayak, offering great value and comes with two paddles, two inflatable seats, and an included foot pump. This two person inflatable also features an open and close drain valve for easy bailing.
- Can take large dogs
- Removable skeg
- Excellent stability
- Easy to transport
- Not easy to maneuver
2: Perception Pescador Pro 12
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
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
This is an inflatable 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)
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
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
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
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
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
How Do I Make My Kayak Dog-Friendly?
It can be useful to clear a space for your dog on board so that they can have room to move around and get comfortable. Bring along food and water, and dog friendly bowls. Try these collapsible from Amazon
You might even want to bring along a small dog bed, depending on the size of your dog and the space you have, as this could help your dog to feel safe and comfortable on longer trips.
How Can I Make My Kayak Slip Proof For A Dog?
You could add grip pads to the parts of your yak where you dog likes to stand or sit, as this can help give paws extra traction on the plastic deck, which could help your dog move around more easily and safely.
Can I Get A Platform For My Dog, Or Even Make One?
You could make a platform for your dog to sit on out of wood to be positioned either at the bow or stern of your yak, depending on where you have room or where your dog prefers to sit.
Video: You Can Make Your Own Dog Kayak Platform
Kayaking with dogs is becoming more and more popular and there are plenty of models on the market that will allow you to do so safely and comfortably. Some key things to remember and consider are:
Once you’ve considered these basics, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time on the water with man’s best friend.
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.