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Best Kayak Dog Accessories

Mark Armstrong
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Kayaking with your dog can be fun if you have a water-loving pooch. It can be even more fun with the right gear.

There are many accessories, like a kayak platform for dogs and a kayak dog deck that can make your trip more successful. Don’t forget the water bowl.

11 Best Dog Accessories For Kayaking & Canoeing

1: Kayak Dog Platform

Most kayaks are generally not designed to be dog-friendly when it comes to entering and exiting. This can sometimes make them difficult for some dogs to get in and out of, especially from the water.

A dog platform can be a useful accessory for dogs who like to jump off for a swim but find it tricky to climb back on deck. They can also be excellent tools for helping dogs back on the kayak if they accidentally fall off.

With a dog platform, your dog has somewhere to gain traction for their paws and take their weight. This means they don’t need to keep swimming or treading water while they’re attempting to climb back on the kayak, so they can save energy.

While there are not many products that are designed to help dogs back on kayak decks, there are some that can work well.

This Solstice Inflatable Pup Plank can be just the tool to help your dog climb back on deck themselves. It’s lightweight and easy to store because it’s air-filled. This also helps to add buoyancy.

It has a non-slip deck designed for paws and claws. It also features drop-stitch technology for a rigid feel. The weighted mesh is another great feature, helping to keep the platform under the water for easy entry.

> How to modify a kayak for your dog

2: Kayak Seats For Dogs

Some dogs will happily sit anywhere. And some will happily sit on anything that isn’t their specific seat or bed. But when there’s not much room in your kayak for them to find the best spot, providing them with a dedicated kayak seat can be a good idea.

You’ll probably find there are very few dedicated dog kayak seats, but human ones can work just as well. This Skwoosh seat cushion can be ideal. It has a non-slip bottom so you don’t need to use adhesive to make it stick to the deck.

However, most kayak seat pads might be too small for your dog to lay down on, so you could also add a little bed pad such as this one from Ruffwear. This can extend their seat surface and help them realize it’s their bed.

3: Kayak Dog Decks

Dog decks, like this Seattle Sports one, can be an ideal solution to providing traction for paws on a slippery kayak deck. Most of them, including this one, feature an adhesive backing so you can attach it to a specific area of your deck.

Dog decks tend to be made out of EVA foam for added comfort for your dog when they sit or lay down. You can usually cut the foam pad to suit the size and shape of your deck.

Generally, dog decks are for hardshell kayaks, not inflatables. They help to give your dog a secure base for their paws, letting them feel more comfortable as you’re paddling along.

Without traction pads, dogs’ paws may slide on the plastic, which can make them feel uneasy. This can mean they start scrambling for traction with their claws out, which could be unsafe for them if they fall overboard. And it could also scratch your kayak.

This dog deck pad from Pelican Sport can be a useful accessory for both sit-on-top kayaks and sit-inside kayaks. The four-part design of the traction pads means it can be easier to install in the cockpit of a sit-inside, letting you stick each piece in the best position for the curves of the bottom of your cockpit.

4: Dog Life Jacket

You wouldn’t think of taking your kids on a kayak without a life jacket (also, it’s the law) and it shouldn’t be any different for your dog. Most dogs generally know how to swim. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe in the water without a life jacket.

Some dogs will tire quickly or before they’re ready, causing them to struggle physically to keep themselves afloat. A life jacket can provide them with additional buoyancy and keep them afloat if they’re no longer able to safely swim.

Life jackets for dogs can also help to improve their visibility on the water, so you can easily keep an eye on them.

Additionally, dog life jackets tend to have handles on the top so that you can easily lift your dog back onto the deck if they fall in or have been swimming.

One of the best dog life jackets is the Ruffwear Float Coat. It comes in a range of sizes to suit all sizes of dogs. And it’s brightly colored for enhanced visibility.

For young dogs and dogs with short noses, such as a French bulldog, this Outward Hound life jacket can be a good idea. It has a front neck float to help keep their heads above water.

> Best dog life vests

5: Floating Leash

Most dog owners will probably tell you that sometimes, especially when there is a distraction of some kind, a dog can completely ignore you calling his or her name. And when there’s water involved, it can be even more difficult to get your dog to return.

Dogs can also get into difficulty, just like people. So a leash can be an essential piece of equipment for kayaking or canoeing with your dog, allowing you to bring them back to the kayak if they try to stray too far.

You’ll probably find that in most public places, your dog needs to be kept on a leash at all times by law. These laws will apply even when your dog is swimming in a public area.

This Vivifying floating dog leash can be ideal because it’s also made from high-visibility polypropylene rope. So it can be easier to see both in and out of the water.

Waterproof dog leashes can also be a great idea for kayaking. This quality leash from Wilderdog is made from rubber and designed to handle swimming, even in saltwater. There’s even a matching collar so your pup can stay stylish.

Remember, just as you wouldn’t leash yourself to your kayak, you should never leash your dog to the kayak.

6: Dog Drying Coat

Anyone who’s ever been around a wet dog will likely understand the need for a drying coat or robe. Drying coats, like this one from The Snuggly Dog, can be excellent accessories for helping to dry your dog after he or she’s been swimming, out in the rain, or even after a bath.

It can be a good idea to keep a dog robe in the car for when it’s time to go home. It will help keep water from getting on your seats as well as helping to dry your dog more quickly.

Dog drying robes tend to be made out of microfiber for its quick-drying properties but there are also some that feature towelling material for added absorbency.

Some of them feature a Velcro-style fastening, like this one, which can help to keep the coat on your dog.

Some dogs might not like the sound of Velcro fastenings. But this style of closure can usually be less likely to come undone when your dog is moving around, compared to a belt-style fastening. 

However, some dogs will try to pull the robe off regardless of what type of closure it has.

7: Dog Sunscreen

You might not always think about it, but dogs can get sunburn too. Sunburn can be more common in dogs with lighter skins and those with less hair or fur.

There are a few products designed specifically for dogs to help protect them from the sun’s harmful rays. This Epi-Pet K-9 Care sunscreen can be an ideal product to use on dogs of all ages and breeds (it’s also suitable for horses).

It’s designed to provide a layer of protection for your dog to prevent certain types of skin cancers, dermatitis, as well as painful sunburn.

Unlike human sunscreen, dog sunscreen is designed to be safe for their skin and it’s not toxic if licked.

This Bodhi Dog Sunscreen is a similar product to help prevent sunburn but it’s not an aerosol spray can. So this one may be preferable if your dog is likely to be nervous around the sound of an aerosol.

8: Dog Cooling Vest

With kayaking being predominantly a summer and warm-weather activity, it can be important to keep your dog cool on deck. Kayaks are generally pretty exposed by design. Even a sit-inside kayak will only shade the lower half of your body.

Since dogs have a higher temperature than humans, they can be more susceptible to heat stroke and other heat-related medical issues. Depending on the breed of your dog, potentially dangerous conditions can occur even when the temperature is 70 degrees (less if your dog is a puppy or a senior dog).

This is when a dog cooling vest could be helpful. These types of vests help to keep your dog cool when the temperatures are high. The way they work is that you soak them in cold water before putting them on your dog.

The vests are designed to retain the water to help create a cooling effect when worn. This feature can be even more useful if your dog will be jumping off the kayak to swim, as the vest can reactivate more frequently without requiring you to remove it each time.

This Hurtta Cooling Vest can be a good choice as it helps to keep the vital organs cool, without adding too much bulk.

9: Floating Toy

Black dog biting toy while playing in the waterPin
Courtesy: Eli Christman on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Dogs like to have something to keep them entertained and relaxed. Bringing along a toy on your kayaking trip can be a great way to help your dog enjoy his time on deck.

Chew toys can be comforting to your dog and can keep him or her busy while you’re paddling. Let’s face it, while they might be interested in some of the wildlife, most dogs are just not interested in the beautiful views.

It can be a good idea to look for toys that are waterproof and will float if they fall overboard. Floating dog toys can be great for playing fetch if your dog loves to swim.

This set of Kong toys can be ideal, as they can be fun for fetching, training, and chewing. They’re highly visible, they float, and they’re durable.

Another great option is the Chuckit Amphibious Shark Fin, which floats to look like (you guessed it) a shark’s fin.

10: Dry Bag

Dry bag in an inflatable kayakPin
Courtesy: Ivan Radic on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Not only is a dry bag an essential accessory for yourself, it can be a fantastic accessory for your dog. If your dog has their own dry bag it means you can keep their gear separate from yours.

Your dog’s towel or drying coat can be packed into the dry sack so that it’s kept dry until you need it. You can also pack all of your dog’s other necessities, such as food, water, toys, bowls, and leash.

The Sea to Summit Big River range of dry bags can give you the option of choosing the best size to suit your dog’s needs and accessories. These dry bags benefit from having fully taped seams and a roll-top closure to keep water out. They also have Hypalon lash loops so you can strap them to your kayak more easily.

11. Bowl

A dog bowl is probably something you think about whenever you head out with your dog. And when you’re kayaking with your dog, a bowl is just as necessary.

Remember to pack enough water for both yourself and your dog.

There are various products out there that are designed to make it more convenient to keep your dog hydrated when you’re out and about.

This Bivy dog bowl from Ruffwear can be an excellent option for a paddling trip. It’s super-lightweight and made from soft fabric that collapses for easy storage. It also has a non-slip bottom, it’s easy to clean, and it has a reflective trim for easily locating in the dark.

This Ruffwear Quencher can also be a great alternative, in a similar style. It’s fully waterproof, easy to pack, and holds a decent amount of water at a time – 1 liter (35 oz.) for the medium bowl. You can also use both of these bowls for dog food.

Final Words

Hopefully you found this list helpful. Maybe you’ve been inspired to take your next paddling trip with your dog.

Make sure your dog has somewhere comfortable to perch on your deck. And remember their PFD for safety and take plenty of water to keep them hydrated on your adventure.

> Guide to PFDs for paddlers

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