Kayaks offer a great boating and fishing experience with their relative stability and high performance. The experience gets even better when you have the chance to kayak with your lovely dog. For me and my dog Strout, kayaking is an afternoon routine, we enjoy amazing times together thanks to our beautiful dog-friendly vessel. However, in order to enjoy your time with your dog on the waters, you have to know how to find the best kayaks for dogs from a myriad of choices.
Here, we will share our experience with different types of kayaks and list down the ones most suitable for your dog. We will also provide you with tons of usage and safety tips in this buying guide so you can make the most of your vessel.
How Did We Pick These Products?
We had to go through several stages of picking, comparisons, testing and researching before we got our final list at hand. Initially we ran a 30-our online research tracking down 25 highest rated models with maximun number or positive user reviews.
Next we took the listed models for field-tests. A group of community based volunteers helped our team members in carrying out the tests. We brought our pets as testing aids. We closely monitored each of the products as they performed in different types of water bodies. Based on the overall ergonomics, build quality, available space, advanced features and the level of comfort the pets felt while being on board we narrowed down our list to 10.
After that, we consulted with top industrial experts for their valuable insights on our top 10 list. They guided us in ranking the listed models according to their special features and performance. That's how we got our final list which will, hopefully, help you make the right choice. Have a look at our About Us page for more information.
Our Top 10 Best Kayaks for Dogs
Go through this list to see which one might ensure an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both of you.
What Type of Kayak Is Suitable for Dogs?
Can dogs travel in kayaks? Of course, they can! However, it's important to note that not all types are suitable for dogs. While some are good to go, others need to be avoided when you're planning to take a dog onboard. Before we discuss which ones to avoid, let us first briefly consider the best kayaks for dogs. A quick tip: make sure you have all the pet accessories available when on the water with your pet.
1. Sit-On-Top or Sit-In Kayaks
The sit-on-top types are the most common dog kayaks. Designed in a more compact way, sit on top models can be used on various water bodies from the more calm ones to the busy ones. They are great for dogs for their relatively large space and excellent weight capacity.
These types are known to be most befitting for dogs because of their relative ease of use. Also, more seats can be added, removed or adjusted to sit on top kayaks. They are not just ideal for dogs, they have established themselves to be the most used type all over the world.
2. Tandem Kayaks
Tandem kayaks are also suitable for dogs. However, unlike the sit on top models, they are great for more calm water bodies. Apart from that, they are more of a beginner option with features that make them easy to drive. They can be used for recreational purposes and for taking your small pet out at any time you want. Chinook model by Aquaglide is one example of an ideal tandem model. What's more, some advanced models are convertible, meaning you can turn them from 2 persons to 1 person boat. Some models support up to 3 persons.
The advantage of this type of boat is that it can also be used for fishing. So while kayaking with your dog in this vessel, you can also have some hands-on fishing rods, and get your fishing game on. This type comes with a strong outer shell that assures maximum protection while in it.
3. Fishing Kayaks
As the name implies, fishing kayaks are mainly for the purpose of fishing. However, they are still suitable for dogs especially when there is a separate career added for your pet. Offering lots of dog friendly features, these models make fishing expeditions comfortable for you and your dogs. These models also offer enough space for carrying your fishing gear and equipment. Your pet will get ample space to move around. In many cases, users tow two separate vessels together for extra space during fishing. There are plenty of kayak fishing spots in the Southern California and Colorado regions where you can take your pet on a tour with you!
4. Inflatable Kayaks
Inflatable kayaks are not just ideal for dogs; they offer a number of benefits you might not find in other types. Their common features include good storage space and excellent stability. Apart from that, they are super affordable. The ease of use makes them ideal for beginners who want to have a worthwhile experience for which these vessels have specially designed platforms. Like fishing float tubes, its downside remains a shortage of space and weight capacity, but beyond that, it is perfect for an amazing kayaking experience with your dog.
What Type of Kayak Should Be Avoided for Dogs?
As much as there are some kayak types suitable for dogs, there are others that should be avoided. One of the primary reasons to avoid these models is because they are not designed to carry dogs or any other pets. Two major kayak types fall into this category and they are the Ocean and the White Water kayaks.
1. Ocean Kayaks
The design of ocean kayaks is the major downside that makes it one that should be avoided for dogs. Coming with a long structure with pointed ends, this model is usually narrow-- these features make them great for inshore fishing. The narrowness makes it not a comfortable option for a dog regardless of its size.
2. White Water Kayaks
Lacking a canine, White Water models are not ideal for dogs as well. This is because users having to steer the water making use of their fast movements that make it inconvenient to hold on to for a pet. Just like the Ocean category, White Water models are tight and have no extra space to accommodate you and your dog. They have covered spray deck for additional protection from rough water. They are also delicate to use when kayaking with a dog because of how sensitive they can be to changes. White Water models also do not fit all water bodies.
Kayak for Dogs: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Dogs are adorable! You’d never regret taking your pet out on a river or an inshore expedition. But you must ensure that they will be safe and sound when on the waters. That’s why unlike choosing any standard kayak, specific kayaks designed for dogs require different points to be checked. Check the following points below and you can have an amazing kayaking experience with your canine.
1. Enough Space
Kayaks for dogs differ in terms of their dimensions. While some have large dimensions, others have average dimensions and some others are smaller in dimensions. Its dimensions determine the space it offers. For medium and smaller boats, they often add an extra career for dogs. But you should go for the models that are big enough to hold you and your little friend securely. Knowing the purpose for which you need the vessel will determine how much space you should expect from your boat. The regular outside length of these vessels are 8 ft, 10 ft, 11 ft and 12 ft. However, you can get longer than that.
Another factor to remember is the stability of the boat. It is risky for you and your dog to go kayaking in a vessel that is not so stable. Models with dog seats should offer more stability than a kayak that is meant for just me alone.
Safety is of the utmost importance when paddling with your puppies. You also need to train your dog a bit so it does not act crazy while onboard. The high-end boats usually feature adequate and flexible safety measures. You can modify your boat to attach dog outriggers to your vessel for gaining more stability. These are a couple of poles attached to the either side of kayak body. Also, make sure you get bright color models-- yellow, white, orange (as seen in Scrambler 11 by Ocean Kayak), green (as seen in Spectrum solo models), sky blue and the likes-- so you can be detected from far.
4. Durability & Build Material
When you read through the specifications of every item available, look for the building materials. Make sure the outer parts and inner surfaces of the boat are made of high-quality materials, thereby making it durable and rigid.
5. Weight Capacity
The weight capacity of the vessel is also a factor to be considered when buying one. How much can the boat carry? Remember that in considering this, you also have to consider the weight of your dog and what you want of a kayak. Larger dogs require a kayak with a higher weight capacity.
6. Cost Effectiveness
A top-quality boat does not always have to be expensive. It is possible for you to get cheaper options that are as effective as the expensive ones. Make sure you go for ones with a good price-to-quality ratio.
Tips on Kayaking with Your Dog Safely!
Kayaking with dogs can be such a fun-filled experience as much as it can be a risky one. This is why you have to know how to keep yourself and your dog safe while making use of any of the kayaks for dogs of your choice. Here are some helpful tips you can adhere to when making use of kayaks for dogs.
- Don’t forget to have a life vest on. This is not only applicable to you, but also to your dog. Make sure to have your dog put on a life vest as much you have one on too. With a life vest on, you and your dog will not need to panic so much about falling overboard while kayaking.
- Have a proper understanding of the terrain. This is vital to a worthwhile experience. Make sure to seek prior knowledge of the terrain. In doing this, you have to understand the strength of the wind, the current flow and the people around. This helps you to know what help to sought when kayaking goes wrong for you and your dog.
- Don’t rush things, there is no fun in rushing things. Take it one step after the other and enjoy every moment. When you don’t rush, you are able to understand the movement of the kayak. You are also able to understand and take note of how your dog feels about it. start.
Necessary Kayaking Gear for Your Dog
A dog just like a human in a kayak needs to be equipped with all the protective wears, ranging from a life vest to a long line. It doesn't matter as to whether the dog is a swimmer or not. While some dog breeds can swim, others cannot. So, designing a plan is better that protects all kinds of dogs. With the life vest, even if the dog was to be a swimmer or not, drowning has been avoided. The long line, on the other hand, helps to keep the dog from panicking while kayaking. You should also choose a kayak that has dog seats while kayaking with dogs.
It is also important that the dog's leash is kept in place and in check and that an extra one is stored somewhere that can be reached. This is helpful should the leash kept gets lost or can be found in the case of an emergency. A harness would also not be a bad idea should you need to pull your dog out of the water. This is more useful when an unexpected fall happens to your dog.
Make sure that regardless of the situation, you do not tie the dog to the kayak while onboard. Instead, fasten a detachable long line to them. This long line attached to them will give them all of the freedom to swim while onboard. This will also give the dog and edge of protecting themselves should an unexpected event happens.
Last but not least is the place of toys and rewards. Remember that your dog is as good as your friend when kayaking. Also, remember that your dogs make the whole experience more fun that it should be if you were all out alone. So, it would be interesting if after you both are done rewarding, you are all ready to gift your dog a toy or a reward.
We hope our review has given you enough guidelines on how to identify the best kayaks for dogs from so many choices. Starting out with the types of kayaks suitable for dogs and those to avoid, you now know which one to go for. Also, with helpful tips provided on how to keep your dog safe when paddling with your dog, you know how to maintain safety.
Remember that knowing the purpose for which you are getting this watercraft has to be established first. This will help you know whether you should go for the Coleman Colorado fishing kayak, or you should settle for the two-person tandem fishing kayak for dogs. The choice is all yours.