Choosing dog-friendly kayaks can be hard. There are so many options, knowing the best value for money and the best model to suit both you and your dog can feel a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider, like material and price point. Knowing what to look for, and what to avoid is important.
Fear not, we’ve rounded up a list of the best kayaks for dogs on the market. Our kayaking experts have reviewed the most popular brands and have tested them for durability, safety, and comfort. From kayaking with a dog seat to a more general kayak for a dog you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Over the few months, we’ve reviewed products and have included a comparison table to help you review all kayak designs with ease to find the right one for you. We’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions from our readers.
How to choose best dog-friendly kayak
Before you purchase any dog-friendly kayak, you need to understand the do’s and don’ts and various kayak types. More advanced kayakers will know the differences in hull design and outfitting but for beginners knowing the differences and how it plays a role in your choice is key in picking the best kayak for dogs. Because kayaks are not built for dogs being informed about choice is crucial. We recommend looking for tandem kayaks, sit-on-top, closed cock-pit, or a canoe style. If you’re serious about dog kayaking your dog needs to have enough space for an enjoyable experience. Other key factors to consider from the start:
- How much weight can the kayak hold? – this is important for big dogs
- How much space does the kayak have? – again, key in any selection process
- How durable is the kayak? – important depending on the kayaking you plan to do with your dog
We can’t stress space enough… Your dog needs to be comfortable and properly equipped for a day on the water. Make sure to have a mat or some bedding which can be fashioned using foam or wood to secure his or her paws. A kayak with a dog seat will make life easier for you both when you are paddling, and hopefully avoid tipping over. Other than making sure your kayak for dog is comfortable and secure, preparing dogs for a kayak experience is just as important as choosing dog-friendly kayaks. If a dog isn’t properly trained to sit still, no matter how good a kayak you have, will still be difficult to manage while out on the water.
Different Kayaks for Dogs
So, now, to determine which kayak for you and your dog question you’ve all been asking. The top-rated styles we’ve tried and tested are listed below and ready to make your life oh so easy.
Sit-on-top kayaks like Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak provides ample space for your dog to sit up front. Ideal for larger breeds the open top design means they are wider, more stable, and can be used in various water conditions. They’re also super easy to get in and out of. Or, the Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS Sit On Angler is a budget option for smaller dogs and great for beginners.
A tandem kayak comes with an extra seat for you to put your dog up front. Depending on the brand the seats will be built for different body weights, from children to adults. Make sure to take note of the seat dimensions before buying. Also check if the seat is removable, and could be replaced by foam so your dog can lie down. The Chinook XP Tandem XL is a versatile model with enough space for a large dog.
These are the standard one person kayaks on the market. They are generally for recreational use and we recommend using them for smaller dog breeds that can fit neatly between the hull and your legs. The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is a good basic model with a high-quality outfitting.
These are handy for dogs because they can be built to have higher walls, a massive help if you’ve got a hyperactive dog. Nowadays inflatable kayaks are durable, so no need to worry about a puncture. The Sea Eagle 370 ispretty much designed for your dog. With a heavy-duty hull, easy setup, and durability it’s a dogs heaven.
Size of Dog-Friendly Kayak
Size matters. Before you buy your dog-friendly kayak, measure and weigh your dog . If you’re kayaking with a large dog don’t buy a sit-in. Shop around for good sit-on or tandem kayak and always check the length and breadth measurements. Also, check the weight before buying so you’ll know both of you will be comfortable.
The Lifetime 10 Foot two-person tandem holds 500 lbs and is one of the best big dog kayaks on the market. Any larger model should provide enough support and a kayak dog carrier system, just make sure to measure before buying. Take your dog for trial runs in shallower water before venturing further afield. They will need to get used to the space and get comfortable with the kayak. Doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned pro or new to the game, any new kayak needs to be tried and tested.
Stability of Kayak Suitable for Dogs
The wonders of a day on the water are enough to get any dog excited. A sturdy kayak is needed because if they’ve spotted a bird in a tree chance are they’ll want to get that bird.The temperament of your dog will play a role in your decision. Kayaking with dogs who are younger generally means a little bit more excitement on board. An older dog will tend to be calmer and might be best suited to an inflatable model.
Whatever the temperament, always choose a durable kayak with a wide beam for a more secure experience kayaking with a dog.
If you’re opting for an inflatable, go for a thick hull and high-frequency weld. Or if you’re going for a different model, opt for one like the Perception Kayak Pescador Pro. It has an adjustable foot brace to make room for a dog in the kayak. The polyethylene is sturdy enough to keep the kayak secure. Making this one of the best on the market for dogs.
Durability of Kayak with Dog Seat
Durability plays a key role in choosing the best kayak for dogs. Any kayak with a dog seat should be made from high-density polyethylene or inflatable PVC material. This material is equipped to handle weight and dogs who might claw. If you’re choosing a tandem kayak with a seat that will be used as a dog kayak seat, check to ensure the seat is durable too. The GTS Expedition Molded Foam Kayak Seat is made of high quality thermoformed plastic/foam and fabric. It’s comfortable but rigid enough to support a dog. If that option is a little on the pricier side, a homemade foam chair will do the trick.
Dog Kayaking Gear
Whichever kayak you decide on, consider safety and of course, your dogs’ needs. Before you go anywhere make sure to pack your dog kayaking gear:
- A dog lifejacket – we’ve said it before, they should have a life jacket on at all times, just like you should
- A harness – an extra safety measure, but one that shouldn’t be ignored
- A leash – this is for when you are on shore never tie your dog to your kayak
- Doggie bags – these should be carried everywhere for obvious reasons
- Freshwater – make sure to have a supply for you and your pet
- Dog food – again an obvious one, a dog’s gotta eat
- Sunscreen – yes, dogs’ little noses can burn, make sure they are protected
Now that we’ve broken down some of the essentials and given you a run-through of some of the best kayaks on the market, now go and enjoy the experience of a fresh water adventure with your trusted furry friend. We hope this guide helps, and be sure to keep an eye on the page for more reviews and all things kayak related.
Top 10 dog-friendly kayaks
As the saying goes, a dog is a man’s best friend. We understand taking your dog with you on your travels is important. We know you want them to be safe on the water and have as much fun as you when kayaking. It is difficult to make the right choice as there are many different kayaks available to purchase. Fear not as we can help! We have used our expert knowledge to bring you a list of the top 10 kayaks suitable for dogs. Read on to find out which vessels are suitable for you and your canine friend:
Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak – best kayak for dogs
Ocean Kayak is a superb company that creates a plethora of different kayak models from recreational, to tandem, and kids. The 12-feet Malibu Two Tandem sit on top recreational model is a great all around choice – it is suitable for two people, or one person and their canine friend. It has a brilliant design and is roomy for your faithful sidekick. Additionally, it has a range of design features that provide comfort and security for your sailing adventures:
– Three seating positions
– Overlapping foot wells and molded side handles
– Harness points for your pet leash
– Can carry a maximum 425 lbs
– Fantastic seat positions and design so you and your dog are secure
– Great carrying capacity suitable for any canine breed
– Available in several different colors
– Does not come standard with a paddle
The Malibu Two Tandem may primarily be for humans, but it is more than adequate to carry your faithful companion too. The foot wells feature a nice touch, and this may give you and your canine flexibility in your seating arrangements – this is why it is one of the best kayak dog carriers.Check on Amazon
Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak to kayaking with dog
Lifetime specializes in outdoor equipment and furniture such as tables and storage. They also have a magnificent range of kayaks. The Lifetime 10 foot two person tandem kayak is perfect if you want to enjoy a relaxing fishing trip with your pooch. This model can actually seat three people, therefore, you and your pooch will have a heap of space. It also has a maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs and is made from high quality polyethylene. The following are some of the key features, and pros and cons of this unit:
– Multiple footrest positions to suit different people
– Comes with 2 double paddles and 2 back rests
– Multiple handles for easy carrying
– line to secure any cargo
– Rear storage hatch for your pet supplies
– Wide design that will maintain balance
– Made from high density polyethylene making it weather resistant
– Sit-on model therefore does not have high sides
– Has been known to have delivery issues from the supplier
The accessories, storage, and design make this great for a dog in a kayak. You can fill up the storage with treats and water to ensure your pet remains happy and calm.Check on Amazon
Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak – top rated dog-friendly kayak
Sevylor is renowned for their outdoor gear and equipment. They produce anything from kayaks and fishing boats to water pumps and outdoor storage units. The Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is an excellent unit and is considered a dog friendly kayak. As far as inflatable models go, the Coleman Colorado is a steal and is one of the most secure and comfortable products we have found for your canine chum. The following are some key features, and pros and cons of this kayak:
– Multiple air chambers for redundancy
– Paddle holders and rod holders for fishing
– Made from PVC making it durable and weather tight
– 1000D tarpaulin bottom for water resistance
– Deep sides – secure for your animal to sit in
– Combination of Nylon, PVC, and Tarpaulin make this kayak ultra-durable
– Adjustable seats for extra comfort
– Mesh storage pockets for treats and food
– Inflatable, takes time to set up and prepare
– Does not come standard with a paddle or pump
The Coleman Colorado 2 is an amazing product and one of the best inflatable items in our list. The deep sides give extra protection when kayaking with a dog.Check on Amazon
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro Sit On Top for Fishing one of the best kayak for a dog in 2019
Perception creates a plethora of water vessels to suit different purposes such as fishing, white water rafting and more – they also provide accompanying accessories. The Pescador Pro Sit on Top kayak looks stylish and is also practical for you and your companion on the water. It benefits from a comfortable dog kayak seat and an ergonomic design that travels smoothly through the water.
– Bow cover and rear storage tank to carry your pet’s essentials
– Molded cup holders to store water for you and your furry friend
– Deep seating position for improved security and stability
– Front, side, and rear handles for easy transportation
– Superb stylish design with three colors available
– Twin seat position that keeps your canine buddy secure on trips
– Made from durable polyethylene
– Plenty of storage options
– Does not come standard with a paddle
– Carrying capacity is lighter compared to other models
We love the design and style of the Pescador Pro – it looks amazing. Aside from that, it is also highly functional and has plenty of storage options for your equipment and supplies.Check on Amazon
Perception Kayak Tribe Sit On Top for Recreation – high-quality kayak for you and your dog
Perception features three products in our top 10 – they excel when it comes to ergonomic and practical designs. The Tribe recreational kayak is another brilliant kayak with dog seat. It comfortably seats a person and their companion. Furthermore, the traditional ergonomic design provides stability but performance too – you glide through the water with ease. If you wish, this product can accommodate two people and a dog.
– Two adjustable seats that offer back support and comfort
– Replaceable skid plate to provide extra durability
– Dual storage tanks perfect for treats, toys, and food supplies
– Front and rear cargo for additional storage
– Available in four cool color combinations
– Ample room for you and your pooch to sit comfortably
– Molded foot well positions
– Bow and stern molded carrying handles
– Detachable seats can wear out in time
– Does not come standard with a paddle
Like the Pescador, the Tribe Sit on top for recreation is an awesome package. The design is well thought out. You could easily use this model for short or long trips on the water with your faithful companion.Check on Amazon
Dagger Kayaks Axis 10.5 Kayak – good kayak for fishing with dog
Dagger provides a range of high quality vessels such as the Stratos and Katana – their designs are thoroughly ergonomic and well thought out. The Axis 10.5 is a single occupant model, but it has plenty of space and separate wells for your dog to sit comfortably in. It is a sit-in product that has deep foot wells you can stretch your legs out in. Moreover, it has ample storage and accessories so you can equip yourself for a long adventure.
– Front, rear and side handles for easy carrying
– Sleek design that travels through water easily
– Adjustable seat and foot lock position
– Several storage containers for equipment, treats, and toys
– Cargo nets for increase security and coverage
– Made from durable weather resistant
– Technically only a 1 person occupancy
– Does not come standard with a paddle
Dagger has created an exceptional product that is perfect for the “one man and his dog” scenario. You and your companion could fit snugly in the seating area. Moreover, the storage areas are more than adequate.Check on Amazon
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak – best inflatable kayak for dogs
Intex is a supplier of outdoor products such as pools, airbeds, and equipment. They also specialize in kayaks and watercraft. The K2 2-person inflatable model is exceptional and easily set up for the water for both you and your pooch. The following are some key features and benefits of this product:
– Two adjustable detachable seats
– Bright color design for improved visibility
– Comes with aluminum oars
– Complete with an air pump for setup
– Spacious, can easily fit two people and a dog
– Removable skeg for stability
– Good standard package with pump and oars
– Only suitable for smaller bodies of water
– Does require setup time
The Explorer K2 is a great inflatable model. It has everything you could need – deep sides and adjustable seats give you options for your dog kayak seat.Check on Amazon
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package
Sea Eagle offers a myriad of inflatable and hard shell vessels – they also specialize in accessories such as repair kits and pumps. The 330 Inflatable Deluxe is one of their top models. It is suitable for two people but could easily fit two people and your pet. It is made from highly durable material and is easy to setup.
– Made from durable K-80 polykrylar
– Rated for up to whitewater usage
– Simple but ergonomic design
– Deluxe package comes with everything you need.
– Spacious for two people and a pet
– Easy to set up with a pump
– Comes with a pump, paddles, and carry bag
– No dedicated storage space for pet essentials
– Inflatable so not as durable as a hard shell
The Sea Eagle 330 is a fantastic inflatable model that has so much space for you and your pooch. It is one of the best models you can comfortably put your dog in a kayak.Check on Amazon
Perception Kayak Hi-Life for Recreation – good dog fishing kayak
This is the final Perception entry on our list. The Hi Life is a superb recreational product and has an open flat top your pooch can safely sit on. This model is suitable for calmer waters and has excellent storage space too.
– Can be used as a kayak or stand up board
– Bow and stern carrying handles
– Low profile design perfect for calm water
– Comes with an adjustable seat
– Several storage containers
– Ergonomic flat design
– Not suitable for rough water
We liked the low design of this kayak – if you plan to take your dog fishing kayaking, this is the perfect item.Check on Amazon
Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Pro Package – one of the best inflatable dog-friendly kayak in 2019
This is the second Sea Eagle entry and has a similar offering to the 330. It is a two person model and comes with all the essentials to easily inflate the kayak and take your pet onto the water:
– Latched down spray skirt
– Two adjustable seats with straps
– Self-bailing feature to prevent sinking
– Grab lines for support and carrying
– Durable material that can withstand white water
– Comes with paddles, pump, and carry bag
– NMMA Certified
– No dedicated storage space for pet essentials
– Inflatable so not as durable as a hard shell
This Sea Eagle unit offers a little bit extra than the 330 and is more suited to larger bodies of water – if you want to take your dog out into open water or large lakes, the SE370 could be a great choice.Check on Amazon
Frequently asked questions about kayaks for dogs
If you want to travel on the open water with your furry friend you want reassurance. You want to know your dog will be safe – can they safely sail in a kayak with you? There are so many questions to consider, and it is not an easy subject to think about. This is why you need to understand about kayaking with your pet in a safe and secure manner. In the below section, we answer several common questions relating to kayaking with dogs for your peace of mind:
Can dogs go in inflatable kayaks?
Yes, they can. Both hard and inflatable kayaks are more than suitable for your canines. Whether you choose a hard or inflatable kayak depends on your own personal preferences. An inflatable model is easier to transport and carry if you have less space. On the other hand, it does take longer to set up as you have to pump it up – this could prove difficult if your dog misbehaves. If you feel you are comfortable using an inflatable model, by all means, you can do so.
What kayaking gear is necessary for your dog?
When sailing with people, the equipment list is easy – we know what we need to be safe. But what about your pet? Take the following gear with you – life vest, food & water, leash, harness, medical essentials, and of course toys. A life vest is essential for safety – if your dog should happen to fall in the water, a vest will keep them afloat. A leash and harness are required if your pet moves a lot and can add an extra measure of security. Toys are not necessary, but we advise taking some to keep your furry friend entertained if they get restless.
Hard-shell vs. Inflatable Kayak – What’s the best
This again comes down to personal preference, and there is no definitive answer. Hardshell units offer greater stability and maneuverability due to their sturdy design and give greater security for your pet. In addition, hard shell kayaks are ready to use from the get go, all you have to do is transport the unit and place it in the water – there is no pumping involved. Finally, hard shell models have better movement through the water. They are designed in a way they travel fast and cut through even rough water. Inflatable units simply don’t have the same degree of control and speed.
On the flip side, inflatable models can be transported easier and are generally cheaper. Moreover, they require less maintenance. You can carry an inflatable model in a bag with a pump which could give you more space for your canine’s toys and essentials. If you don’t have a garage or a large amount of storage, an inflatable model could be the perfect choice for you. Hard shell kayaks, on the other hand, have to be stored, and you need plenty of space such as a garage or shed. You should consider your own and your pets needs and weigh up whichwould be the best choice.
What is the best kayak for dogs?
Best Product: Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
We have looked at all the products in our top 10 list and found the Ocean Kayak 12-feet Malibu Two Tandem is undoubtedly the best choice. The Malibu Two Tandem is a fantastic model – it provides everything you and your furry companion need. We like the second seating position as it is low enough in the boat for your canine to feel secure. Furthermore, the weight capacity means it can easily handle any size dog. Finally, the material is durable, and the Ocean model will last for years. As far as kayaks for pets goes, this unit is certainly the best.
The other 9 products on our list, are all still fantastic options such as the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2, the Perception Kayak Pescador, and the Lifetime 10 Foot two-person tandem kayak. If you want a boat for fishing with your pet, the Dagger Axis 10.5 and Perception Hi Life for recreation are both superb choices. Alternatively, if you want an inflatable model, the Sea Eagle SE370 or the Sea Eagle 330 are both great and easy to use. We are confident we have listed the best kayak for dogs but why not check out what other products we have to offer here?