A man’s dog is a furry being that seems to follow wherever he goes.

We like having these creatures with us during the day, and it seems only natural to bring them with us when we head out for some activity in nature.

So, why not bring him on a kayak?

My dog Patton has quickly taken to coming with me on the kayak, but we didn’t have the easiest start.

Maybe you’ve also noticed that bringing your dog with you to go kayaking isn’t as easy as you thought it would be.

If so, don’t worry: There is a solution!

Today, we’re going to talk about the type of kayak you’ll need, as well as go through 5 of the best kayaks for dogs currently available on the market.

Taking A Dog On A Kayak Is Not Always An Easy Venture

Patton is my German Shepherd, and he is by no means small. So, I suppose I already had a feeling that getting him in my kayak would not be the easiest endeavor.

However, I had no idea just how difficult this was going to be.

The kayak that I owned had a low weight limit, and putting Patton on the kayak just made us feel very unstable. Every time he moved, the kayak shifted and shuddered like it was going to sink. I think Patton could sense my anxiety, which made him even more fidgety.

In the end he jumped, and while I was trying to get him back on board, we tipped over.

If this sounds like you, don’t lose hope.

That day, I learned a lot about what it takes to get a dog on a kayak, and the features required for your kayak to handle a dog. I also realized that there were things about my dog that I needed to know before trying to put him on a kayak.

Let me explain:

Know This About Your Dog Before You Start:

  • Learn His Measurements

Space is limited on a kayak. So, to know what size kayak you need to get, it’s important to know exactly how big or small your dog is.

Grab that tape measure from the garage and see just how long your dog is, from snout to tail bone. When looking for kayaks, compare this measurement with the length of the kayak, taking into account the space that you will take up and how much room there will be for your dog.

  • Find Out How Much He Weighs

All kayaks have a weight limit. As I learned the hard way, this is not simply a suggestion. I’m not as light as I used to be, and Patton isn’t a small dog. In fact, I later realized that he weighs 78 lbs.!

Together, we were over the kayak’s weight limit by about 20 lbs., which was a contributing factor in our failure.

Once I weighed Patton, I realized that I needed to find a kayak with a weight limit that would support both of us.

I highly recommend doing the same before you try to bring your dog with you on the water.

  • Know His Anxiety Levels

Each dog has his own unique personality. Some dogs are uncomfortable being separated from their owners, others are uncomfortable with water, and some just don’t like to sit still.

If your dog gets anxious when separated from you, he may feel uneasy in a tandem kayak, as the seat would serve as a barrier between you.

For dogs that are uncomfortable around water or who fidget too much, a kayak that is built to keep them inside would be best. Small dogs might even be able to fit inside a sit-in kayak, relaxing by your feet.

The Best Type Of Kayaks For Dogs

  • Why I Recommend Sit-On-Top Style

Sit-on-top kayaks have an open deck, while sit-in kayaks cover the paddler’s legs.

I highly recommend sit-on-top style kayaks, especially if you have a medium to large-sized dog. Sit-on-top kayaks give dogs much more freedom of movement, and allow them to sit on the open deck of the kayak instead of on your lap.

  • Tandem Or Single?

Tandem kayaks allow a specific place where your dog can sit and enjoy the ride. Also, since tandem kayaks are meant for two people, their weight limits are generally higher than single-person kayaks.

However, this doesn’t mean that single kayaks are out of the question when kayaking with your dog.

In fact, there are many good-sized single kayaks that have high enough weight limits to accommodate you and your dog, as well as allowing space for him to relax.

  • Inflatable vs. Hard Plastic

Inflatable kayaks have become more popular in recent years, and there are some very high-quality inflatable kayaks on the market now.

If you’re worried about your dog’s claws ripping the material, don’t be.

While a cheap inflatable kayak may see damage from a dog’s claws, there are plenty of kayaks on the market today that are built to be just as durable as hard plastic kayaks.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, however both are acceptable for kayaking with your dog.

  • Stability Is A Must

Dogs rarely sit in one place for too long. If your dog sees a bird or another animal, does he get excited? I know Patton does. Quite a few times he’s jumped off the kayak to go after some unsuspecting creature.

Every time he does, though, I need to help him get back on after. All this movement is normal when you bring a dog kayaking, so the kayak you purchase must be stable enough to handle it.

  • The Wider, The Better

For both you and your dog to be comfortable while kayaking, it’s important that the kayak is wide enough.

A wider kayak makes it easier for your dog to turn without falling off. And if your dog is sitting on the open deck in front of you, a wide kayak will ensure that there’s still plenty of space for your feet.

Wider kayaks are also known for being much more stable.

  • Adjustable Seating And Foot Rests For Maximum Comfort

It’s rare to find a kayak that perfectly fits you and your dog. Especially if you’re looking at single-person kayaks, you’ll want to make sure that the seat and foot rests are adjustable.

That way, you can make sure your dog has plenty of room at the front or back of the kayak.

Finally, Me and Patton Found A Kayak That Fit Us Both

It took time, but after doing a good amount of research, I found a kayak that both Patton and I could fit in comfortably.

Now, we go for kayak trips together in Algonquin Park all through the summer, and we’re both able to enjoy it.

Are you ready for the same to be true of you and your pooch?

Well, here are the 5 of the best kayaks for dogs currently on the market. I’m sure that one of these will be the perfect match for you and your dog!

The 5 Best Kayaks For Dogs

  • Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

This durable kayak was built to create a stable ride. Its tunnel hull design is perfect for staying stable on any kind of water, and it has room for up to three people (or, two people and a dog).

It also is built with multiple foot rests, allowing you to sit in the way that makes you most comfortable. For fishermen, this kayak also includes 3 rod holders, as well as holders for the paddles when not in use.

Length: 10 feet

Width: 36 inches

Weight Capacity: 500 lbs.

Best For: Any size dog

Pros:

  • Plenty of space for your dog
  • Durable design
  • Very stable
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Great features for fishermen

Cons:

  • Limited storage space
  • Poor tracking
  • Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

Made for avid fishermen, this 13-foot single kayak has everything that you and your dog need to be happy. It includes rod holders, dry storage, a foot-controlled rudder system, and a mount for fish finders.

With a comfortable, dual-position seat, plenty of storage space, and even extra space for your pooch, the Sea Ghost is a great idea for dog owners who want their pups on the water with them.

Length: 13 feet

Width: 33 inches

Weight Capacity: 550 lbs.

Best For: Small to medium-sized dogs

Pros:

  • Plenty of gadgets for fishermen
  • Lots of storage space
  • Good width
  • Very stable
  • Comfortable seat

Cons:

  • Large dogs may not fit comfortably
  • Advanced Elements AE1007-R

This convertible, inflatable kayak is as durable as it is sleek. With three layers of material preventing punctures, you won’t have to worry about your dog’s claws. It also allows for three different seat positions, meaning that you can take out one of the seats, giving your dog even more room to move around.

Although this kayak has an open deck, its sidewalls will help keep your dog inside the kayak, and will give more peace of mind to anxiety-prone dogs (and their owners!).

Since it is inflatable, this kayak is also very lightweight, coming in at just 52 lbs.

Length: 15 feet

Width: 32 inches

Weight Capacity: 550 lbs.

Best For: Any size dog

Pros:

  • Durable and puncture-proof
  • Adjustable seat positioning
  • Comfortable, padded seats
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Optional Back Bone and closed deck attachments make this kayak fully customizable

Cons:

  • Limited storage space
  • Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl

A very worthy alternative to a hard-top kayak, the Razorlite weighs even less than our last inflatable option, coming in at just 42 lbs. Its tall-back, contour-padded seats are perfect for staying comfortable on longer rides, and it also includes adjustable foot rests.

This package also includes two carbon-fiber paddles, giving you the ultimate lightweight paddles for the best paddling experience.

This kayak is actually large enough to accommodate two people and a large dog without being a squeeze. Its sleek design gives you speed, while still being wide enough to provide enough stability. Like our last inflatable option, the sides of this kayak will help keep your pooch inside the kayak while you’re out on the water.

Length: 15.6 feet

Width: 30 inches

Weight Capacity: 750 lbs.

Best For: Any size dog

Pros:

  • Very high weight limit
  • Spacious enough for more than one person plus your dog
  • Speedy, yet stable
  • Comfortable seating
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Comes with carbon fiber paddles

Cons:

  • Somewhat difficult to attach seats and foot rests
  • Limited storage
  • BKC UH-TK219

At 70 lbs., this heavy duty monsters is the heaviest on our list, but is built to last for a long time. With plenty of space and multiple storage compartments, this kayak has a lot of great features for paddlers with dogs. It’s easy to maneuver alone, and allows you to enjoy paddling or fishing with your dog.

There is plenty of room for your pooch to get on board and relax. This kayak even includes 5 rod holders for the avid fisherman, as well as paddle holders.

Length: 12 feet

Width: 34 inches

Weight Capacity: 440 lbs.

Best For: Any size dog

Pros:

  • Great for fishermen
  • Durable and stable
  • Plenty of storage

Cons:

  • Seats are uncomfortable on long journeys
  • Lower weight limit

So, What’s The Best Kayak For Dogs?

Out of the options we’ve seen today, I have to say that my personal favorite is the Advanced Elements AE1007-R. It’s easy to maneuver, and its adjustable seating makes it easy to fit you and your dog inside. Also, its thick skin will prevent punctures, and it’s easy to bring with you anywhere.

That being said, if you’re looking to go fishing from the kayak with your dog, I’d recommend the Vibe Sea Ghost 130. This kayak has all the gadgets and mounts that a fisherman needs, and still provides room for your dog to come with you.

Are you ready to take your faithful furry friend on the water with you? The best kayak for you and your dog is just waiting to set out on the water.


Phil Mansbridge
Phil Mansbridge

Phil is a retired Sport Fisherman from Florida. His passion for the last decade has been kayaking and canoeing. He spends his summers in Canada and most of the winter in California. He loves reviewing equipment for his avid readers and hopes that everyone’s time out on the water as enjoyable as possible.