Skip to content

Kayaking with Dogs

kayaking, wet dog

I was recently asked how I manage to kayak with such high energy dogs. Well the short answer is they fall in, a lot, and we both end up smelling like wet dog. But that dampness shouldn’t dampen your spirits, so here are my tips to help you get your pups out on the water.


My first tip is the most important, put a life jacket on them. My dogs like to perch themselves on the very tip of the bow or stern as far out as they can stretch and as soon as the boat rocks they fall in. Its surprising how far under they go from a 6 inch fall and without the buoyancy of a lifejacket it would be a lot farther. Canine life jackets also come with handles and I honestly don’t know how you would manage to haul them back in without one.

dogs, kayaking

Next would be to practice bringing them into the kayak. My dogs weigh from 25 to 40 lbs and once they are soaking wet it feels like a lot more. Lifting your soaking wet dog into the boat really throws off your balance so make sure you are comfortable moving around on your kayak before attempting to lift them out of the water. I will often offset their weight by putting a leg over the opposite side and focus on keeping my balance centered as I begin to lift.


It didn’t take me long to learn to that I needed to keep the fishing gear to a minimum. My dogs move around the deck a lot and their tail is constantly trying to sweep my gear into the lake. I added floats to my rods and made sure my tackle box and net are secured or float. I have also trained them to leave the business end of my rod alone and have been fortunate that I haven’t had any incidents yet.

My last piece of advice I discovered by chance. I took my dogs on a 5km hike in the morning before getting in the kayak and they were so calm on the water. By taking care of their exercise needs first we were able to have a very enjoyable ride and overall a spectacular morning on the water.

kayaking, dogs

My dogs are a big part of my life so I try and include them in all my adventures. Not all of them are dog friendly but for the ones that are it’s important to make sure they stay safe and have fun. I hope you find these useful and if you have any tips of your own I would love to hear them in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *