Taking the family pet kayaking is becoming a more and more popular family sport. What is your dog if not a part of your family? Before you load up your inflatable kayak and head to the water there are a few things that you need to do first.
Your first thought is probably whether ‘Fido’s’ toenails will damage your inflatable. It should be a concern but unless they are super sharp, most of the higher quality kayaks made today will stand up to the challenge. Putting down an old piece of carpet can help ease your mind as well.
One really nice thing about inflatable kayaks is that, unlike hard shell enclosed style kayaks (where your pet would not be able to join you) or hard shell sit-on-top kayaks which have no sides, the side chambers of an inflatable kayak make like walls, similar to how a canoe is designed. It’s a perfect setup for both of you.
Most inflatable kayaks will be able to hold the weight of you and your dog, but your should check to be sure. Two person inflatable kayaks shouldn’t be an issue, however those that are made for solo use may. The kayak in the photo above is a Sea Eagle 330. If the kayak is too small then you can run into complications such as capsizing the kayak.
Next on the list is to make sure that you and your pet have a Portable Flotation Device, also known as a Life Jacket. Buying the right life jacket for your pet is extremely important, it can be the difference between a fun filled day on the water or not. PFD’s for dogs can be purchased at a variety of pet stores and on Amazon. Also be sure to have a harness for your pet. This will allow you to get your pet back into the water easier if he or she jumps out.
In some cases, depending on the type of kayak you own, you can use a “doggie deck”. Click here to watch a video with directions for building your own “doggie deck”.
Take your time and chose a location where the water is calm and the weather favorable. Choppy waters are not the best idea for taking your dog with you at any time. Once you know where you are going, it is time to take the pet out onto the water. Take it slowly with your dog the first time and practice commands before going out. You want to know that if you tell him or her to sit they will without delay. Spend time allowing your pet to get used to riding in the kayak as well, remember this is their first trip out with you and they might be a wee bit apprehensive or slightly over excited.
When you feel comfortable with your pet in the kayak, then it’s time to plan your day trip. Take some of their favorite treats with you so you can reward them throughout the day for their good behavior. Always remember to not over tire yourself or your dog, kayaking with your pet is meant to be a fun, relaxing day for you both.
This article was written by Dee Owens