TOP 10 Best Kayaks for Dogs 2020 Reviewed for Dog Friendly Kayaking
Kayaking doesn’t just have to be enjoyed by children and adults, right?!
Surely our four-legged-friends are allowed to get in on the action, adventure and excitement, too?!
Well, the good news is – they most certainly can – and they will love you even more for it.
For them, there’s nothing like feeling the wind in their scruffy hair, those exotic and intoxicating smells wafting across the water, or that welcome, cooling breeze on a hot day.
Of course, there are still plenty of things to consider before taking your pooch paddling, but before we get to that, let’s try to find the best kayak for dogs in this review.
A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow – plus some extra tips and tricks to help you and your best friend make the most out of a day on the water.
- TOP 10 Best Kayaks for Dogs 2020
- Sea Eagle 370 Inflatable Sport Kayak
- Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
- Perception Rambler Sit-On-Top Recreation Kayak
- SunDolphin Bali 12 SS Sit-On-Top Kayak
- Lifetime Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak
- Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak
- Ocean Kayak Caper Classic Kayak
- Perception Hi Life Kayak & Standup Paddleboard
- Old Town Dirigo 106 Recreational Kayak
- Perception Cove Sit Inside Tandem Kayak
- What to Look for When Buying a Kayak for Dogs
TOP 10 Best Kayaks for Dogs 2020
Sea Eagle 370 Inflatable Sport Kayak
Review: Sea Eagle manufacture some of the world’s finest inflatable boats and kayaks and this huge three-person model has to be one of their best.
It can take a massive 650lbs maximum capacity while itself weighing just 26lbs. It’s perfect for taking a larger dog with two removable and adjustable seats and loads of storage space.
It sets up inside ten minutes using the foot-pump included and it also comes with two paddles and a carry bag. It has dual skegs for improved tracking in the water. For the price and the quality, it’s surely the best inflatable kayak for dogs on the market.
But there are more options, so it’s essential you check out these amazing inflatable kayaks if that’s the style you’re looking for.
- Great price.
- Huge weight capacity.
- Whitewater class 3 certified.
- Not particularly suitable on choppier waters.
Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
Review: The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is predominantly a fishing kayak, but as you’ll no doubt learn or already be aware of – fishing kayaks are the most stable on the market.
As a result, they’re perfect for taking your pooch out in, too.
The Coleman is constructed from a tough, durable 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover that is anti-puncture and tear, and like most inflatables, it has at least two air chambers to keep you afloat even if you do lose one.
It has loads of features for keen anglers (including the option of adding a trolling motor) but its large size, adjustable seats, and 470lbs weight capacity make it ideal for bringing Count Droolsbury with you on your fishing trips.
- Tons of features.
- Great price for what you get.
- Mesh storage pockets for gear (and dog food).
- All that hardware might get in the way.
Perception Rambler Sit-On-Top Recreation Kayak
Review: Perception make outstanding quality kayaks and this is a terrific entry-level sit-on-top recreational model that is ideal for small to medium puppies.
It can support up to 250lbs of weight, with plenty of room at the front for your best friend to sit. It’s super-stable, perfect for a leisurely cruise on quieter waters, and includes stern storage with removable shock-cord webbing.
It has multiple scupper holes to allow water to easily drain away and is lightweight and portable with a number of practical carrying options. The large open cockpit and added stability make it super easy for you and your four-legged friend to enter and exit without inducing any panic.
You’re going to have loads of fun in this one – but for some further comparison – don’t miss the best recreational kayaks around.
- Solid construction.
- Practical design.
- Removable and adjustable padded seat.
- Not suitable for the likes of the Great Dane or Mastiff. Perhaps look at the tandem option if you have a larger pooch.
SunDolphin Bali 12 SS Sit-On-Top Kayak
Review: SunDolphin kayaks need little introduction and they have many excellent models and variations in their range. I’ve opted for this 12-foot, sit-on-top kayak – which offers plenty of room for you and your hound in the cockpit and bow of the craft.
This is backed up by it being exceptionally stable on calm lakes and rivers while being able to hold up to 395lbs. It has shock-cord storage rigging to the bow of the craft – which you could always remove should you want to make more room for Mr. Crinkles.
There’s also a removable storage hatch to the stern (where a pooch could sit), adjustable footrests and protective thigh pads.
- Tough, durable construction.
- Fishing pole holders included.
- Great storage options for the class.
- No scupper holes in the hull.
Lifetime Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak
Review: This tandem fishing kayak from specialists Lifetime continually pops up in top-ten reviews for a number of valid reasons.
It’s a solidly built fishing kayak that is designed for up to three people. Or, in this case, two people and a dog. Or one person and a dog. Or three dogs maybe.
Either way, it’s a super-stable craft with a massive 500lbs weight capacity, padded backrests, multiple footrests to accommodate users of different sizes and a stern storage hatch.
Two paddles are also included, and as it’s designed for extra stability with the option of standing up in the craft – it’s ideal for doggies who might like to move around a little more.
Possibly one of the best sit-on-top kayaks for dogs out there. And for you fisherpeople, don’t miss how to choose the best fishing kayak for more expert tips.
- High weight capacity.
- Built for three people (or dogs).
- Solid, stable construction.
- Limited storage options if your vessel is full.
Ocean Kayak Malibu Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak
Review: Ocean Kayaks are no strangers to making a top-quality recreational craft, and this 12-foot Malibu model is just right for bringing your pup along for the ride. It can hold a maximum weight capacity of 425lbs and includes two, four-way adjustable seats and molded footrests for users of differing heights.
The craft is marketed as being animal and child-friendly – and there are plenty of seating options even if you’re paddling solo.
There are three gear straps at the stern, midship and bow respectively, while the large hull and spacious cockpit size make it super-easy for you and your pet to get on board.
All-in-all, this is a really good kayak for a dog and it certainly gets my vote.
- Loads of room.
- High weight capacity.
- Versatile use.
- Storage options are lacking.
Ocean Kayak Caper Classic Kayak
Review: This is probably one of Ocean Kayak’s most popular sit-on-top designs, and at 11-feet long with a weight capacity of 325lbs, it’s got enough space and stability to comfortably sit you and Snuggle-Puff.
There’s a roomy, click-seal bow hatch that the pooch could easily languish on as you furiously paddle them across the lake.
The adjustable seat and molded footrests provide a versatile cockpit that is simple to enter and exit, while the craft’s long keel will keep you going straight with excellent tracking. Side and front mounted carrying handles ensure the kayak is manageable off the water.
- Solid design and construction.
- Loads of space.
- Plenty of storage.
- Good performance and stability.
- Let me know if you find one!
Perception Hi Life Kayak & Standup Paddleboard
Review: This is an unusual entry, but well worth inclusion here as a kayak/paddle board hybrid.
It’s beautifully designed for the calmer water of still lakes or coastal inlets, and has been specifically targeted at those who want to enjoy the activity with children or pets.
There’s plenty of room for either to sit up front as you do all the hard work. It has stern and bow swim decks for ease of boarding from the water, and elevated, padded seat and backrest, hand grabs for safety and an incorporated drinks holder.
There’s also a built-in cooler under the seat for other drinks and snacks.
The weight capacity is 250lbs.
- Loads of comfortable space for the doggo.
- Hybrid design.
- Gear track for accessories.
- Limited storage.
- Not suitable for longer trips.
- Expensive for what it is.
Old Town Dirigo 106 Recreational Kayak
Review: The oldest kayak manufacturers in the world had to show up at some point, and I’ve decided to include their Dirigo as a solo kayak model – and the fact that it’s a sit-in version.
This is to offer the doggy paddler something a little different – because it’s got loads of cockpit space for you and your pooch to enjoy.
It has a spacious storage hatch to the stern and shock-cord webbing on the bow, while it also includes a cup holder and waterproof console hatch.
It has a 300lbs maximum capacity and is super-stable while also being highly maneuverable.
- Beautiful, top-quality design and build.
- Good storage options.
- Roomy cockpit.
- A sit-in kayak might be a little more of a challenge for doggies and pilots alike.
Perception Cove Sit Inside Tandem Kayak
Review: Last but by no means least is another entry from Perception at the upper end of recreational kayak quality.
The Cove is a tandem sit-in that I’ve included here as your dog could sit in the front seat with ease and comfort. Granted, they’re not going to be able to help you paddle, but at just over 14 feet, this craft tracks well in slow moving or calm waters anyway.
Although a sit-in kayak, it’s spacious and versatile inside, easy to enter and exit, and with adjustable seating. It’ll hold a weighty 550lbs as maximum, and comes with plenty of storage options for overnight treks.
The stern storage hatch has a watertight bulkhead to improve buoyancy and protect your gear. This is a beautiful piece of kit.
- Top-quality construction and design.
- Large, versatile cockpit.
- Safe and strong stability.
- For casual users, it’s on the expensive side.
What to Look for When Buying a Kayak for Dogs
As well as the usual considerations when it comes to choosing a kayak (which I won’t go into too much detail with here) there are many factors to mull over while catering for our four-legged friends as well.
Below you’ll find everything you need to think about before selecting the best kayak for dogs.
An FAQ section will follow.
This is both in reference to the size of your pooch and the size of the kayak. It might seem like an obvious point to make, but the amount of people who overlook this important factor is quite alarming.
Dogs and kayaks come in different sizes. No shit Sherlock.
But you need to do your homework to ensure both you and Professor Rumples can fit in or on the craft comfortably – and your dog won’t get in the way of your paddling, and you won’t get in the way of your dog sniffing, panting and farting.
The larger the animal – the larger the kayak will need to be.
And with that, you need to make sure that you’re experienced and comfortable enough to pilot it.
Otherwise, you’ve got no business being out on the water, dogless or otherwise.
Every kayak comes with a maximum weight capacity that the manufacturer has tried and tested for that particular model.
You’re playing with fire if you push this limit and overload the kayak.
With that in mind, before you purchase the craft that’s right for you, you need to take weight into consideration.
The weight of yourself, your dog and all your gear.
As well as the weight of your partner if you’re using a tandem kayak with two pilots.
Don’t be tempted to try to squeeze everything in just because it’s a kayak you like – if you’re pushing the weight capacity – that version isn’t right for you.
You should always have some breathing space between how much everything you’re transporting weighs – and the maximum weight capacity of that kayak.
As you can see from the above selection of kayaks for dogs, the overwhelming vast majority are sit-on-top version.
This is because they will offer greater stability than the sit-in variety.
Dr. Longpaws might like to move around a bit – making them a little unpredictable in certain situations.
So, having a stable kayak is essential when transporting the family pet over water.
For many people, storage is a huge factor in deciding what type and model of kayak to purchase.
And this is certainly true for dog owners who want to enjoy the pastime with their pet.
Not only do you have to have space for your gear – you also have to have room for the pooch’s stuff.
Dog food and snacks, water and water/food bowls, leashes, muzzles, toys…whatever your dog’s needs – you should ensure you have space to store them.
Particularly if you’re going to be covering some distance and/or enjoying overnight treks.
But it’s also worth noting that the storage spaces or hatches in a kayak can potentially be used to seat Chew Barka.
So, if you’re storing a hound in the storage compartment – you’re not going to be able to store your stuff!
Yet another thing to bear in mind before purchasing the best kayak for dogs.
Single or Tandem?
Another thing you might notice in my review, is that I’ve opted for a large number of tandem kayaks.
The simple reason being, that if the kayak can fit another person comfortably – it can easily fit a dog.
They’re much better for actually giving your dog a proper seat, as well as being more generous with size for accommodating larger breeds.
And even if you’re paddling solo with your pet, most tandem craft are just as maneuverable with one pilot as they are with two.
And you won’t bicker with your pupper about which direction you should be taking, either.
Location/Duration of Use
You also have to consider where you’re going to be kayaking with your pup – because that will impact your choice of vessel in a big way.
It’s not particularly advisable to take a dog out on any significant chop – in bad conditions you’re asking for trouble.
And if you’re trekking for more than a day, you’ll need a kayak that you and Bark Twain will be able to share comfortably for long lengths of time.
Consider the who, what, where and how of your kayaking excursion before picking a vessel up.
What Type of Kayak is Best for Kayaking With a Dog?
The short answer – sit-on-top, recreational kayaks.
They’re usually lower and wider than their sit-in counterparts, offering greater primary stability in the water.
In calmer, still regions like lakes or wide, slow-moving rivers, a sit-on-top kayak is ideal for showing your pooch the sights.
That being said, a sit-in kayak can still be used, so long as it is stable and there’s enough room for all aboard.
Fishing kayaks (most of which are also of the sit-in variety) are also ideal – as there’s usually plenty of space while offering solid stability.
Steer well clear of sea kayaks (unless you have a much smaller animal) and whitewater craft. They won’t be suitable for dogs at all.
Can You Take a Dog in an Inflatable Kayak?
It’s a good question – most people might be reluctant to opt for an inflatable kayak because of fear that the dog will tear or puncture the material.
You need to remember that these vessels are much more durable than the unicorn blow-up ly-lo you bought for the pool last year.
Inflatable kayaks are built to be anti-tear and puncture, tested in many conditions to stay afloat even if you snag it on a rock in shallow water.
Dogs are unlikely to cause any damage to a well-constructed, durable, inflatable kayak – unless they deliberately set out of maul the thing to pieces.
But, for extra peace of mind, it might be worth booking Rambo in for that long overdue nail clipping session just in case.
Will My Dog Need a Life Jacket?
It depends really. How much do you value your dog?!
Yes, dogs need to have a PFD (personal floatation device) when out on the water.
And yes, they do make them specifically for dogs.
Accidents can and do happen – and even if your dog is an excellent swimmer – they might panic in such a situation and cause you and themselves some serious problems. Especially in deep water or where they can’t see a way out.
Doggy PFDs are specially constructed to help keep your precious one afloat until you can come to the rescue – and they have safety handles so you can grab on and bring them back on board.
Personally, I’d also buy one with a fake shark fin attached – for safety with added comedy value.
Do Breeds Matter?
Great question – yes they do.
As mentioned, some dogs do well on water and some do not. Your dog’s breed will play a part in this.
Some breeds are overly excitable and would cause problems jumping about a kayak or being easily unsettled.
This can happen easily with all the sights and sounds of the great outdoors.
By contrast, sleepy, calmer K-9’s are ideal for taking on kayaking trips. They’re far less likely to literally rock the boat.
Take your breed’s personality and temperament into serious consideration before attempting to kayak with them for the first time. When in doubt – ask a professional trainer or a veterinarian for advice.
Safety Tips of Kayaking With My Dog?
Another good question – and there’s plenty to consider before you take to the water with your pooch.
Have a look at some of the pointers below.
- Ensure your dog understand basic commands – Taking an untrained animal onto the water is a big risk. Your dog needs to know how to sit, stay and come at the very least.
- Get your dog used to the water – Some dogs love it and others don’t. Before subjecting Sir Waggington to a stressful experience, make sure your pooch is acclimated to the environment.
- Start slow – You might want to get right out there, but there really is no rush. Following on from the point above, ease you and your hound into the activity. Start slow in quiet waters. And once you’re up and running, there’s no need to be trying for Olympic records. Take your time and enjoy – it’ll be a better experience all-round.
- Keep them on the leash – Another good idea is to keep them attached to their leash. This shouldn’t be too restrictive, but if one end is connected to you or the kayak and another to their safety vest, you’ve got peace of mind right there.
- Understand the environment – Just as you wouldn’t go somewhere you’re not capable of handling, so should you not go somewhere your dog isn’t comfortable with. Save the whitewater for a solo adventure.
- Use a doggy sunscreen – Yes, because they burn, too. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a suitable dog version.
Quite possibly one of the funniest articles I’ve written in recent memory, I hope this goes some way to entertaining you while helping you choose the best kayak for dogs on the market.
They’re humankind’s best friend, full of unconditional love and they bring us all a great deal of joy every single day.
They deserve to be treated to wonderful kayaking experiences in the playground of the great outdoors.
Let me know your pooch paddling parables in the comments below.
Happy K-9 kayaking!