Paddling with your pets, especially dogs, can be a fun and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry companion. However, there are some important considerations and safety precautions to keep in mind when paddling with pets:

Life Jackets for Pets:

Ensure that your pet wears a well-fitting and appropriately sized life jacket. Even if your pet is a strong swimmer, a life jacket provides an extra layer of safety in case of accidents or fatigue.

Pet Swimming Ability:

Know your pet’s swimming ability. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some may be uncomfortable in the water. Make sure your pet is accustomed to the water and knows how to swim before going kayaking.

Leash or Restraint:

Use a leash or other suitable restraint to keep your pet safely on the kayak. This prevents them from jumping off unexpectedly or interfering with your paddling.

Practice on Land:

Before heading onto the water, practice sitting in the kayak with your pet on land to get them accustomed to the experience.

Entry and Exit:

Teach your pet how to safely enter and exit the kayak. It may be helpful to practice this in shallow water. Some kayaks have special steps or platforms for pets to climb in and out.

Comfort on the Kayak:

Make sure your pet is comfortable on the kayak. Use a non-slip pad or mat to provide traction and prevent your pet from slipping. Bring their favorite blanket or cushion to create a cozy spot.

Food and Water:

Bring enough food and fresh water for your pet. Paddling can be thirsty work, and your pet may get dehydrated.

Sun Protection:

Just as you protect yourself from the sun, ensure that your pet is adequately protected. Dogs can get sunburned, especially on their nose and ears.

Safety Equipment:

Carry necessary safety equipment for both you and your pet, including a first-aid kit, pet medications, and anything specific to your pet’s needs.

Rest Stops:

Plan for rest stops to allow your pet to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and have a break.

Weather and Water Conditions:

Be mindful of weather conditions, tides, currents, and water temperature. Your pet’s safety depends on suitable conditions.

Respect Wildlife and Regulations:

Be respectful of wildlife, other paddlers, and local regulations. Keep your pet under control and minimize disruptions.

Potty Breaks:

Consider your pet’s bathroom needs. You might want to bring a portable pet toilet for longer trips or ensure you can access land when needed.

Pet Behavior:

Pay attention to your pet’s behavior. If they seem anxious, scared, or unwell, it’s best to head back to shore.


Basic obedience training is helpful when paddling with pets. Commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” can be crucial for maintaining control.

Paddling with pets can be a wonderful experience, but safety should always be a top priority. Remember that not all pets will enjoy kayaking, so be attentive to your pet’s comfort and well-being and adapt your plans accordingly.

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