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Big dogs and kayaks

I’m interested in getting a kayak and wanted to get advice on what type is best for taking a couple of dogs along. 

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Hi @turkeytyler, a tandem kayak or canoe would probably be the best option for paddling with large dogs in flatwater conditions. Depending on their size, a single sit-on-top kayak that has flat storage space in the front and rear may do the job as well. Here are the sit-on-top options available at REI

Also, canoes!

I found a website that discusses paddling with dogs and goes over some safety precautions to consider when getting started. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I'm super late to this game, but I also would love some advice/help finding a kayak for my dog and I to enjoy. I have an australian shepherd, they are about 50-60 pounds or so and very fluffy. I'd prefer a sit on top kayak with room for my pup to be in front of me. Any suggestions?



Welcome to the community and thanks for bumping this conversation back to the top!

I've been paddling with my dog(s), with varying degrees of success, for almost 9 years now. While I use a paddle board, a lot of the things that work for me translate to a kayak. Here are some really important things to think about when you're getting out on the water with your dog:

  1. Stability. Generally speaking, the wider the boat is the more stability it has. Even the best behaved dog gets the wiggles, sees something interesting in the water, or gets buzzed by a duck and wants to move around (best case) or jump out of the boat. The more stable the boat is the more likely you are to stay in it when that happens.
  2. Comfort. Your dog is more likely to stay put and be calm if they can get comfortable on your boat. Typically that means a big enough space for them to lay down that is as flat as possible.
  3. Ease of entry. While you hope it never happens, you want to be prepared to get your dog back in the boat if they fall (jump) out or, worse case, you both end up out of the boat and in the water. This was one of the main reasons I went with a paddle board, it makes it so much easier to get my dog out of the water and back onto the board. Also, having a pfd for your dog that has a good handle is likely the single most useful thing you can have when paddling with your dog.

There are many other factors you'll want to think about, such as working with your dog on dry land to get the used to getting on and off the boat, in addition to all the other commands that are critical to a successful day on the water.

I took a quick look at some of the kayaks we currently offer that look like they might fit the bill for being a fun boat for your dog. Here are some of those options:

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on where to start and some things to think about as you get ready to get out on the water. I'll add a pic of me and my adventure dog, Cooper, from long ago enjoying some lake time in Alaska.





At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.