If you love kayaking and you have a dog that you cannot simply leave behind during your kayaking trips, you have no option but to carry your dog along.
But is that a safe thing to do or are kayaks built to carry non-humans too. Let’s find out.
Can you take a dog inflatable kayaking/boating?
Yes, you can take your dog with you on an inflatable boat or kayak. Unlike early-gen inflatable kayaks, modern inflatables are made from much sturdier materials.
In fact, most of these modern inflatable boats and kayaks are capable of withstanding contact with sharp rocks. Letting your dog accompany you on a kayaking expedition should not be an issue.
However, if your inflatable kayak/boat is relatively old and heavily used, you should think twice before taking your pet dog onboard.
It’s not just the wear and tear the boat would have gone through over a period that could be a potential red flag, but the kayak’s design itself may not be dog-friendly. Go through the kayak’s product manual to check how safe is it with a dog on board. If you cannot find your kayak’s product manual, look up its product description online.
Can inflatable boat material withstand dog claws?
Inflatable kayak material isn’t the stuff typically used to make wading pools. The two may look the same, but they aren’t identical.
Better quality inflatable watercraft are made of elastic fabrics and polyurethane compounds to keep them rock or dog claw-proof.
Also, these inflatables are made in layers. In other words, there are multiple layers of material used to make the kayak’s entire frame. This multi-layer construction gives the kayak excellent strength and rigidity.
As a result, even if a layer of the boat gets scratched, there would be another layer or more serving as backup.
There are things that can help though:
- Dog claw manicure
- Lay a towel or blanket under the dog. This will not protect the side of the boat though.
In short, if you have a high quality inflatable kayak or boat, dog claws should not damage the material. Mind you, this is not to be said of low quality inflatable rafts.
Kayaking with a dog
It’s pretty clear that kayaking with a dog is relatively safe. But what if the dog is not obedient or constantly moves around on a moving kayak? With a not very still dog onboard, you risk accidents. The last thing you want is to tip over in the middle of the lake with your dog.
Thankfully, there are ways to keep your dog stay put on an inflatable kayak.
- To start with, you must understand that not all dogs are troublemakers. Certain types may simply appreciate the sight at its disposal and be gazing without even moving an inch while you’re busy paddling the kayak. However, if your dog is naturally very active, some training could help.
- Don’t take your dog anywhere close to the water if you’re not sure about its behavior. You may start the training in your garden or backyard with the dog and the inflated kayak. The training basically entails enabling your dog board the kayak by itself and remain still or simply sit there thereafter. This activity may not work right away, and you’ll need some patience and practice to get things to work.
- Once your dog is not running around on the kayak or jumping out of the boat, you are probably safe to try the routine in water. However, make sure you don’t become too confident about your dog’s good conduct. The dog could act strangely or completely the opposite upon being positioned in the midst of the water. Therefore, don’t venture too far into the waters. The goal is to only find out how the dog acts when the kayak is in water and moving. If your dog passed the garden kayaking test, it should most likely clear the water test as well.
Don’t take any chances. If you’re not certain your dog can stay put out on the water in a moving inflatable boat/kayak, don’t go.
Safety measures to keep in mind when taking a dog boating
Even though you have trained your dog well and you’re absolutely certain of its behavior on the boat, you still need to adhere to certain safety measures.
For starters, get a life jacket for your dog. These jackets come in different sizes, so finding the right size for your dog should not be an issue. The jacket would ensure that even if your dog gets taken over by a sudden surge of excitement – maybe after seeing another dog at the shore – and falls into the cold water, its accidental fall won’t cause it much or any harm.
Here are some good life jackets for dogs.
Another thing you could do is use a kayak that’s purpose-designed to take dogs onboard. These dog-friendly kayaks usually come with higher sides than normal, which help contain your pet.
Also, if your dog is relatively large, make sure you don’t go kayaking on a boat that’s fairly compact, or doesn’t have much room to spare once it’s occupied by you, your dog, and your gear. A roomy kayak would also help the dog switch sides during the voyage and not get stiff, as a result.
If your dog is big, get a tandem kayak or a boat that is designed to carry at least 2 people. Such a kayak would offer you enough space. There could even be enough room for another individual to hop on. The other person may help maintain order with the dog so that you could focus more on the paddling.
If the kayak is a single-person boat, make sure it’s easy to paddle solo. With a dog onboard, you would want to move at a relatively swift pace. If the kayak is heavy and difficult to paddle, you may easily get tired and the journey would take longer than usual. Having the dog onboard longer would mean increased chances of mishaps.
Needless to mention, the dog would not help you paddle the kayak.
Important items to carry onboard if you take a dog
There are a few things you will want to take with you if you take a dog in a kayak on longer trips:
- Life jacket, as we’ve discussed already.
- Carry water and some food for the dog, particularly if the weather conditions are warm.
- To feed the dog, carry a bowl. You may use the dish to serve water and/or food.
- If you’re not kayaking deep and your dog fancies swimming, carry some dog water toys.
- Bring a mat too so that your dog could sit on it in the boat. Even if your kayak is well-made, using a mat would help completely negate any chances of puncture and the insides of the boat would also not get soiled.
- Poop bags may be another important thing you would want to carry when kayaking with your pet dog.
Taking a dog, or even 2 dogs with you in your inflatable boat is considered to be safe if you pay attention to a few things. Have fun!