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Can You Take Your Dog on a Kayak?

MDVSS Dog Kayak

Going on a relaxing kayak trip can be a lot of fun, but is it safe to bring your dog with you?

There’s something so soothing about kayaking down a river, or out on open water. When you love kayaking but you have a dog waiting for you at home you might be wondering if you can safely bring them with you on your kayaking trips. The short answer is yes! Kayaking can be a lot of fun for our furry companions, but there is some work to do before you push off the dock with your pup on board for a relaxing kayak trip.


The most important thing to do before bringing your pup on a kayak with you is training. Start on land, and slowly graduate to short trips and then long trips. Aside from getting your companion used to the kayak itself, they need to be calm and able to obey commands such as, “leave it,” “lay down,” “get in,” and “out.” 

“Leave it” can be one of the most important commands to teach your dog before going out kayaking because there will be a lot of new stimuli and it’s tempting for a dog to jump out and investigate. You want your pooch to stay safely in the kayak, so making sure they are capable of following this command even heavily stimulated is crucial. 

“Lay down” is also a good one and can be subbed for “leave it” in some instances. If your dog stands up because they’re getting overly excited or they see something interesting, this command can help keep them in check. It can also help you to see if your dog is standing up on the front of the kayak and blocking your view. 

“Get in” can inform your dog that it is okay to get into the kayak—they need to know when it’s okay to enter so that they don’t try to jump in before the kayak is ready and run the risk of ending up in the water.

“Out” is a good, quick call to use to let your dog know it’s safe for them to exit the kayak once you’re in the shallows (if you’re okay with them getting wet). If they know they can’t exit before you call “out,” they’re less likely to jump off the kayak during your trips.


Don’t forget to bring the essentials on every trip. Your dog should have their own lifejacket, sun goggles, and sunscreen. A dog first aid kit, poop bags, and toys are also must-haves. Always bring a small or collapsible bowl and fresh water along with treats, and include dog food for longer trips. You should have your dog’s leash for when you’re back on land, and something comfy for them to sit on while they’re in the kayak—a beach towel works, but there are also fancy dog seats available. 

Dog Overboard

We have previously discussed what to do when your dog jumps off your boat, and much of the same logic applies when kayaking. The benefit of kayaking is that you’re low on the water, so you shouldn’t need to exit the kayak to pull your dog back in by the handle on their lifejacket. If your kayak flips, it’s your choice whether you pull yourself in first and then pull your pup in, or get them back into the boat before you pull yourself up.

Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health

Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 25th, 2022 at 3:33 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.