A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tricks he knew when John was a kid. No wonder we trust his opinion every time a new article is being created.
Last updated: May 19, 2021
Outdoorsly is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Owning a kayak has numerous benefits. Not only it promotes your health and assists in building muscles, but it is also an extremely fun activity. The only thing that could make it better is you can take your dog with you. The good news is that it is possible, and all you need is the best kayak for dogs.
What makes a kayak suitable for you and your furry friend? First of all, it needs to be big enough for both. If you choose smartly, you can even fit more than one dog in a kayak. However, you need to consider the maximum weight capacity. The kayak also needs to keep all of you afloat, which means you should look for maximum stability. After all, you don’t want to end up in the water.
We did the footwork for you and analyzed more than two dozen different kayaks to find the most suitable one for your pet. Our team checked out more than two dozen products and focused on both expert opinions and customer feedback. We kept in mind the specifics of dog kayaks, such as adequate size, weight capacity, and stability. Feel free to check out our table for a quick overview of available products, or scroll below to find a detailed review of each unit. Keep reading to discover our buying guide that we hope will help you find the best kayak for dogs!
If you can take a kayak to the ocean, you can take in anywhere! The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a great proof of that claim. The sit-on-top boat is one of the best tandem kayaks for dogs and people. You can take your pet to the water and enjoy creating memorable adventures with them!
The seats come with amazing adjustability in four directions. That way, both of you can feel comfortable while minimizing slip risk.
Thanks to the sit-on-top design, it will be easy for your dog to enter the kayak. The boat is quite long, with a total length of 12 feet. It weighs 57 pounds, but that is also reasonably light for carrying. The manufacturer included premium components, which ensure great durability and stability. Additionally, the weight capacity is rather good because the kayak can fit 425 pounds of combined weight.
The only downside is that the colors might look a bit different than in the photos. However, that is a common appearance for many products, and it doesn’t affect all the great things that this kayak can do for you.
What makes it stand out?
A great combination of portability and the weight capacity
Premium components and design make the kayak very stable
Seats are adjustable in four directions
The sit-on-top design makes getting in and out of the kayak easy
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The colors may be different than in the photos
The weight limit could be higher considering it’s a tandem kayak
Are you getting ready for a fishing trip, and you would like to take your pooch with you? Sport Fisher can be a great choice as it features three rod holders, as well as additional space for all your angling equipment.
The kayak is a bit heavy with 60 pounds of total weight, which is not easy for a single person the carry. Fortunately, the compact 10-feet size makes transport a bit more manageable.
Don’t be confused by the size – this is still one of the best fishing kayaks for large dogs. The maximum weight capacity is 500 pounds, and there will be enough room for both of you in there. You can move either of the two backrests to find the optimal position. The seating is somewhat elevated to keep you away from the kayak floor.
The manufacturer included a paddle, and also made sure that all components are of superb quality. You will see the result of carefully chosen materials over time, and that will be the best way to confirm the overall durability and longevity of the kayak.
Ultimately, the design also seems suitable for fishers. The manufacturer did everything to make it look professional, which is why this model is so tempting for anglers who like fishing with their furry friends.
What makes it stand out?
An excellent choice for fishing
Amazing durability thanks to superb quality materials
Impressive weight capacity
Elevated seating to keep you away from the kayak floor
Did you know that this kayak won a prestigious international award for its unique design? While that is nice, it is the performance we care about, and the unit does many good things in that area, too.
For starters, it seems that this is an average length kayak as it is 11-feet long. It weighs 55 pounds, which is not that heavy, although it’s also not the lightest unit out there.
The added weight comes from premium quality components. They secure excellent stability and maneuverability, which means beginners should consider this model. The sit-on-top design makes it easy to get, and swim decks and hand grips also allow to climb up from the water easily.
The biggest drawback is the limited weight capacity. The manufacturer recommends only 280 pounds of total weight. That is why you should only consider this if you are looking for kayaks for small dogs.
The product features an elevated seat, which could be more comfortable, but it does have generous padding and a backrest. You can place drinks in holders to keep them safe while kayaking and the unit even has an integrated cooler. Ultimately, you could say this is a family and pet-friendly boat designed to relax in calm waters.
What makes it special?
A unique and award-winning design
Suitable for beginners and calm water
Admirable stability and maneuverability
It’s easy to get back on the kayak if you fall into the water
If you are a kayak fan, you probably know Pelican is a manufacturer with an excellent reputation in the industry. Pelican Prime 100 is a relatively new model that is incredibly light. It weighs only 50 pounds, and combined with retractable carrying handles, it will be easy to take the kayak wherever you go.
This sit-on-top unit may be lightweight, but it is very stable thanks to the premium construction. Its maximum load is set at 325 pounds, which means you shouldn’t have problems fitting yourself and one small pet inside.
You can place fishing and other equipment in the rear tank, and use the hatch in front for all items you need nearby. For optimal comfort, you can adjust footrests, and enjoy sitting on a padded cushion with ergonomic backrest. You can even utilize a bottle holder to keep your beverage safe while kayaking.
Once you start the adventure, you will notice that the unit has adequate speed even at maximum load capacity. The maneuverability is also impressive, and it shouldn’t be a problem navigating your kayak while keeping it stable.
What makes it special?
Easy to carry wherever you go
A rear tank, quick-lock hatch, and bottle holder keep all your items safe
A great balance of speed and stability
What cons did we find?
It might not fit big dogs, considering the limited weight capacity
When it comes to inflatable kayaks, the thing you question the most is durability. That is where Coleman did a good job and made Sevylor as durable as an inflatable unit could be.
The manufacturer used 18-gauge PVC to ensure the kayak can handle all challenges on lakes and calm waters. The nylon cover and tarpaulin bottom make the unit rather durable, but it still is not a smart choice for waters that are not calm. Despite that, it is nice to see a multiple air-chamber approach, which increases durability by keeping other layers inflated after one of the chambers is punctured.
The product has everything fishers may need, including trolling motor fittings and rod holders. You can also put the remaining equipment in mesh storage pockets, or consider putting some snacks in there, too.
It is easy to assemble and inflate the kayak. The double-threaded valve makes inflation simple, and you can even use the pressure gauge to check if you reached an optimal inflation level.
The seats are adjustable, although the unit could be more comfortable overall. It is another thing that’s a common occurrence with inflatable kayaks. The important thing, however, is that it is fairly light and portable, and it also has a solid weight capacity of 470 pounds.
The first thing you notice is the design of this kayak. It comes in two different color combinations – sea spray and sunset, and they are both equally creative.
It is important to talk about the biggest advantage and drawback of the kayak at the same time – its weight. The product weighs 69 pounds, and it is hands down difficult to carry if you are alone.
However, that weight secures a 500-pound weight capacity and gives excellent stability and maneuverability. If you are looking for the best kayaks for beginners with dogs, this may be the one. It is the stability you need to minimize any mishaps while in the water.
It is a classic sit-on-top kayak, which means you can get in and out in a couple of seconds. You will find it very comfortable as you have the option of personalizing the sit. The seatback and footrests are both adjustable to your size and comfort.
You will find two hatches for storage in the front of every seat, and there is even a drink holder to keep your beverage while steering the water. It is important to mention that the weight doesn’t affect speed as this kayak is quite fast.
Why are we impressed?
Extremely stable and easy to maneuver
Very durable and long-lasting
Adjustable seatback and footrest to fit your size and comfort
If you can’t or don’t want a bother with carrying your kayak everywhere, using an inflatable unit is the perfect solution. The fact that it only weighs 32 pounds when inflated is its biggest advantage.
Although it is incredibly light and portable, it also has a generous weight capacity, which places it among the best inflatable kayaks for large dogs. The kayak is long, and you shouldn’t have a problem with fitting you and your furry friend inside.
You will even feel comfortable as the seats are adjustable. It is easy to pump the kayak, and the bottom skegs are there to improve speed and tracking.
The problem lies in the stability of the kayak. If you don’t have any previous experience, it might be tricky to put the boat under control. You should avoid riding waves and stick to still water.
Additionally, the durability is as solid as it could be for an inflatable model. Unfortunately, that still means this unit is less durable than some other kayaks in our list.
It is all about your needs and preference. If you are looking for the lightest model with excellent portability, this is the one. But if you prefer stability and durability, you may not be that thrilled.
If you are worried that you may have to inflate this kayak by yourself, don’t worry anymore. The manufacturer includes a pump that makes inflation a piece of cake. Combined with the fact that the unit is only 37-pound heavy, it is what makes the kayak a suitable option for beginners.
Although the model is not as long as others on our list, it should fit you and your furry companion as long as your weight up to 400 pounds combined. The unit is an excellent pick for mild rivers and lakes. It is visible thanks to its simplistic design, which means you will minimize the chance of someone not noticing you while kayaking.
The model is also quite comfortable. The seats come with backrests for your comfort, and the floor is not slippery, which is important for your dog. You can find a grabbing handle and line on both sides of the product.
It is interesting to note that you will receive a repair kit to fix any tiny punctures or pinholes. That way, you can ensure your kayak is not leaking air. You have the option of mounting a motor, but make sure to use the kit specifically made for these boats.
How to choose a kayak that is the most suitable for you and your dog? We are trying to answer that question in our comprehensive buying guide below!
What type of kayak will be more comfortable for you and your dog?
Let’s try to clarify some dilemmas you might have when it comes to choosing the right type of kayak for you and your pooch.
Recreational or touring?
It is hard to give a definite answer here, and you might need to consider the size and personality of your dog.
Recreational kayaks feature a compact size and enclosed cockpit with a big opening for passengers. If your dog is small, or they don’t mind restricted spaces, you can consider using a recreational kayak.
However, a touring model may be a better choice if you are looking for additional space. These units often go to over 12 feet of length, which should give your dog plenty of room to move.
Sit-in or sit-on-top?
It is easier to choose when you know the basics of kayak types you are dealing with. Sit-in and sit-on-top models feature very different designs.
Sit-in units are usually quite narrow and allow the user a high level of body contact with the kayak itself. That should provide additional control, but also increase your speed. That makes this model a suitable choice if you plan to cross a significant distance during your trip. However, you will need some skill to handle that extra speed. Even the best sit-in kayaks for dogs will require some experience to drive them comfortably. Additionally, your dog should be very comfortable with the water, or they might get scared, especially if you don’t stick to calm waters.
Sit-on-top kayaks are more suitable for beginners. They also seem more pet-friendly because getting in and out from the boat is effortless. That also makes sit-on-top units like Ocean Kayak Malibu Two a smart choice if you have a restless dog.
One- or two-person?
When it comes to choosing a kayak, you should treat your pet as a person. Yes, your dog deserves credit, but the actual reason why you should go with a two-person model is extra space.
Most of the one-person kayaks are small, and they can’t fit a human and a dog in terms of both size and weight. That proves especially true if you have a big pet.
It is only natural that the two-person unit will have extra space and weight capacity. That is why you should primarily stick to them, especially if you are looking for the best kayaks for big dogs.
Important features to consider before making a purchase
Let’s take a look at some crucial features you need to keep in mind when buying a kayak for a joint trip with your dog!
Kayak dimensions and weight
The dimensions and weight of your kayak will directly affect its portability. If you are taking your dog on an adventure, the chances are you will do all the carrying. It is why you may want to consider an inflatable kayak, such as Sevylor Coleman Colorado because those units are the lightest.
But if you feel strong and don’t mind doing some heavy-lifting, you can benefit from additional stability, durability, and weight capacity with heavier units. Perception Pescador is probably the most durable kayak on our list and a real long-term investment.
Kayak weight capacity
The best kayaks for large dogs have a huge weight capacity. It is as simple as that. If you have a big pet, you need a kayak that can fit both you and your pooch. That indicates that you should hunt for models that have a weight capacity of at least 400–450 pounds, such as Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak.
On the other hand, small dogs are not heavy, which is why they should easily fit in any tandem units. Perception Hi Life may be a great choice for your pooch in that case.
Durable materials and construction
There is no one-size-fits-all kayak out there. It is why we say that you need to consider the features, and that applies to material durability and construction.
Kayaks can be inflatable and non-inflatable. Inflatable units are light and easy to move around, but they are not that durable.
Non-inflatable kayaks are more durable, and will probably serve you for a long time. However, they are heavier and can be tricky to carry.
Do you have a small dog that you carry around wherever you go? In that case, you shouldn’t have a problem fitting it in your kayak.
But what if your dog is big and restless? In that case, you shouldn’t only consider that they can fit on the boat, but also secure enough space for them to move around.
Keep in mind – if your dog feels like they are in a confined space, it may make them nervous, and they might tip over the kayak!
Stability is extremely important in three situations:
You are a beginner.
You have a restless dog.
You plan to ride waves and have a real kayaking adventure.
If you are a newcomer to kayaking, you may want to look for the most stable kayaks, such as Pelican Prime 100. Even when you are in calm waters, a restless dog can easily turn over the kayak, and that is also where stability helps.
Finally, you need the unit to be stable if you are going to ride waves or tackle ocean waters. In that case, you also need a durable model, which is why Ocean Kayak Malibu Two can be a great choice.
The old saying goes that the better the warranty, the better the product. While that doesn’t have to be correct, the warranty is a nice indicator of whether the manufacturer trusts the product.
You can’t expect the same warranties for inflatable and standard kayaks. Inflatable units are not as durable, and they have a shorter lifespan than regular models. A couple of years must be the best guarantee you can expect.
As for non-inflatable kayaks, it depends on the manufacturer. The best units out there might even have a lifetime warranty on the hull.
What to take with you?
You have chosen the kayak, but that doesn’t mean your preparation for the adventure has ended. The fact that you are taking your furry companion with you means that you will need to pack some extra things for them. Here is a list of items that you will need.
The first thing you want to consider is your dog’s safety. You need to be ready for extreme situations. It may be difficult to accept, but dogs can also drown. Your pet might be a good swimmer, but they might get scared, or an accident could happen.
That is why you should equip them with a life vest. It is vital to give your pooch a bit of time to get used to the vest because they might feel uncomfortable wearing it. You may consider showing them you are wearing the vest, too.
Harness and collar
Is your dog restless, and you are afraid that they will knock over the boat? The chances are that will happen a couple of times during the day. In those situations, a harness can be useful for pulling them back on the kayak. A harness is something you will appreciate taking with you, especially in harsh weather conditions.
You won’t spend the entire time on the water. A leash is necessary when you reach the land. However, it is vital to mention you should NEVER use it on your pet while you are in your kayak.
Imagine if something goes wrong and the boat turns over while your dog is tied. You need to save or untie the poor animal quickly. The potentially terrible consequences are not something you want to deal with, which is why your dog should remain UNTIED while on the boat.
Food & water
No, dogs shouldn’t consume seawater, and it cannot refresh them. You brought fresh water for you, haven’t you? You should do the same for your dog.
Apart from fresh water, consider taking their favorite food. If it is a short trip, snacks may do the trick, but you may need other food if you plan to stay on the water for long. If it helps to make your pet more comfortable in the kayak, consider taking their favorite bowls, too.
Tips for Kayaking with Your dog
While it can be an amazing adventure, you might need some time and effort to make your dog comfortable in a kayak. If your pet is well-trained, that can make your trip significantly more enjoyable. Pooches that listen to commands instantly will cause little problems on the kayak. It can be particularly vital to learn them to poop on command.
Here are some other tips that you can apply:
Start slowly– it is essential to allow your pet to get used to the kayak. It is why you should consider starting in calm and shallow water. Move gradually as you introduce your dog to rapids and other specifics of kayaking.
Stick together – no matter what happens, you shouldn’t leave your dog out of sight.
Bring a friend – if it is your first trip, or you are afraid how your dog is going to react, how about bringing a friend? They can be in a separate kayak, but there to help in case you need anything!
Wearing a life vest increases the safety of both dogs and people in the water. You should put a life vest on your pet, but make sure they are comfortable with it. It might be wise to give them a few minutes to get used to wearing this vest.
The experts recommend taking a harness with you. If your dog slips and falls into the water, it will be easier to get them back on the boat.
Have you found the best kayak for dogs already? We have some amazing units on our list, but if you are looking for the most versatile one, go with the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two. It is a durable unit with a sit-on-top design, which makes getting into the kayak simple. Adjustable seats will make you comfortable, and the impressive stability will make your journey better.
If you would like to go fishing with your dog, Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak is an excellent choice. It is a long-term investment with all the necessary holders and compartments to keep your angling gear.
Finally, if you need an inflatable light unit, you can’t go wrong with Sevylor Coleman Colorado. Although it is inflatable, it is quite durable, and you can even use it for fishing.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your needs and preference. Consider what you expect from a dog kayak, and pick the model accordingly!