Kayaking with your dog can be wonderful or it can be a disaster. These 7 tips will help keep all of you safe, healthy and happy.
What’s better than kayaking? Kayaking with your best friend! Whether you are going exploring, getting some exercise or going for a casual paddle, the experience is always better when it’s shared, and what better companion than your dog? I’ll admit, they don’t pull their weight when it comes to the paddling, but they don’t complain, they don’t take ages to get ready, and they are always super excited to be going somewhere with you!
Here’s how to get the most out of kayaking with your dog:
1. Safety and local boating laws – check with your local boating authority if there are any safety requirements for taking a dog kayaking, such as wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Even if PFDs are not required by law, consider whether your dog will be able to get back in the kayak if he/she falls overboard. Is your dog comfortable in the water? And how far is it to shore? A doggy life jacket might give you peace of mind and might even save your dog’s life.
2. Practice on land – before their first time, it’s a great idea to give your dog a go in the kayak when it is on land. This will make them feel more comfortable getting into it on water.
3. Training – it is critical that your dog is well trained and responds quickly and consistently to your commands. There are lots of distractions on the water, such as birds, fish, other dogs and if you can’t control your dog, you might both end up in the water.
4. Hydration – take some fresh water and a bowl – even if you are paddling in fresh water, you don’t want your dog leaning over the side to drink as it might result in the kayak tipping over and you or your dog falling out.
5. Food storage – your pooch might not always be in a spot where you can see him or her and you don’t want to discover your snacks have been sampled by your furry friend.
6. Shore stops – when you are planning your trip, look out for places you can stop on shore for a run around. This is also the best way to give your dog a toilet stop, but make sure you have bags for clean up.
7. A suitable kayak – some kayaks are just not suitable for taking your dog.