Should I take my dog kayaking? Here are some guidelines.


Those of you lucky enough to live near a dog who loves the water can double the fun for both of you with a safe lake or stream outing involving the two of you. Old Smoke will love you even more if you take him out on the water under the following, quite strict conditions.

Follow these 5 rules if you take your dog kayaking:

1. Know that your dog obeys, that she jumps at “Come,” sits dog-solid at “Stay.”

2. Stay current with your dog’s health. Certain ailments and advancing age mean that your best friend stays home: arthritis is a potential killer, as are cardiac problems, vision or hearing issues, even general anxiety; a nervous dog will neither enjoy nor be enjoyable. (James Hughes’ dog, Roxie, throws herself into barking backflips at the arrival of the mailman. She will not be joining him on his new Predator.)

3. Concern yourself with your dog’s breed and size, ensuring that your yak can handle the increased weight and motion.

4. Bring along all the appropriate gear, including a doggie flotation device. The Hughes dogs (Smokey, Roxie, Frank, Larry, and that idiotic Otis) report that their safety meeting of last Monday recommends these four can’t-sink solutions to dog danger on the water, in ascending order of preference: Puffwear K, Pawz Pet Products PPP, Outward Hound, and Ezy Dog DFD. (Our dogs enjoy wordplay too, it seems.)

5. The gear introduced in #4 should go on to include water, food, towels, a blanket, bags for poop, and a leash for shore use – never, ever leash your dog on the water!

Read these additional Kayak Safety tips.

If you find that your dog is going with you on a significant number of yak outings, you might consider adding traction pads, thereby giving her a non-slip surface to grip. The pads will also prevent damage from those long nails of hers.

Waggy tail, four-legged friends. We’re going pedaling.

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