As a dog owner, you are surely almost always thinking of new ways to spend time with your dog. Sure, you can take them on walks, and runs, but that gets old quickly. Especially if you are the adventurous type. Kayaking is another great option of amazing activities to do with your dog, especially if your dog enjoys water. But before you do that, you have to consider the following…
How Ready Is Your Dog?
Not all dogs like water, and you have to find out if your dog belongs to that category. If your dog is a fan of water, the process of preparing your dog gets easier. If your dog does not like water, persistence and training can teach it to relax around water. You have to be patient when training your dog; you don’t want to be too hard on it. Patience is everything. Watch out for these traits in your dog, if you are still unsure of whether or not you should take them kayaking.
An easily excitable and lively dog is not a recommended partner for kayaking. This is because they tend to jump around without reason. If your dog is capable of remaining calm, even in unknown situations, you can take it with you on your next kayaking adventure. However, if your dog is closer to the former, you should reconsider putting it on a kayak with you.
Another important factor to consider is the size, or breed of your dog. If your dog is large, it is more likely to capsize or flip a kayak. You would not want to go kayaking, and have the kayak flipped over. Especially if your dog was a bit anxious before getting on the kayak. Sure, swimming is a good activity for dogs as it exercises their muscles and cools them down, but impromptu swimming is not the best idea.
You have to take your dog’s health into consideration. The weather can vary out on the water, and you have to ensure that your dog’s health is stable before you attempt to go on the water. If you have an aged dog, it’s even more important to take more care.
After all these have been considered, and you have determined that your dog is ready to go kayaking, you must prepare for it. These are a few ways you can get properly prepared:
Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
Some people make the mistake of assuming that dogs do not need a PFD, or life vest. This is a misconception as although some dogs can swim, it does not hurt to apply extra caution. Reasons why your dog should wear one include:
- It reduces the possibility of your dog drowning.
- If your dog falls, or jumps out, of the kayak, the PFD can keep it afloat till you can get to it.
- PFDs for dogs are fitted with a handle on the top. This is an ingenious design because it becomes easier for dog owners to pick their dogs and place them on the kayak. If, however, you have a big dog, the handle can be used to guide the dog in the right direction. That way, you know your dog is safe.
A Dog Collar, A Harness and A Leash
Although personal floatation devices for dogs have handles, there is no such thing as being too cautious. It is advisable, and even more advantageous, to use a harness – just in case your dog falls overboard. In situations like that, you can simply use the harness to pull your dog onto the kayak. But when doing so, ensure you are gentle with it. You can simply use it as a way to guide your dog to the kayak.
The leash should not be worn on the boat. As much as it might seem like a good idea to leash your dog to the kayak, it is not advisable to do so. In the case of sudden disaster, you might be unable to unleash your dog.
This is very essential. Although dogs are covered by fur, they are likely to get sunburnt. Their nose and bellies are exposed to the elements which, in this case, is the sun. It does not help that the rays of the sun are reflected off the water, and they could easily get burnt. That is why it is important that you pack sunblock that is suitable for your dog.
Water and Food
Remember that your dog needs to eat and drink water, especially when the weather is warm. You do not want your dog getting dehydrated. Of course, you need to pack their food and water bowls as well.
Milestones: From Dock to Flat Water
Before you even think of taking your kayak out to water, with your dog, you have to get your dog used to being on the kayak. The only way to do this is by getting the dog used to sitting and staying on the kayak. Your dog needs to learn that it is not expected to leave the kayak while it’s on water.
From there, you can move on to flat water, i.e. a lake or bay where the water is calm. Once your dog gets accustomed to this, you can move on to the real thing.
The Right Kayak
It is not enough to prepare all of the above and leave out the most essential aspect of kayaking: the kayak. The size and specifics of the kayak matters, especially when you take into consideration the size of your dog, as well as the essentials you’re carrying on board (this includes your essentials).
Before you go kayaking, you need to decide if you are going to use a one-man kayak, or a tandem kayak. If you own a smaller dog, it is more reasonable that you use a one-man kayak. However, bigger dogs will most likely be more comfortable in a tandem kayak because they would have more space to lay down. It is therefore necessary to familiarize your dog with the kayak before you go out on the water. This will not only ensure that the kayak is the right it for both of you, it will also show your dog that the kayak is nothing to be afraid of.