Written by @zizou.adventure.ears' mom
First of all not all dog are water lovers, it’s awesome if your dog is very excited to jump aboard and head out with you no problem. But for those of you who have a dog like mine you might need to start slow before loading up for a long day on the water.
It’s important your dog has been around water first before paddling them out into the middle of a lake. Once you know your dog can swim and is okay around water you are ready to start planning your kayak trip! We use a life vest for our dog just in case, the same goes for us. We like to make sure everyone on board is safe. Plus in many states it is required by law for all humans to have a safety floatation device.
We have an inflatable kayak so we have a little work to do before even getting on the water. With inflatable kayaks it’s important to make sure your pups nails are cut beforehand so you don’t spring a leak. Although the kayaks are sturdy, we always follow the term “better safe than sorry”.
When we first introduced our dog to the kayak we were not even near water. We inflated it in our house and had him jump in and out with treats. This was so he was comfortable getting on and off by himself.
The next step was life vest training. I wanted him to enjoy his gear rather than make it a forced activity. We use the Ruffwear Floatcoat for our dog. We started him having him put his head through the hole with some treat encouragement. Once he was comfortable we had him wear it around the house until we were positive it was adjusted correctly. He also was taught to swim with and without one before we even got on the kayak.
Next thing, are you packed? A day on the on the water can be quite draining. Make sure you have plenty of food and water for everyone on board. As well as sunscreen and other forms of sun protection. We always bring plenty of snacks for our dog such as jerky, peanut butter bites and milk chews.
We always pack our Rexspecs goggles for every trip on the water. Water reflection can be just as harsh on dog eyes as it is for humans, especially when you are on the water for several hours. Another thing to bring is a towel to lay down in the kayak to help your pup balance and move around with out slipping.
A snood or a bandana is nice to have to dip in the water and put on your pup to help them keep cool while you are paddling. And always remember those poop bags, you never know when you’ll need them.
Be aware of the temperatures outside not only for your own safety but for the safely of your four legged friend.
You are all ready to head out on the water! Enjoy and be safe!