Does this sound crazy or fun? Maybe it’s both! If you’re ready to have some outdoor adventures with your furry best friend, check out these tips for paddle boarding with your dog.
Can You Take Dogs Paddle Boarding?
Believe it or not—the answer is YES! There is a growing trend of people taking their dogs on canoes, kayaks, and even paddle boards. If you love to SUP (Stand Up Paddle board), and you love your pup, you can actually take your dog with you.
It may take a little training at first, so that your dog is comfortable. But before you know it, you’ll both be enjoying the open waters together.
Dog Water Safety Tips
First things first… Make sure you’re taking the proper safety precautions, so you and your furbaby can both feel comfortable. You’ll know that you’re prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best!
✓ Make your dog wear a dog life jacket!
If there’s an accident and the boat flips over, this life jacket will save your dog’s life.
✓ Bring plenty of water for you and your pup.
And don’t forget a water bowl or a dog water bottle. Dehydration is dangerous, and can lead to a heat stroke.
✓ Dogs can get a sunburn too.
You can use a pet-friendly sunscreen on dogs who spend a lot of time outside. They are susceptible to skin cancer too, especially on their ears and noses.
✓ NEVER tie your dog to the paddle board.
Even though it may seem like a good way to keep your dog from jumping off, it could accidentally lead to drowning or strangulation if the board flips. If you’re afraid of your dog running off before or after paddle boarding, try out the Fi Smart Dog Collar to keep track of your pup’s location.
✓ If your dog is older or has health problems, this may not be a good activity for them.
Vision and hearing problems will make it hard for them to listen to important commands. And arthritis can make it difficult for them to get in and out of the boat, and to balance in it.
✓ Help your dog with balance and traction by trimming their toenails ahead of time.
This will also help your paddle board to not get scratched.
✓ Paddle board with others.
Just in case something goes wrong—it’s better if you’re not alone.
How Do I Make My Dog Comfortable on a Paddle Board?
If you’re ready to take your pup out for some fun on the water, there are a few steps you should consider taking first. Your experience will be much more enjoyable if you help them adjust to the water, the board, and the act of paddle boarding ahead of time.
1. Practice swimming and using a dog life jacket
Before you take your pup out to SUP, it’s a good idea to get them used to being in the water, and check out their swimming skills. Some dogs are more natural swimmers than others. Either way, it’s always safest to use a dog life jacket—no matter your dog’s swimming skill level. And let them wear it several times at home to get used to the life jacket first.
2. Bring your paddle board inside the house
Once you purchase your paddle board, bring it inside the house. Place it somewhere safe and comfortable for your dog. Let them sniff it and get used to it.
3. Train your dog to step on and off the board
While the paddle board is in your house, intentionally spend some time teaching your dog to step on and off of it. Try using command words, and rewarding them with treats. Learning this command will help you and them once you’re outdoors.
4. Practice standing on the board with your dog
Next, take the paddle board and your dog outside. Place the board on the ground. Then have your dog stand on it with you. Practice some “air paddling” so your pooch can get used to the act of paddle boarding, and the paddle swinging near them.
5. Practice in shallow water near land
It’s water time! Take your dog and board to familiar waters where you can start out near the edge of the land, and in shallow water. Have fun!
What are the Best Paddle Boards for Dogs?
A lot of pet parents actually choose inflatable paddle boards to take their pups out on because they are easier to stand on. Sometimes the traditional plastic ones are difficult for dogs to stand and balance on because there’s not enough traction.
Always make sure to check out the specs of a paddle board before purchasing.
- You’ll want to make sure the weight capacity can hold both you and your canine.
- Boards that are longer will give you plenty of room for your pup to join.
- Boards that are thicker and wider will help give you more stability, and give your dog more comfort.
- Some paddle boards are made specifically for dogs to ride on. So the PVC material is thicker, and there are extra traction grips up front for your dog.
Will My Dog Pop My Inflatable Paddle Board?
Thankfully, no. It’s very unlikely that your dog will pop an inflatable paddle board because they are built to be thick and tough. Especially with a PVC board on top. But just to be safe, check out boards that are specifically made for dogs to ride on.
Ready to SUP?
Remember… If you want to SUP with your pup, it’s going to take a little time for them to learn and adjust. They could really love it, if you stay calm and patient. And let them go at their pace. If things start to go sideways, and your dog is freaking out—just let them be done, give them praise and treats, and try again another time. You always want to leave them with a positive association to paddle boarding.
For more articles about helpful pet parenting tips, breed mixes, and fun dog-friendly activities, check out the Blog at TryFi.com.