Paddleboarding with a dog is the perfect way to keep cool during the hot summer days. With a little bit of training and practice, you and your dog can be bonding in the middle of the lake in no time. Whether you have experience paddleboarding or are just a beginner, paddleboarding can create wonderful bonding moments for you and your dog. Your dog might even be the one begging to go back to the lake.
You can easily paddleboard with a dog and have a great time on the water. Make sure you pick a paddle board that has enough flotation for both your weight and your dog’s, both wear personal floatation devices, and bring treats and water for the journey as it can get quite hot with no shade.
The Benefits of Paddle Boarding with your dog
There are several benefits to paddleboarding with your dog that go well beyond just getting outside.
This is an exercise for both you and your dog. Keep your dog active by letting them hop on and off to take a quick swim, or a longer swim. The intensity of the workout for you and the dog can be at your own paces.
Paddleboarding teaches you and your dog balance. Your core strength will improve over time and you will have better balance as a benefit.
Learning to paddleboard with your dog also has great mental benefits for you and your pup. Studies have shown that just being out in nature can reduce anxiety and increase confidence.
You get to enjoy the peaceful and tranquil nature of being out on the water with your pup.
The choice to paddleboard with your dog is a good one. A paddleboard allows for freedom and flexibility for your dog to go for a swim if he gets hot or sees something he wants to check out.
These are all great benefits for both you and your pup, but the real question is… how do you actually go about doing this?
What you need to paddleboard with a dog?
There are really only a few things you need to get started.
Choose a paddleboard with a good deck pad that has a grippy texture to prevent slipping. This is covered in more detail in the next section. This inflatable paddleboard is a good option if you want something easy to travel with.
Personal Floatation Devices
You’ll also need floatation devices for both you and your dog. As far as for you, here is one of our favorite models of life jackets. For your pup, check this model out. Make sure you purchase one with a handle just in case you have to pull your pup out of the water.
Snacks, Treats, and Water
You’ll want to be prepared for your outing by making sure you have treats your dog is used to. This will help keep him on the board and reinforce the training that you will do at home.
Be Confident on Your Paddleboard
If you are new to paddleboarding, it might be a good idea for you to try it out without your dog first to make sure you know how to navigate the board through the water. Once you feel confident on the board, it’s time to get your dog ready to paddleboard.
Training For Your Dog
Before going paddleboarding with your dog, you will want to make sure your dog is well trained. This means he can follow basic commands and stays with you. If you feel your dog is ready, then you can ease into getting him onto the paddleboard and then onto the lake.
Choosing a Paddleboard for Paddleboarding with a dog
There are a few different factors to consider when choosing a good paddleboard for riding with dogs.
Account for both weight of you and your dog. Choosing a board that doesn’t float up high enough for you and your dog will increase the resistance on the board against the water and slow you down. This will also decrease your balance as there is not as much buoyancy.
The wider the board, the more stable it will be to keep you out of the water. However, wider boards are more difficult to turn in the water and will in turn go slower. 32” will be very stable, but narrowing the board to 30-31” will help with turning.
An 11’ paddleboard should be sufficient, but you can go even longer if you’d like and need more weight capacity.
Any type of board (foam, inflatable, or hard) will work fine when it comes to paddleboarding with a dog, it just depends on your preference. Inflatable boards will not puncture easily. They are very durable and will not be damaged by your dog’s claws.
Of course, there will be wear and tear on any paddleboard, but that’s to be expected, dog or not. Here is a recent article of a breakdown of foam paddle boards.
Dogs claws may easily puncture a foam paddleboard and dig into it causing damage. Make sure the foam pad is covering enough of the board where your pup will be sitting to protect it from this.
How to get your dog used to riding a paddleboard
Getting your dog familiar to the board and trained prior to getting in the water is the best way to see success.
Start at home
Set your dog on the paddleboard in a comfortable location in your house. This could be the living room, his favorite napping spot, or a nice place in the yard. Make sure your fins are removed or supported if they are unremovable so you don’t break them off.
Get him hanging out on it with a treat or two. Keep the experience on the board fun and exciting.
Come up with a couple command words to let your dog know when he can get off and when to get back on. Use the treats to train your dog to stay or get off the board. You may want to consider a command to have your dog stand or sit on the board.
How to get onto the water on a Paddle Board with your dog
Once your dog is comfortable on the board at home, it’s time to test it out on the water. If your dog is comfortable around water and can swim well, this likely won’t be much of an issue. Either way, take it slow and pay attention to your dog’s comfort as you get him onto the paddle board.
Start on the Shore
Hang out on the shore for a little bit on the paddle board. Next, push the board gently into the water so it is just barely in the water. Let your dog hang out and pay attention to his behavior to make sure you aren’t taking things too quick.
Pushing the edge of the board in the water will make it a bit wobbly so your pup will have to learn how to balance on it. Have them practice getting on and off.
Practice Before Takeoff
Next, float the board out in the water while holding it and let your dog walk around on the board and get used to its balance so they can know what to expect if they lean too far one direction.
Launch When Your Dog is Ready
Once your dog seems ready, go ahead and launch into the water and give it a try. Make your first ride short and easy for your dog. Follow your dog’s cues. As time goes on, you will be able to explore all sorts of lakes and areas with your paddleboard and dog.
Remember if your dog leans to the left you may have to shift some weight to the right depending on how wobbly the paddleboard is and how much your dog weighs.
Taking care of your dog while Paddleboarding
If you are ready to make paddleboarding a regular summer activity, you may be wondering how you care for your dog while out on the water.
Water & Treats
Don’t forget water for yourself and your dog. If you are in a freshwater lake your dog can drink the lake water. Pack treats and some food for your dog.
After that the only other think you may want to consider is sunscreen for both you and your pet. Dogs with light fur or pink noses may be at risk of sunburning. While the risk may be low, if you are concerned, there is dog sunscreen you can purchase at pet stores or online that is designed for canine use.
Do not use human sunscreen on your dog as the ingredients make it dangerous for pets.
Can dogs puncture inflatable paddle boards?
Dogs will not puncture inflatable paddle boards as they are a very tough material. Keep your dogs claws kept up and filed down to prevent any accidental punctures. Also make sure they don’t chew or bite the board.
How do I get my dog to use a paddle board?
To get your dog to use a paddleboard, practice at home before going on the water. Keep the experience fun for your dog.
How do I keep my dog on the paddleboard?
Use treats to keep your dog on the board and let them run around the board and have fun to get used to how it will handle.
Do dogs get sunburned?
Dogs with light fur or pink noses may be at risk for getting sunburned. Ask your vet about dog sunscreen and if it will be a good option for you.
Paddleboarding is a fun way to get out on the lake with your dog. There may be a lot to consider, but it is totally doable and worth pursuing if you have the desire. Just think of all the beautiful lakes that are out there ready to be explored!