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Can Dogs Go On Inflatable Paddle Boards?

In almost any case, dogs can go on inflatable paddle boards. After all, who wouldn’t love to take their special pup with them on their water adventures; they are called man’s best friends for a reason. But let’s clarify that a bit first, and ask a few more questions before you get under way with your favorite first mate:

  • What special equipment do you need to take your dog on an iSUP?
  • What should you do to prepare yourself and the dog?
  • What water conditions should you consider?
  • Should you “leash” your dog to the stand up paddle board?

All of these questions should be answered before you decide to take your pooch with you on the water for your first paddle together. Let’s get started.

What special equipment do you need to take your dog on an iSUP?

For the most part, all paddling excursions require their own specific equipment to get the job done successfully and safely. Paddling with your pet is no different.

Let’s first discuss the inflatable stand up paddle board itself, and whether it can support the weight of you and your puppy safely and without causing too much unease when paddling. It is very important to start the process with an iSUP that can successfully handle all the required weight. The size of the board is another important factor. You will typically want a wider iSUP with a full length traction pad to keep the dog from accidentally sliding into the water.

Additionally, we would highly recommend getting a dog-specific life jacket. Yes, most dogs can inherently swim, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t get tired in an emergency. Additionally, most dog life jackets have easy-grab handles for you to pull them back on board should they go for an accidental swim.

What should you do to prepare yourself and the dog for paddleboarding?

Preparation is everything. Make sure your dog is comfortable not only with the water in general but the paddle board itself. Most experts suggest that slowly introducing them to both elements (separately at first) will be the best way to make your pet feel comfortable when you finally do take your first paddling trip. Use lots of rewards and positive reinforcement.

Next you will need to work on your paddling skills. For most people, paddling with the extra weight isn’t the problem — it’s paddling with weight that has a mind of its own and moves around at will. We suggest first starting with items that are of similar weight as your dog to acclimate yourself to the added mass. Then we suggest trying to use some sort of ball and practice overall balance with the weight and the ball rolling free. Try to keep the ball centered on the board without rolling off. The goal is to be able to control your weight distribution in response to a moving object on your board.

What conditions should you consider?

Obviously your first day out with your pet shouldn’t be in the next hurricane. But beyond the obvious, what else should you be on the lookout for?

River or ocean currents are very important to note before bringing a puppy on the board with you. If they fall in they may be quickly swept away if you’re not in complete control of the board at that time.

Check the ambient air temperature and make sure it’s not too hot or too cold for your dog. Especially if they spend time in the water, cold air can be just as bad for dogs as overheating.

Should you “leash” your dog to the iSUP?

There are two sides to the debate over leashing your pet to the board. First, as we mentioned above, swift water currents can separate you and your dog very quickly. Having them leashed to the board would, ideally, prevent this from happening. It would also be a way to keep your dog from constantly trying to jump ship and make for the shoreline as they may very well be inclined to do on occasion.

The flip side to this is that that leash becomes both a tripping hazard for you, and tangle or strangulation hazard for you and the dog. For instance, if the dog were to suddenly fall off the board, the attached leash would pull tight and potentially catch your feet. At the very least, it would cause a sudden shift in momentum that may throw you from the board. Additionally, the length of the leash could also easily become entangled with your own leash, or even extremities. That tangling could cause a major drowning hazard.

In our opinion, it’s important to assess the conditions every time you go out. Especially when you will be taking a dog with you. Make sure you are comfortable with the conditions and make the best choice on which route to take.

In conclusion, taking your dog out paddleboarding is certainly doable! With a little forethought and practice, you may even be like some of my friends who take multiple dogs with them paddling. Thank you for reading along and if you have any questions about the content or suggestions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can’t wait to see you and your puppy somewhere on the water! Happy Paddling!

(Cats are welcome too! Just watch out for the claws!)

Thank you for reading this. If you have any questions about this post, please feel free to leave a comment below. We love to answer questions and talk stand up paddle boards. We look forward to meeting you out on the water! Until then, happy paddling!

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Heyo! At we are a team who love the water, the outdoors, and are more than grateful that our full-time job allows us to review stand up paddle boards. We paddle year round (it helps that we are just about 2 hours outside of Las Vegas), and we bring in a wide range of paddlers with the goal of providing our readers with the best, most in-depth, and accurate stand up paddle board reviews.

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