Towing your dog in a raft behind your kayak or small boat is a great way to enjoy a bonding moment with your pet. This fun outdoor adventure is a favorite of many dog parents who enjoy bringing their dogs along to a river or lake. Many dogs also love to swim and partake in activities with their owner. Sometimes a kayak is too small to fit both you and your dog so you need a dog tow which is typically a raft, float tube, or small boat that can easily connect to your kayak. We’ve found several options on our list that are durable enough to not break from a dog’s claws, big enough to fit a dog, and easy to connect to a kayak.
As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog safe during any activity but especially kayaking. In this case, you need to find the best kayak dog tow. The following list contains high quality, durable, and trustworthy tow behinds for dogs.
In a rush? Here are the top picks!
This dog raft for kayaks is an excellent way to tow your dog behind in a safe way. It has two air chambers to ensure complete safety that this dog tow will never sink. In addition, it’s easy to maneuver and control with heavy-duty grab handles.
The connectors are located in key places that quick and easy use. You’ll be able to connect your kayak at multiple points to this dog tow if you want. The specially designed shape of the raft features a mesh bottom also that keeps your dog cool and comfortable.
This kayak tow behind for dogs comes with a built-in backrest, mesh bottom, two grab handles, a repair patch, and connectors that are easy to use. It won’t pop from your dog’s sharp claws and is large enough to fit small or medium-sized dogs easily.
This stylish and colorful river tube is perfect for towing your dog behind your kayak. It’s specially designed with a mesh bottom that allows water to reach your dog’s feet and keep them cool.
Your dog will remain comfortable when sitting in the seat and enjoying the ride. This raft measures 53” inches in diameter when fully inflated so it will easily fit all small and medium-sized dogs.
The rope grab is located around the edge of the entire raft which makes it easy to reach and control the raft when needed. This river tube has several points where you can connect your kayak.
This colorful raft is an excellent option for towing your dog in calm waters such as a lake. It features two air chambers that are easy to inflate and deflate. Having multiple chambers ensures that your dog will never sink while they are sitting on the float.
It features two convenient handles that are easy to grab hold on to during an emergency. This raft has plenty of space for large dogs. It measures 58” x 14” x 33” inches and has a weight capacity of 120 pounds. In addition, the front of this inflatable boat has a place where you can easily connect your kayak. For the price, you can’t really beat this kayak dog tow.
This colorful raft makes sure your dog is seen by nearby boaters. It measures 53” inches round and features a comfortable backrest for support if your dog wants to rest their head.
The strong and durable vinyl is pretested to ensure it can withstand long term use. The seating area has a mesh bottom that allows water to reach your dog and keep them cool without overwhelming them with water.
The grab rope is kept in place with grommets that are built into the raft. There are several ways that you can connect your kayak to this tube including the rope or handles.
This raft is suitable for one medium or large dog or two small breed dogs that can share the seated area. It floats easily in water so you won’t have to paddle too hard!
This inflatable boat provides a lot of space for your dogs and children to ride at the same time. In addition, it was specifically built as a tow-behind for kayaks or boats. This raft has an open design and a large backrest that features cushioned stabilizer walls.
Its tow points are located at the front and back of the raft. Thus, you can tow the float forwards or backward. This sturdy raft is made from high-quality nylon that is covered with a PU coating that resists dirt, fading, and damage. It won’t break from any dog claws or chewing.
This large raft features ten grab handles for easy maneuverability and control. This open designed raft is for dogs that are well-trained to stay on the float. It can fit several dogs on board!
This damage and puncture-resistant float is made with fade-resistant fabric that contains foam floats. This unique float holds dogs weighing up to 110 pounds and was specifically designed for dogs.
There is plenty of space for more than one dog to lounge and relax. You can choose to keep the top surface of the raft completely dry or allow a small amount of water to pool inside to help your dog cool off.
This damage resistant raft is available in a variety of colors. There’s a loop in the top left corner of the mat where you can connect your kayak.
Strong and long-lasting, this raft features a built-in backrest and mesh bottom that provides comfort and safety for your dog. When the raft is fully inflated it measures 53” inches.
It inflates and deflates quickly and is easy to carry with you to the beach, river, or lake. The handles are built-in and placed on the top surface for easy access.
The grab rope ensures you keep control of the raft and have the opportunity to have easy access in case of an emergency. This raft holds one medium or large dog safely or two small dogs.
This large tow behind kayak for dogs is easy to inflate and deflate as well as carry with you to the lake or river. The durable material is puncture resistant and heavy-duty PVC.
The boat contains three air chambers and comes with two aluminum oars that are 48” inches each. This colorful boat is easy to see in the water and measures 9’8” x 4’6” x 1’ 5”. It holds up to 790 pounds.
The handles and grab ropes make it easy to hold onto and control the raft. This raft floats really well in the water so it makes for a great tow.
How to Choose a Kayak Dog Tow
When choosing a kayak dog tow, there are several features that you need to consider so you make the right decision. We’ve listed all the major factors to help you make a great choice.
When choosing a kayak tow for your dog you need to consider your dog’s size first. Most rafts measure 53″ inches round and comfortably fit small, medium, and large dog breeds. However, if you have an extra-large dog breed you need to consider a larger raft with more space.
Does your Dog Like Water?
Another topic to think about when choosing a raft to tow behind your kayak is your dog’s preference for water. Some dogs love water and will splash and jump around having fun while others don’t like to get their paws wet.
If your dog enjoys water, choose one of the raft options from the list that has mesh seating. This durable seating material allows water to cool your dog off without sinking the raft.
Grab Ropes and Handles
Other special features to consider when choosing a raft to tow behind your kayak is grab ropes and handles. These special features allow you to quickly and easily grab hold of the raft when needed. They are especially helpful in an emergency situation.
All of the dog tows mentioned on the list are made with high-quality durable materials that resist punctures from your dog’s nails and teeth. Some of the rafts come with a complimentary hatch that is easy to carry along on your outdoor adventures. Accidents do happen so it’s wise to keep this helpful patch nearby when kayaking with your dog.
What should I use to tow my dog with a kayak?
Towing your dog behind your kayak is easier than you think. First, you need to choose a durable and high-quality raft such as the ones mentioned on the list above. This raft needs to provide your dog with safety as well as comfort. Always choose a raft that is made with strong materials that resist damage.
There are options that you can use to tow your dog. River floats are best for one dog. If you have multiple dogs then you should consider buying a raft.
How do you connect a dog tow to a kayak?
When connecting a dog tow to a kayak you need to use a strong rope that ties at the back of the kayak to a built-in surface on the raft such as a handle. You need to use strong knots to ensure your dog’s raft doesn’t break loose and become separated from you while in the water.
Alternatively, many people tie a rope to a connector clip or heavy-duty carabiner. This allows you to quickly connect or disconnect your kayak to the dog tow.
How to Train Your Dog to Ride in a Dog Tow
Since your dog is going to be riding in their own raft being towed behind your kayak, it’s essential that you train them properly to remain in their own raft. The training process varies depending on your dog’s adaptability to the watercraft.
Begin training your dog by introducing them to a fully inflated raft while at home in the yard. Place the raft in the grass or soft flat surface fully inflated and let your dog sniff around so they can become familiar.
Encourage your dog to explore the raft further by sitting in it yourself. Your dog will feel encouraged to join you in the raft. You can also encourage your dog by using small treats and tossing them into the seating area of the raft. Most dogs willingly jump in to eat their treats and do so while sitting comfortably in the mesh seated area.
If your dog doesn’t go after the treats you can use another technique that involves their favorite toys. Please your dog’s favorite toys in the seated area of the raft. Once your dog sees their toys are safe in the raft they will feel more comfortable getting closer to retrieve their toys.
You can also sit on the floor next to the raft and hold your dog in your arms and speak to them softly as you introduce them to the raft. Speak very softly and gently while you explain this is a new toy for them to play with and they get to sit inside. While speaking to your dog, use hand gestures to encourage them to sit inside the raft. Most dogs feel safe next to their owners while others may see them as an enemy and try to protect their owners.
If this scenario happens to you, try to move the raft into your pool and let it float. Then place a life vest on your dog and bring your dog into the pool to swim near or around the raft. This process will help your dog understand the job the raft is supposed to do and they are safe being near the flotation device.
Once your dog feels comfortable swimming near and around the raft, sit in it yourself. Splash the water around and look like you are having a good time to show your dog it’s a fun toy to play within the water.
Next, remove yourself from the raft and place your dog in the seated area. Most rafts have mesh bottoms that allow your dog to feel cool water that is refreshing and calming. Once you place your dog in the seat stay nearby and give your dog a treat to reward them for their good behavior.
At this point, most dogs understand that sitting in the raft is good behavior and they will continue to repeat it to receive more treats.
It may take a few sessions for your dog to play in the pool with the raft before they become comfortable and familiar with it floating.
The last step is to go on a test kayaking ride with your dog in tow to see your pet’s reaction. If your dog’s reaction is accepting and calm continues the kayak ride and plan more for the future. However, if your dog feels nervous or jumps out of the raft in tow, stop immediately and bring your dog to shore safely.
Sometimes it helps to bring your dog in the kayak with you first so they get used to the feeling of being in a watercraft before placing them alone in their own raft.
If your dog does not adhere to the training or continues to be nervous and filled with anxiety during kayaking rides and trips, contact a professional dog trainer to assist further. Professional dog trainers have unique techniques that are specific to your dog’s behavior which will improve their reaction to riding in a raft and being towed by a kayak.
What items does a dog need for a kayak ride?
There are a variety of basic items your dog needs when going on a kayak ride and being towed. Water is an essential need that keeps your dog hydrated and prevents heat exhaustion. Carry bottled water and a small bowl so your dog has easy access whenever they need to drink.
Depending on how long the kayak ride will be, it’s wise to carry a zip lock bag filled with your dog’s favorite kibble food. If it’s your dog’s regularly scheduled time to eat, stop the ride and feed your dog so they do not become anxious and hungry.
An excellent way to encourage your dog to maintain their position in the water raft is to reward them with treats. Carry a bag of treats with you so you can reward your dog throughout the journey.
Whenever a dog is near or around a large water source such as a pool, ocean, river, or lake, they need to wear a life vest. The pet industry has a wide range of specially designed pet life vests that fit all sizes and breeds. The key is finding the right one for your dog.
When choosing a life vest make sure it is adjustable and fits snug to your dog without putting too much pressure. The goal is to prevent your dog from slipping out of the life vest while in the water. Life vests can also be fun to wear when you choose a vibrant color or design for your dog that shows off their unique personality.
There are times when accidents happen and your dog can become injured while kayaking. Common injuries include damage to their paws, nails, or skin. Always carry a first aid kit with pet-friendly products that clean wounds and protect your dog from infection.
If there are any wounds that cause excessive bleeding or damage to your dog, go to shore immediately and rush your dog to a local animal hospital for treatment.
Water toys for dogs are encouraged on kayak trips. Some dogs like to have their toys nearby and riding along in the seat of the raft with them while others enjoy playing onshore. There are a variety of water toys you can choose for your pet to keep them occupied and entertained.
Other essential items your dog will need during and after a kayak ride include a towel, dog shoes, and a leash. Many rivers are surrounded by rough terrain that has sharp rocks and sticks that could puncture your dog’s paws. Investing in a high-quality pair of doggy shoes will protect your dog from getting injured.
A soft towel is needed if your dog loves to swim in the water. Many rivers have clean water but some don’t and it’s important that you clean your dog off as soon as they get out of the water. Also, you need to bathe your dog as soon as you get home to prevent any bacteria they may have picked up from the lake or river from sticking to their coat and spreading throughout your home.
Typically it’s best to allow your dog’s coat to air-dry but if your dog feels better in a t-shirt or some type of clothing you can put that on them for the drive home.
A waterproof leash is needed before and after the kayak trip. Avoid using a leash on the kayak or raft because if your dog jumps off or maneuvers in the raft they can become tangled with the grab rope or built-in handles which can be a choking hazard.
Conclusion for Best Kayak Dog Tow
Many times a kayak is too small to fit both you and your dog so you need additional options like a dog tow. There are several options for dog tows including river tube float, mats, and rafts. Each particular option depends on the number of dogs you have and the size of your dog. You can start having fun kayaking adventures with your dog when you choose any of the high-quality long-lasting dog tow rafts mentioned on the list above.
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Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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