Paddling on your kayak is a great way for you and your dog to escape the heat and get some great exercise! When taking your best friend out for the first time, keep these considerations in mind.
Selecting a day with 20 mph winds and high boat traffic might not go well with dogs who already have an aversion to water, especially for the first time. Pick a calm day so your dog can acclimate to staying in a kayak with you. This way, he can feel more comfortable the next time you go.
While some dogs are natural swimmers, some are not! Having your dog wear a PFD will ensure that if he becomes distracted and jumps out of the kayak, he will float easily while you maneuver over to pick him up. The carrying handle located on most models also allows you to pick up smaller dogs out of the water.
Hot days out on the water will make you both thirsty! When you are out on the water, make sure to bring a collapsible water bowl for your dog. Never use fresh water from your paddling location if you are in freshwater. Give him some fresh drinking water and place it in a bowl on the kayak.
Never tie your dog down to your kayak, even if you have a long leash. If your kayak capsizes unexpectedly, your friend should be able to swim free from it. Again, having a dog PFD in this situation would be helpful!
As you are paddling, you may both encounter various species of birds, ducks and other small animals making calls from shore. For some dogs, it can be hard to resist jumping off your kayak and making a beeline for these creatures! If you have not yet taught your dog the "Leave it!" command to avoid such animals, then be wary when you approach certain wild species.