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June 10, 2024

Best Paddle Boards for Dogs

Written By Zack Newsome
Updated June 10, 2024
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Essential Gear for Paddleboarding with Dogs

When paddleboarding with your dog, the right gear makes all the difference. Let’s break down the necessary equipment.

Paddle Boards

Sea Gods Skylla
This lightweight board provides stability without feeling cumbersome on the water. Its tapered shape and single fin setup allow for a bit more speed while paddling, perfect for those looking for adventure. It features a lifetime warranty, ensuring long-term use. Keep in mind, it’s on the higher budget side, but it’s worth every penny for the quality and experience it brings to the table.

Blackfin Model XL
The Blackfin Model XL stands out as a high-volume board with a 35″ width, offering substantial stability. There’s ample room on the deck pad, making it comfortable for dogs to settle. Its versatility, with numerous attachment features, suits various activities. Built sturdily, it maintains fast speeds for an extensive platform iSUP. Watch out for those front bungees if your dog tends to get tangled.

iROCKER Cruiser Ultra 2.0
Compact and portable, this board provides stability ideal for beginners and their dogs. With a full removable front and rear cargo area, your dog gets an open space to relax. The lightweight nature ensures easy handling, and it comes with a full kit, including a 5-piece compact paddle and electric pump. The deck pad could use an extension, but such compactness can complicate additional padding.

Life Jackets

A life jacket is a must-have for any water adventure with your dog. The Float Coat™ Life Jacket by Ruffwear suits this purpose perfectly. It’s ergonomic and supportive, with a handle to help lift your dog back onto the paddle board. Reflective trim improves visibility, and its snug fit ensures your dog’s comfort and safety.

Essential Accessories

  • Dry Bag
    A dry bag is necessary for carrying essential supplies like water, snacks, sunscreen, and toys. The Nixy dry bags are a solid choice, known for their durability and space.
  • Dog Sunscreen
    It’s crucial to protect your dog’s skin from UV rays. Epi-Pet K-9 Care Sunscreen and My Dog Nose It Moisturizing Balm for noses are excellent picks. Ensure they are free of zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid to avoid harmful ingestion.

Top Dog-Friendly Paddleboards

When it comes to paddleboarding with your canine companion, having a dog-friendly paddleboard is paramount. Let’s explore some of the top paddleboards designed specifically for you and your dog’s comfort, stability, and safety on the water.

  1. Gili Komodo 10’6
    The Gili Komodo is celebrated for its remarkably cushioned deck pad, providing ultimate comfort for your dog. Its high weight capacity comfortably supports both the paddler and their furry friend. Weighing just 21 lbs, this board strikes an excellent balance between stability and portability. While we wish the action mounts were part of the D-rings to free up deck space, it’s a minor trade-off for an otherwise outstanding board.
  2. Glide Retro 10’6
    Featuring a full-length deck pad, the Glide Retro 10’6 allows your dog to comfortably move around. The board’s optional kayak conversion kit offers versatility, enabling you to paddle in both standing and seated positions. The sturdy construction ensures durability, though the soft deck pad might get scratched by dogs with longer nails.
  3. Atoll 11′
    The Atoll 11′ is a lightweight, minimalist SUP, perfect for travel and hiking to remote paddle spots. Its laminate construction balances durability with weight, making it easy to carry. Despite being speed-capable, it doesn’t sacrifice stability, making it suitable for most paddlers and their dogs. The design is sleek and uncluttered, though we would appreciate a full removable fin setup for added versatility.
  4. Niphean Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
    For the budget-conscious paddleboarders, the Niphean board shines with its broad deck, sturdy construction, and countless D-rings for attaching accessories. It promises stability and comfort with its spacious deck pad. Some minor issues were noted with the pressure gauge and fin durability, but these are easily manageable considering its cost-effectiveness and the value it provides.

These boards cater to different budgets and preferences, offering a range of options from highly affordable to premium quality. Regardless of your choice, investing in a dog-friendly paddleboard ensures a delightful and safe water adventure with your furry friend. Always remember to choose a board that matches your paddling style and your dog’s size and temperament for the best experience.

Training Tips for Paddleboarding with Dogs

Introducing your dog to paddleboarding requires patience, dedication, and a gradual approach to ensure both you and your furry friend have a positive and enjoyable experience. The following practical tips and strategies will help make the transition smooth and effective for your canine companion.

Begin with essential commands that your dog will need to understand while on the board. Commands such as “Sit,” “Stay,” “Come,” and “Heel” are crucial for keeping your dog calm and controlled on the water. Additionally, introduce specific commands like “Board” for getting on the paddleboard, “Off” for disembarking, and “Between” to position themselves between your legs or in a calm spot.

Start the training process on dry land. Place the board on the ground in an area familiar to your dog, such as your backyard or living room. Encourage your dog to explore the board by sniffing and stepping onto it. Use treats and positive reinforcement to reward them each time they interact with the board. This helps build a positive association with the paddleboard.

Once your dog is comfortable stepping onto the board, practice the essential commands. Ask them to “Sit” or “Stay” on the board while rewarding them frequently. Gradually increase the duration they need to stay on the board before giving a treat. This reinforces the idea that staying on the board is a good thing.

Next, introduce the paddle motion. Sit on the board and mimic the paddling motion without moving the board. This helps your dog get used to the movements and sounds they will experience on the water. Reward them consistently for staying calm and composed during this practice.

When your dog is comfortable with the commands and paddle motion on dry land, it’s time to introduce water. Begin in shallow water where your dog can easily hop on and off the board. Encourage them to get on the board while it’s stationary in the water. Use a firm “Board” command, and reward them each time they comply.

Practice short paddling sessions initially. Paddle a few yards away from the shore and return promptly. The goal is to help your dog understand that the board will always return to a familiar and safe place. Gradually increase the distance as your dog becomes more comfortable.

Be patient and observe your dog’s behavior. If they seem anxious or hesitant, give them time to acclimate. Consistent praise and rewards will help build their confidence. Remember, the key is to make each session enjoyable and stress-free.

Incorporate play breaks to keep the experience fun for your dog. Throw a floating toy into the water and let them swim back to the board. This reinforces the idea that paddleboarding is an adventure you both can enjoy. Always assist them back onto the board using the handle on their life jacket to prevent them from clawing at the board’s edges.

As you progress, continue to reinforce commands and gradually extend the paddling time. Always be mindful of your dog’s comfort and readiness. If they show signs of fatigue or stress, end the session on a positive note and try again later.

By following these training tips and practicing patience, you’ll soon have a confident and happy paddleboarding partner. Enjoy the journey and the special bond you’ll build with your dog on the water!

A dog wearing a bright orange life jacket sitting on a boat on a sunny day on the water, looking happy and secure.

Safety Considerations for Paddleboarding with Dogs

When paddleboarding with your dog, prioritizing safety is essential to ensure a fun and secure adventure for both of you. Let’s explore the key safety considerations to keep in mind.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Always ensure your dog wears a PFD designed specifically for canines. A well-fitted life jacket not only keeps your dog afloat but also provides a handle to assist in getting them back on the board. When selecting a PFD, look for a product like the Float Coat™ Life Jacket, which offers secure clip-in points, durability, and buoyancy. The handle should be sturdy enough to lift your dog back onto the paddleboard without risking damage or undue strain.

Leash Use

It’s crucial to never attach your dog’s leash to the paddleboard. In moving water, currents can easily separate you from your board, and a tethered dog can become a considerable safety risk. Instead, use a leash for shoreline walks or when transitioning on and off the water. For your safety, wear an ankle leash connected to the paddleboard, ensuring you stay tethered to the board if you fall off. This reduces the risk of losing the board to waves or currents, keeping both you and your dog safer.

Calm Waters First

When beginning your paddleboarding journey, choose calm and shallow waters. Gentle lakes or slow-moving rivers are ideal for practicing balance and acclimating your dog to the experience. Avoid the surf or areas with heavy boating traffic until you both have gained confidence and stability.

Frequent Breaks

Just like humans, dogs can tire easily when exposed to physical activity and sun. Monitor your dog’s behavior closely, and take regular breaks to allow them to rest and hydrate. Transfer to a shaded area during extended breaks to prevent overheating. Carry a collapsible water bowl and fresh water to keep your dog hydrated throughout your paddleboarding session.

Weather Considerations

Pay attention to weather conditions before heading out. Avoid paddleboarding on excessively hot days to prevent heatstroke or burns from hot deck surfaces. On colder days, be mindful of hypothermia risks, especially if your dog is not a strong swimmer or lacks a thick coat.


Make sure your dog is comfortable in their PFD and understands essential commands before venturing out into deeper waters. Practice jumps into shallow waters first and assist them in climbing back onto the board using their PFD handle. Repeated drills in a controlled environment can significantly enhance their water confidence and your control during an outing.

Observe Signs of Distress

Be vigilant. Excessive panting, whining, or attempts to jump off the board can indicate that your dog is uncomfortable or distressed. If your dog exhibits any of these signs, head back to shore immediately for a break.

Emergency Plan

Always have an emergency plan. Know the closest exit points and be familiar with the water area. Carry a whistle or signaling device to alert others if you require assistance. Ensure your phone is in a waterproof case and securely attached to you for quick access if you encounter trouble.

By incorporating these safety practices, you’re not just ensuring a successful paddleboarding experience with your dog but also safeguarding their well-being while creating memorable and enjoyable adventures on the water.

About the Author

Zack Newsome

Zack is a lifelong adventurer passionate about sharing the thrill of the watersports with others. He loves fishing, sailing, paddling and exploring all types of water. He launched Outward Brands to inspire others to spend more time outdoors (and in the water) – improving mental health and more deeply connecting with nature.

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