Inflatable Paddle Board with Dog

You are crazy! Inflatable paddle board with dog? Yes, we have heard it all when we are out on our paddle board with one, two or even three of our dogs!

There's something utterly invigorating about gliding across the water on an inflatable paddle board. Now, imagine experiencing that with your furry friend. Paddle boarding with your dog combines love for nature, an exciting activity and spending priceless moments with your pet. Throw in a large inflatable paddle board into the mix and you have some great family fun!

This video shows us sit down paddle boarding at Salmon Lake in California while there is still snow on the ground with our Border Terrier, Wookie.  The cold water did not stop Wookie from going in for a swim or two!  

Best paddle boards for dogs

This is one of the reasons we love inflatable paddle boards. They are so easy to transport. While a twelve foot long paddle board large enough for us to paddle with our dogs would be hard to transport in our compact sedan, an inflatable paddle board of the same side easily fits into our trunk! And no worries about your dog’s toe nails puncturing your board. Although not an excuse for not trimming your dog’s toe nails, the vinyl and foam on all of the paddle boards we recommend is thick and we have never had a problem. Hands down, blow up paddle boards are the best paddle boards for dogs.

Let's talk about Silli. Silli is no ordinary Border Terrier; she loves water just as much as we do. In 2018 we bought an inflatable paddle board. It proved to be the ticket to our best summer yet. Our local lake was suddenly transformed into a gigantic playground, as Silli discovered the excitement of riding waves while standing on the board, tail wagging with joy. Not only does Silli love paddle boarding, but so do Wookie, Izo, Luna, Sassy and Bear! Sometimes we have up to three dogs on the paddle board at the same time! We love all of the smiles and comments we get on an inflatable paddle board with dog!

Addressing safety concerns when you are on an inflatable paddle board with dog

Now you might be thinking, "This sounds amazing, but my dog is on the larger side." Fear not, the beauty of an inflatable paddle board is that it provides enough space to accommodate big dogs too. Take Susie's Lab, Max. Initially skeptical of the idea, Susie was quickly proved wrong as Max comfortably sat on the paddle board, taking in the surroundings as they floated down the river. Max was no bigger than Susie’s husband who routinely shared her paddle board with her when he didn’t feel like paddling on his own. A twelve-foot-long paddle board like our Aqua Marina Monster’s can handle two two-hundred-pound people with no problem. We routinely go out tandem with adults, kids and dogs.

In terms of safety, inflatable paddle boards are very stable and secure, making them a comfortable option for your dog. Even on a backup, these boards provide ample space for both, the paddler and the pet. To make sure our dogs (and kids) stay extra safe, we always outfit them with a life jacket. And although we sometimes wish we could put harnesses and attach both our kids AND our dogs to the paddleboard, we limit ourselves to just clipping our dogs onto the paddleboard with a leash so that if they do fall or jump off, we can easily get them back on board.

Our favorite dog life jacket

We always start our young dog out with a life jacket on both for our peace of mind and so our dogs can build up their confidence in the water. We attach the dog with it's life jacket onto our paddle board via a leash.

Once the dog is a strong swimmer we eliminate the life jacket and simply attach them to our paddle board via a harness. See below for our favorite leash and harness set up.

Some of the most important features to consider when purchasing a life jacket for your dog:

  • The weight limit of the life jacket
  • The amount of buoyancy the life vest provides
  • How easy it is to put on and off
  • A clip to attach a leash to
  • And a handle for pulling a large dog out of the water
silli puppy with life jacket on

See how easy a good dog life jacket is to use

This video shows how a dog life jacket works so that you can enjoy worry free time on your inflatable paddle board with dog.

ThinkPet Life Jacket for Dogs

This is our favorite life vest because it provides all of the safety features and it comes in a variety of sizes and colors to suit virtually any dog.  It provides plenty of buoyancy to help your dog move freely in the water and encourages swim training.  

It has reflective tape strips and combined with the bright colors it comes in, your dog will be easily visible by other boaters while swimming.  

The best thing is that it is really easy to put on and take off due to the combination of velcro and buckles.  This saves a ton of time and frustration because it is easy to make sure it is snug without being too tight.  

We have only had to replace one life jacket and that was due to a dog chewing on it.  The 600D Oxford outer fabric is very durable as are the strong buckles.

This is a great lifejacket for any size or age dog.  We highly recommend it when you are on your inflatable paddle board with dog

Click to see more information about this Life Jacket on Amazon

Our favorite dog harness and leash for paddle boarding

gideon paddle board leash harness

This is our favorite leash and harness set up for once our dogs are strong swimmers.  Until they are strong swimmers, we use just the leash and we clip it onto both our paddle board and the dog's life jacket.  With this set up, your dog will never get far away from your paddle board.  It also discourages them from abruptly deciding that it is a good idea to jump in the water at times when you want them to stay on the board.  If they do go in the water, you can simply grab the leash and reel them back in. 

When we have a young dog or one that tends to run up and down while we are paddling, we will often restrict the movement by giving them only half of the leash length by looping the leash thru the handle of the life jacket or harness and clicking both of the snap attachments onto the paddle board.  This is great if you don't want your dog under foot while you are standing up or keep a dirty, wet dog off of your lap if you are paddling sitting down.  

Here Julie has Gideon attached to the back of her paddle board so that he doesn't smoosh her soft sided cooler with her lunch.  She also regularly attaches the dogs to the front of her board when she had the hard cooler or is storing things that can get wet on the front of her board.  

To create this setup you have to purchase two things separately, a hands-free leash and a harness. Both are an absolute must when you are on an inflatable paddle board with dog

This is our favorite leash because the elastic warns your dog that they are getting to the edge and encourages them to stop pulling.  It is also great for reeling your dog in if they go overboard.  The clips on both end of the leash make it easy to attach your dog to your paddle board on either a longer or shorter length (by looping the leash thru the harness or life jacket and attaching both clips thru the same d-ring on your paddle board).

The waist belt keeps your hands free for carrying your paddle board, paddle and seat from the car to the water while keeping your dog with you and under control.  The waist harness allows you to clip on a number of leashes, and Julie has been known to have 2 or 3 border terriers snapped on while she is carrying her paddle board, chair, paddle, backpack with drinks and snacks for fairly long distances from the car to the lake or river! 

Click to see more information about this leash on Amazon
amazon sparklypet hands free leash
amazon didog dog harness boxer

Click video above to see how easy this harness is to put on.

This is our favorite all around dog harness.  It comes in a wide range of colors and sizes so that it will fit any dog from teacup to large breeds.  Our dogs will wear these harnesses for many hours and they never rub or make them sore.  They stay on well and none of our dogs has ever wiggled out of them, even when we use them on a run line between two trees while camping.  Yes, we use the harness and stretchy leash on the paddle board, for hands free hiking, when we are running the dogs on our bikes AND on a wire run line attached between two trees while we are camping.  We also use these to attach our dog to the car seat so they don't get injured if we were ever in an accident.  

We love that there are two d-rings, one on the front of the harness that we can use while walking to train our dogs not to pull.  Then there is another d-ring on the handle which is where we attach the leash when we are paddle boarding.  Attaching to the back makes it easy for us to haul our dog out of the water when it falls (or jumps) in.  

One of the things that sets these harnesses apart is the soft fleece pads beneath the straps.  The fleece drys rapidly and prevents a wet harness from rubbing and hurting your dog.  Bottom line this harness is very soft and lightweight.

The nylon material used for the straps is robust and durable.  The buckles are also very durable, and to date, we have never had one break.  

Best yet, there is only one buckle necessary to put the harness on and off.  So it is really quick and easy to put on and take off.  

Click to see more information about this Harness on Amazon

Get ready for fun on an inflatable paddle board with dog!

What makes paddle boarding with your dog special are the endless ways it can be enjoyed. It’s not just about standing on a board; you can also sit down and leisurely paddle around.  We often stop and tie up to a rock so we can float and have a snack or a little nap in the sun.  Sometimes we will have a picnic lunch in the middle of the lake while floating freely and taking in breathtaking views.

For those adventure seekers, exploring the various nooks of your local lake or river on your inflatable paddle board with your dog can lead to some fascinating discoveries. Picture unexplored islands, hidden coves, or a secluded beach, all waiting to be discovered while bonding with your four-legged friend.  

Different excursions you can take with your dog, from serene to exhilarating.

  • Serene - For those preferring a little peace and tranquility, paddle boarding with your dog can be a serene experience. There's nothing quite like floating slowly on a quiet lake, gazing at the sunset, with your dog.
  • Relaxing - Let's not forget that paddle boarding can also be quite relaxing. Floating slowly on the water while basking in the sunlight on your inflatable paddle board, with your dog nestled by your side, makes for a picture-perfect moment.
  • Exercise - Paddle boarding offers a full-body workout, engaging almost every muscle while maintaining balance and directing the board. Incorporating this with the joy of spending time with your dog, it's a win-win situation.
  • Family - Paddle boarding also presents itself as a fun family activity. Imagine sunbathed days at the lake where everyone, including your cherished pet, gets to be part of the water escapade.
  • Friends - Paddle boarding with your dog has a social aspect too. Whether it's a gathering with friends at a local site or participating in a community paddle boarding event, there's always a great buzz around folks who bring their adorable pets along.
  • Exhilarating - Finally while river and lake excursions are abundant with fun and adventures, let’s not forget the exhilarating thrill of using an inflatable paddle board in the ocean. More experienced paddlers can enjoy riding waves with their dogs and exploring the uncharted coastlines.

john and gideon relaxing paddle board

Ways to paddle board with your dog

The pros and cons of paddle boarding styles are often subjective, largely depending upon an individual’s preference. Stand up paddle boarding is a great workout, engaging your core and improving balance, but it requires a bit of practice. Standing up with your dog requires a confident stance and good balance. That is why we recommend starting out sitting down, especially if your dog has never been on a paddle board or is unused to water.

Now, speaking from experience; there was this hilarious incident involving our friend Jake. During a beach outing, he was out in the sea on his inflatable paddle board with his terrier, Toby. What he didn't anticipate was Toby's impromptu decision to jump off in an attempt to catch a seagull. When Toby missed, he decided to ignore Jake and swim back to shore where all the birds were running around. When Toby reached the shore, all the seagulls took off and two pooped on Jake in the process. While Jake wasn’t too happy, the rest of us who were close enough to see it all but far enough away not to get pooped on were in stitches. Jake and Toby are legendary in our group, and the sea gull incident is indefinitely stamped on our memories.

john and silli inflatable paddle board

We hope to see you out on your inflatable paddle board with dog company!

If you have never tried it, paddle boarding is a fun adventure. It is also an activity that's easy to learn. With just a bit of balance and the use of paddles, you'll find yourself gliding over the water surface in no time. We hope we have convinced you about the joys of an inflatable paddle board with dog aboard.  

So, whether you are a seasoned expert or an interested novice looking to embark on a new adventure, incorporating an inflatable paddle board with dog into your activities is a fun-filled, exciting, and bonding experience. If you're seeking nature exploration, family fun, or simply want to experiment with a different exercise routine, we hope we have convinced you to take your dog out paddling!

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