You get your dog on the board and just magically paddle off in the distance to the soundtrack of “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys. Simple Right?
Not quite, first, you need the proper paddle board dog accessories, a proper board, and proper training to get the dog to stay on the board!
Thankfully we walk you through what you need to bring you and your furry best friend into the water.
Finding the Perfect Paddle Board for Your Dog
Can dogs go on inflatable paddle boards? Yes, they can! In fact, inflatable paddle boards are often the preferred board for most breeds of dogs. This is because they are softer and more grippy. PVC does not have a slick surface like polyethylene or plastic does so dogs can grip the surface better when they are not on the deck pad.
What makes a good dog paddle board? Here are some things to look for when choosing a pup-friendly paddle board here are some things to keep in mind:
- Looks for an All-Around/ Rounder shaped board for learning
- Choose a longer/ Wider board. At the minimum, you should choose a board that’s 10’6” in length and 32” in width. Our favorite was the Gili Komodo SUP.
- Look for a stable board (the wider the width the more stable the board will be)
- Look for a Board that has a wide deck pad berth on the board
- Choose a SUP made of at LEAST double layer PVC. Fusion layered and Triple PVC are also acceptable materials
If you don’t already have a SUP we have custom curated a Best Paddle Boards for Dogs list. We also go into more detail as to what makes a good doggy SUP board.
Must-Have Paddle Board Dog Accessories
When going out on the water for a few hours with your pup, here are some must-have things you should bring with you.
- Dog Life Jacket
- Water (1 ounce of water per pound)
- Dry Bag With Gear
- Leash (for close to shore training purposes only)
- Sunglasses (Also known as Doggles)
- Traction Pad (If your paddle board does not have a big deck traction pad area)
Now let’s go in and explain some of these.
Dog Life Jacket
Dog Life Jackets are important in that they serve as an extra layer of protection for what-if scenarios. Chances are at some point in your SUP training, your dog will end up in the water and that’s okay! That’s how they learn!
Most dogs will be able to swim. But the bigger issues are
- Getting them back on the board
- Make sure they don’t get tired out when swimming back to the shore
- Seizures or other unexpected situations that may arise.
There are also those “just in case” scenarios that happen. That coupled with the fact that it can only take a couple of moments for a dog to drown.
“For example, my border collie that I grew up with used to have seizures, especially as he got older. Now if he was to jump off the paddle board to try to swim back to shore and all of a sudden this happened it could put him in a difficult situation.”– Editors Note
So it’s things like the above scenario which is important for having a dog life jacket in those just in case scenarios.
We personally recommend Ruffwear life jackets as they have a handle to be able to lift them out of the water, they are secure and adjustable and they provide the correct amount of buoyancy depending on the dog you have.
They also come in sizes Extra Small (13-inch Girth) to Extra Large (42-inch Girth). To figure out your dog’s size, use a soft measuring tape to measure the circumference of your dog’s chest.
This is something you can almost never bring too much of for both you and your pup. Fresh cool water is essential for those days when you are out on the water. Infact according to Emancipet Pet Clinic, dogs need about 1 ounce of water per every pound. Puppies also tend to drink more water than adult dogs as well.
So how do you keep your water cool? Well, you can bring soft or hard coolers onboard your SUP and store the water in there!
You can get something like the SUP NOW cooler or you can even just go to your local grocery or department store and find a soft cooler that can fit with your deck rigging.
For those longer journeys (not recommended until you both have a lot of paddle boarding experience and training) you can get a hard cooler onto the board like a Yeti cooler that can act as cold storage and a paddle board seat as well.
Dry Bag With Gear
There are so many different types of dry bags out there. I won’t spend too much time talking about the actual dry bag itself. There are a lot of good ones out there but I personally like Earth-Pak.
Instead, we are going to focus more on what goes in the dry bag.
Treats are an important part of dog training and they will be important for rewarding them for listening to your commands while you are on a SUP.
I can’t really tell you which treats to get as dogs can be fussy creatures who have very personalized preferences on these. But bring a bag of them and reward them for doing commands that you want of them.
A Dog Toy
This will be for when you are both paddling for longer trips and your dog starts getting bored. Bringing their favorite toy with them will help ease some of their anxieties and boredom. It will also help keep them in one spot.
Collapsible Dog Bowl
You may have brought the water bottle but how will your dog drink out of it without wasting precious water? Get a collapsible dog bowl! Ones such as the Ruff Barkbowl are perfect for fitting in most drybags. And they provide an easy solution to hydrating your pooch.
You can get 2 and use one for water and one for food as well for those longer SUP paddles.
What? My dog needs sunscreen? Why can’t they use mine? Well, most sunscreen for humans contains zinc oxide which can be toxic for dogs.
The issue is many dog sunscreens are not FDA tested so what do you do when it’s sunny out and you are spending hours on the board? You can use Epi-Pet K-9 Sunscreen which is actually one of the few dog sunscreens that has FDA clearance.
You want to use sunscreen on parts of their skin that are exposed such as the nose, tips of the ears, belly, and other places with less or lighter colored fur.
While you may have read on a few different websites that say that it’s a terrible idea to keep a dog on the leash when paddle boarding. For training purposes by the shore, I would say it’s essential. Leashes are great tools for guiding your dog and teaching him/her different commands and guiding them by example.
As you can see in the above video the leash is essential for guiding them and keeping a close watch on them while on the board.
Yes, your dog can get sun damage from your eyes just like you! Unfortunately, when you are paddle boarding you are exposed to extra UV rays, not just from the sun but also the reflection from the water.
So if you are going out there for longer than an hour I highly recommend you get your pup a pair of doggles (dog sunglasses) to protect their eyes from the sun’s rays. The increased exposure can cause cataracts and pannus which is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of the cornea.
We personally like Quamy Dog Eyewear for dogs over 15 lbs. But there are a lot of different choices out there. Look for sunglasses that offer UV protection on them. You can’t help but chuckle when you put them on your dog as they look like little WWI fighter pilots!
If you already have a paddle board you may find that your dog likes to sit closer to the nose of the paddle board. Many paddle board manufacturers do not put traction padding here. But the good news is you can get your own and install it relatively easily.
There are options like PUNT pads that you can cut out a custom strip or you can use the SUP Now Dog traction pad which is specially made to put at the front of your board for your dog. Its 3M peel-off adhesive allows you to stick it to any surface including PVC.
You can find a list of the Best Stand Up Traction Pads here.
Below are some common dog accessory faqs we get from readers.
How Do I Keep My Dog on a Paddle Board?
You keep your dog on the paddle board with lots of training and exposure. How comfortable your dog will be on a paddle board can directly be correlated with how comfortable they are in and near water.
Use things like positive reinforcements and treats as well as a leash to guide them and reward them when they listen to your commands. You want to start off by introducing them to the board in your house, then the backyard, then by the shore, and finally in the water.
It’s a gradual progression so it will require patience on your end.
Do Dogs Need Life Jackets on Paddle Boards?
No matter how strong of a swimmer your dog is, it’s highly recommended they wear a life jacket especially if you are paddling further offshore. Life jackets not only help your pup keep buoyancy but they can save their life in freak occurrences such as seizures.
What Size Paddle Board Do I Need for Me and My Dog?
The bigger your dog is, the more the size of your paddle board will matter. Smaller dog breeds like chihuahuas,Shih Tzus, Yorkies, and Dachshunds can be perched on most sized paddle boards without making any impact on balance.
Bigger dog breeds like German Shepherds, Huskies, and retrievers have to be more mindful of what kind of paddle board you get. For bigger dogs I recommend a board that is at least 10 ‘6” in length and 32” in width. But the longer and wider the paddle board is, the more stable it will be!
If you are on the lookout for a dog friendly paddle board we have our personalized picks here!
So What Paddle Board Accessories Do I Need for My Dog?
The Following Are Important Paddle Board Accessories for your dog.
- Dog Life Jacket
- Water (1 ounce of water per pound)
- Dry Bag With Gear
- Dog Toy
- Leash (for training purposes only)
- Traction Pad (If your paddle board does not feature a big deck traction pad area)
What accessories do you like to bring with you and your SUP Pup? Let us know on our Facebook Page!