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kayaking with your dog
Photo Credit  Cheryl Wood

Train your dog not jump into the water, if a fisherman tosses out a lure, so your dog doesn’t mistakenly think he was playing fetch. Train your dog not to urinate or defecate on the sand where people sit. Bring baggies with you to dispose of its waste, so their feces won’t contaminate the water. (Animal feces may contain E. coli, which is a deadly form of bacteria.) YoKayaking With Your Dogu also need to teach your dog not to drink from the lake, or ocean water, which could be contaminated from high levels of bacteria, or pesticides from rain runoff, that can cause eye infections in dogs, or make it sick. Bring water and a dish for your dog to drink out of.

Keep your dog on a short leash when you are not on the water, to prevent it for getting bitten by a rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes often forage for prey in rock outcrops, along the shoreline on a lake, (or along a river bank). Dogs are much more likely to be bitten by a rattlesnake, than their owners, because of their close proximity to the ground and their curious nature.

Be aware that, sea lions are capable of grabbing a dog out of a kayak. In recent years, sea lions have identified kayaks as a source of food, due to the growing trend of fishing from a kayak. Sea lions that are accustom to kayakers, frequently pop their head up next to your kayak, to see if you have any fish. What would you do if one grabbed hold of your pretty pooch, (or if your dog jumped in after the sea lion), only to discover a few seconds later your dog is gone?

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Do not bring your dog kayaking with you, if your dog exhibits behavior that is unfriendly to strangers, especially on a kayak group outing, where someone else may also be bringing their dog. As the owner of the dog, you are responsible for any damages caused by your dog to others, or to their property. Take into consideration, while you may know the general temperament and nature of your dog, someone else’s dog may exhibit aggressive behavior towards yours. 

Inquire beforehand to see whether anyone is uncomfortable, if you bring your dog to a kayak group outing. Kayaks can be easily Kayaking With Your Dogtipped over by a dog, trying to climb onto your kayak. If someone else’s dog swims after yours, can you maintain your balance, if their dog attempts to climb onto your kayak? Would you be able to come to someone’s aide in the group, if they capsized, with a dog sitting in your lap, or with a 70 pound dog sitting on the bow or in the hatch of your boat?

These are only several of the concerns to take into consideration before you kayak with your dog. To answer the question, “How safe is it to kayak with your dog?”, only you can make the determination whether you feel it is safe for you to kayak with your dog. The more time you spend training your dog, and the more experience you have kayaking, the safer it will be for you, for your dog and for others sharing the same waterway with you.

 
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