Stand-up paddleboarding, also known as SUP, is one of the few watersports that is perfectly safe for pet dogs to participate in.
So, if you want to spend some quality time with your beloved dog, while doing something interesting and novel, then SUP might be the best option for you.
Stand-up paddleboarding is also a great workout option for you and your dog. So, you might want to consider taking up SUP if you think you and your dog need some exercise to lose those extra calories.
When looking for outdoor sports and activities that you can enjoy with your pup, you won’t find a lot of options that are safer, easier, and more exciting than stand-up paddleboarding.
So why not give this unique watersport a try?
The Right Equipment and Kit
If you want to try paddleboarding with your pup, then you will need to invest in the right SUP kit and equipment. This will help keep you and your dog safe (and comfortable) in the water.
During the SUP session, you are completely responsible for your dog. So, having reliable and high-quality SUP gear will provide you with some much-needed peace of mind.
A Proper SUP Board
Obviously, the first thing you will need to acquire is the right SUP board for paddleboarding with a dog. The wider, longer, and more spacious the paddleboard, the more suitable it will be for your pup.
Paddleboards that are wider and longer than average usually offer greater stability. They also offer more space (for your dog to stand) and are able to carry more weight than other boards.
For the best results, you should choose a board that is more than 30 inches wide and 10 feet long. The size of the ideal paddleboard will also depend on how big or small your dog is.
A small paddleboard will not be able to support a big dog, and will become unstable and dangerous in the water. So always err on the side of caution. Choose a large paddleboard that will comfortably accommodate your dog, and will still have some space left over.
A Suitable Buoyancy Aid
While swimming comes naturally to most dogs, the paddleboard is an extra element that might confuse your pet. If the paddleboard tips over or becomes unbalanced while navigating choppy waters, this could disorient your dog, preventing its natural reflexes from kicking in.
This is why you must be ready with a life jacket (or buoyancy aid) especially designed for your canine companion. The best life jackets made for dogs comprise the following features:
- Your pet’s life jacket must have a handle that you can take hold of, whenever necessary. This will allow you to guide your dog until it is more comfortable in the water (and unlikely to panic).
- An attached D-ring is one of the most important features of a life jacket especially designed for pet dogs. It will allow you to attach a leash to the dog and keep track of it, even if it falls off the board and into the water.
- Ideally, you should purchase a bright-colored life jacket for your pup, before taking it out for a paddleboarding session. This will make it easy for you to spot your dog in the water.
- Put the buoyancy aid on your dog before you leave the house. This will give the dog time to get used to the jacket. It will also ensure that the buoyancy aid fits your dog properly, which can greatly influence safety.
A Traction Pad for Grip
If you want to go on an SUP adventure with your dog, then you have to invest in a full deck pad for your paddleboard. This will provide grip and traction for your pet’s paws, allowing it to sit or stand anywhere on the paddleboard. It will also keep your dog from sliding off the board every time you hit a wave.
Standing on the slippery area at the front of the paddleboard can be both uncomfortable and scary for dogs, especially when the swell is high. So a board with full pad coverage is ideal for SUP enthusiasts who want to indulge in their favorite watersport along with their pet.
Preparing for a Fun SUP Trip with Your Dog
Now that you have all the essential pieces of SUP equipment for yourself and your dog, it is time to start preparing for the trip. Before you take your dog out for an SUP session, allow it to swim around on its own for a couple of hours. This will help it overcome any fears and become comfortable with the water.
You should also trim your dog’s nails before the SUP session, to minimize the risk of getting the deck pad torn (and the surface of your board scratched) by long, sharp canine nails.
Lastly, don’t forget to carry a pocket full of puppy treats, to reward your pet for every small paddleboarding success. This will help you slowly but steadily train your dog to become a better paddleboarder, over the course of a few weeks and months.