Why do dogs need life jackets? Don’t they know how to swim? Some dogs do know how to swim and really enjoy the water, but most dogs are not naturally good swimmers. Even for dogs that are good swimmers there can be a number of factors that might make it difficult for them to swim. Rough water, bad weather conditions, fatigue, or distractions can all lead to tragedy when a dog is in the water. It’s not just open water that can cause problems for dogs either. Even in a contained setting like a pool or a lake a dog can have trouble swimming. That’s why you need to have a life jacket for your dog with you at all times when you’re near any type of water.
Even if you don’t usually take your dog in the water or near the water there should be at least one life jacket for dogs in your first aid kit both at home and in your vehicle. With the number of record breaking storms increasing each year there’s a good chance that at some point you will encounter a storm that will cause flooding, and in any type of emergency flood situation, your dog will need a life jacket.
Why Do Dogs Need Life Jackets?
Dogs are like people in that their physical condition and natural temperament varies from dog to dog. Even a dog that loves the water, like a Labrador retriever, will have trouble swimming if it is overweight or if it’s an older dog. A puppy can become so distracted by people nearby, boats, and all the noises on the water that it can go under the water in a second, and that second can be all it takes to end in tragedy. Even good swimmers wear life jackets when they go out boating, and your dog should always wear a life vest for dogs too. Or at least there should be a life jacket for the dog on the boat. Some life jackets can be heavy and bulky and make dogs too warm on a summer afternoon. But anytime a dog is near the water there should be a quality life jacket available for the dog.
What To Look For In a Dog Life Jacket
When choosing a doggy life jacket, there are key safety and handling features that you should look for like:
- High-quality material: Always choose a life vest for dogs that is made out of a rip resistant high-density material that will hold up well in all weather conditions.
- Ease of use: The life jacket for dogs should be easy to get on and off your pet so that if you need to put it on them or get it off of them in a hurry you can do so safely. Whatever dog life jacket you end up buying practice putting it on and taking it off your dog before you take your dog out on the water so that you and your dog will both feel comfortable with the vest.
- Handles: A good doggie life jacket must have at least one sturdy handle. Handles will help you quickly get your pet out of the water without being in danger from your pet’s flying feet if the dog is upset or scrambling. Scared dogs, as we all know, don’t always respond to an owner’s command and can be wriggling, flailing, and constantly moving bundles that can be difficult to maneuver. Sturdy handles will allow you to get your dog out of a dangerous situation even if the dog is scared.
- A good fit: Getting a life jacket for your dog that fits is critically important. It can be tough to find a vest that fits exactly right so look for a vest that comes with adjustable features that you can fit exactly to your dog. A telescoping neck feature is great for ensuring that the vest fits securely to your dog and will adjust to any changes in your dog’s size during the course of his or her life.
- Interior buckles and straps: While it’s not strictly necessary to use a dog life jacket that has all the buckles and straps on the inside for safety’s sake it is a good thing to look for. That way you can be sure that your dog won’t get hung up on a dock, on the side of a boat, or on any protrusions in the water like branches or rocks.