A DOG’S BEST FRIEND (ON THE WATER)
You make your kids wear a life jacket when boating and swimming but what about your dog? Dozens of dogs are lost each year from drowning due to panic, exhaustion, and cold water immersion.
We know that dogs can swim, after all, that’s where we get the term “doggy paddle” from, but just like your kids, your dog can get tired and this could be dangerous in the water. A dog life vest will help keep him/her afloat should he/she tire easily. This is really important for very young dogs, sick dogs, over weight dogs, and elderly dogs as they may not have the strength to swim for long periods.
Purchasing dog PFDs are quite common these days and can be found at most boating stores in a variety of sizes.
A couple of important things to look for in life jackets for dogs is to be sure they are a bright color and have reflectors so that your dog will be easily visible in the water to boaters and a handle on the back so you can easily pull your dog up and out (this really comes in handy if you want to pull your pet onto your boat).
Another important thing to consider is to make sure the life jacket fits your dog properly! It should be snug, but not too tight and should come with adjustable straps. Make sure your dog can swim in it properly without any loose straps or getting tangled. If the straps are uncomfortable for your dog, this could result in injury to your dog or chewing of the life vest.
Now, it’s important to note that a dog life vest is supposed to help with buoyancy and allow your dog to swim more without getting tired. Since life jackets for dogs are made to keep your dog floating in a swimming position, most do not do a good job of keeping the dogs nose out of the water should he become unconscious – it’s not like a human life jacket which is designed so the person can float on their back and keep their face out of the water.
All in all, a dog life jacket is a safety must for your pet if you spend any time near the water. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Information courtesy of Dogs 123 and Oregon Sate Marine Board