Should My Dog Wear a Life Vest?

dog swimmingMany pet owners assume that their dogs know how to swim. It is the general assumption that dogs are born being natural swimmers. However, this assumption is not entirely accurate and some may need help to learn how to swim. Even though there are dogs that are pretty good swimmers, it is always best to make sure that you observe safety precautions.

If planning to have your dog accompany you on any watercraft, it will be beneficial to have your furry friend wear a life jacket specifically designed for them. Dogs on fishing boats, kayaks, racing or skiing boats, sail boats, white water rafts and even canoes must have a doggie life jacket. The reason for this being the same reason that people who are good at swimming must always wear one.

The conditions that forced your pet to fall or jump into the water may have a negative impact on his swimming abilities. They may also make it hard for the companions accompanying him on his first boating trip to get him out of water.

If still asking yourself whether your dog should wear a life vest, here are additional reasons to make sure that he is wearing one:

  • Pets, especially dogs that have a tiny amount of body fat do not fair very well when in water. These are animals that will require the additional buoyancy that only a life jacket can provide.
  • Older dogs and younger puppies do not have enough stamina to keep their heads out of the water. As such, they end up consuming a lot of water, and in some cases even drowning.
  • Even if a dog is an excellent swimmer, there is still the possibility of him becoming fatigued. It is not possible for the canine to swim for long when suffering from tired muscles. The buoyancy of a life jacket will allow them to conserve energy and have fun for a longer time.
  • If a dog falls off a boat in a lake or river that has large waves, he will have trouble swimming; no matter how good a swimmer the dog is.

By having a life jacket on, it becomes easier for you the owner to grab the canine and help pull him back to safety.

When it comes to fitting a canine with a vest or a jacket, begin by first measuring his length and girth. The girth makes up the area behind the front legs and the body. Ensure you fit him as follows:

  • Unclip all buckles and loosen the neck strap
  • Place the jacket on his back and connect the clip on his neck.
  • Ensure you position it on his back for optimal coverage. Proceed to tie the chest straps (they are two) and adjust them for a snug fit.
  • The neck straps should always be adjusted for a loose fit as the chest straps will help keep it in place.

To answer your question,” should my dog wear a life vest?” the answer is YES. Make sure you do not tighten the straps too much as they may make him suffocate. To confirm that they are snug, ensure your finger can easily run between the canine and the straps.

 

4 Responses to “Should My Dog Wear a Life Vest?”

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  1. Tina Walker says:

    If my dog is missing front right leg at the shoulder is there a recommendation for her?

  2. Addie says:

    Good stuff. I’m a HUGE believer that every dog should have a life vest. My “excellent” swimmer (black lab) once leaped from our boat to the dock (which he’s done a hundred times) but MISSED this one time. He briefly went under and we had to pull him out. From then on, he’s been wearing his $30 doggie vest any time we’re out on the water.

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