Photo by @littleriverdog
Did someone say dog paddle? As it turns out, not all dogs can do it well. Even those who were born to swim can tire out if they push beyond their limits. Whether your pup is an aqua dog or not, wearing a life jacket can benefit them. Headed out for a sail? Boaters are required by law to have a life jacket on board for all human passengers, so it’s a good idea to take the same precautions for your dog. Play it safe and be prepared so that your dog and the rest of your family can be carefree around the water together.
Here are 6 reasons your dog needs a life jacket
1. Peace of mind
Hearing a big splash when you least expect it can catch you off guard! Dogs who love to swim often jump in when you aren’t paying attention. You look forward to days on the water, but you only have one set of eyes and there’s a lot to keep track of. Knowing that your dog is wearing a life jacket will help you relax a bit more and allow you to focus on other things such as safely maneuvering your boat or supervising young children near the water.
2. Even active swimmers get tired
Water lovers such as Labrador Retrievers or Springer Spaniels sometimes don’t know when to take a break and a life jacket will provide the support they need if their energy starts to run low. Some dog owners with more buoyant breeds will even put a life jacket on part way through the day in anticipation of this decline in energy. This avoids them getting too far away from you where they may be unable to make it back to shore.
3. Not all dogs are designed for swimming
Think swimming is a natural skill for all dogs? Think again. Many breeds like French Bulldogs or Boxers are not built for swimming and may even be unable to stay afloat. Others like Pugs are unable to swim for long due to the fact that they are brachycephalic breeds and have trouble breathing in the water, thus they tire very quickly. Young dogs of any type may also not have the stamina to make it very far. If your dog is a weak swimmer but has the potential to improve, a life jacket will offer you both confidence as he learns. Always consult with your veterinarian if you have specific concerns about your dog's ability in the water.
4. It’s easier to spot them in the water
Dogs swim close to the surface and can often be tough to see in the water. Dog life jackets are usually made with bright bold fabrics making it easier to keep track of your four-legged paddler. Even if they swim out of sight or get separated from you and you have to go looking for them, chances are you will be able to spot them quickly. There are also instances where a dog may fall overboard unnoticed and you may have to swiftly back track across the water to find her in which case the colorful life jacket could help expedite this process.
5. Accidents can happen
What if your dog swam ahead in a river and the current suddenly picked up? Without a life jacket, they could be swept away from you and possibly drown. There’s also a chance your dog could come into contact with underwater debris in a lake or pond and become stuck or incapacitated. A life jacket would save them from exhaustion as they try to navigate their way back or keep them afloat until you can reach them. On rare occasions, a dog could have a life-threatening health episode in the water and a life jacket could save them from going under.
6. Handles and d-rings can help with safety
Imagine you’re in the middle of the lake when you suddenly hear a clap of thunder and you need to quickly get your dog up on the boat. Most life jackets include a handle on the top, allowing you to grab your pup on a moment’s notice and haul him back on board. Handles are also helpful when assisting a senior dog with limited mobility in getting out of the water. Most life jackets also come with a d-ring attachment so that you can easily attach a leash to your dog and prevent him from potentially breaking away from you when exiting the water.
Enjoying the water with your dog can be one of the best ways to spend time together. Doing so safely and responsibly will make your outing more enjoyable for all!
Looking for a life jacket? Check out what our friends at Rover had to say about our Surf N Turf Life Jacket!
Brooke Spater runs Social Media Marketing at Kurgo. Among other things, she manages the Kurgo blog and enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 kids, and 90 lb. Goldendoodle named Baxter.