Better Safe Than Sorry: The Purpose of Dog Life Jackets

It’s finally summer. And you know what that means? You finally get to enjoy your favourite activities around water. Whether you’re going fishing , spending a day at the beach or taking a boat ride – on many of these occasions you will also want to bring your faithful furry friend along too. After all, dogs love water and are natural swimmers, right?

Well, although many dogs can’t wait to get wet and splash around, some freeze around water and refuse even to dip their paws. Yes, it’s true. Some dogs can get nervous around water, and some aren’t even good at swimming. But regardless of whether your pooch is a fearless swimmer or has troubles when faced with water, you can make it a lot safer for him if you get him a life jacket.

Do Dog Life Jackets Work?

Just like people, dogs can wear life jackets over their chest that can help them float when in water. There are a variety of specialized dog life jackets Australia pet stores sell that are made of buoyant, padded materials and have a grab handle and a D-ring so that you can attach a leash to them. They also come in a variety of bright colours so the dogs can stay visible and you don’t lose them in the water.

Do Dogs Need Life Jackets?

Even though many dogs are great swimmers, it’s a common misconception that all dogs have a natural ability for it. The breeds that have low body fat, like for instance Greyhounds, usually have a hard time to stay afloat. Others that have large chests that make them top-heavy, such as bulldogs, also struggle when in water. In addition, small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers or Shih Tzus and those with short legs can have a good start but get tired quickly when swimming. Then there are senior dogs and dogs with joint health issues such as hip dysplasia which aren’t able to last long in the water. In all of these cases, a life jacket is a must-have when around water. And just to be safe, even if your dog is an experienced swimmer, it’s better to equip him with a life vest for most water activities.

However, many pet owners tend to ask “Do dogs have to wear life jackets on boats?”. Even if your dog won’t be entering the water, if you’re riding a boat, it’s a lot safer to equip him with a vest. There’s always a risk that your dog can fall into the water accidentally. And all dogs, whether water-loving or not, can easily panic from an unexpected fall or get pulled into a strong current. In a situation like this, the doggy life vest can keep your pooch afloat and save his life. It can even allow you to grab him by the vest’s handle without the need to go into the water yourself. Hopefully, your dog will never get into such a situation, but in the event that it does, you as an owner will be glad that you’ve taken the extra step to protect your dog.

How to Measure a Dog for a Life Jacket?

Just like those for humans, dog life jackets Australia stores sell also come in a variety of sizes. Every life vest manufacturer usually has specific measuring guidelines to help you pick out a right-sized vest for your dog. Often, the measuring guidelines require you to take into account several factors, not just your dog’s length and height. You will also need to measure his neck girth, body girth and overall weight.

In order for the life jacket to protect your dog from drowning, it needs to be snug and secure around its body, without any risk that it can slip off when the dog struggles in the water. However, your dog should also be able to walk run, jump and breathe without difficulty while wearing the vest. So, even if you’re 100% you’ve picked the right size, it’s best to look for a vest that has adjustable straps. This way, you can secure the vest properly onto you dog without causing any discomfort.

Choosing a Life Vest for Your Dog

Besides size, there are also other things to consider in order to choose the best dog life jacket. The material the vest is made of is one of the most important factors. Always choose a high-density material that is rip-resistant and can hold up well in all kinds of weather conditions. In addition, a jacket lined with a waterproof fabric such as nylon or neoprene (materials wetsuits are made of) won’t get wet and can prevent your dog from getting hypothermia when spending a long period of time in cold waters.

In addition, you also need to look for a vest in a vibrant colour that will allow you to easily locate your dog in the water. Usually, the most effective colour for life jackets are fluorescent yellow, orange, hot pink and red. Life vests with reflective tape are an especially good option because they will help your dog stay visible even in dark conditions.