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A Dog Life Jacket – Be Your Dog’s Best Friend On The Water

Updated on September 16, 2009

PFD - Pet Floatation Device

Dog life jackets are becoming more and mort popular with dog owning boaters and general water enthusiasts. And with good reason. After all, making sure your dog will be safe in the event of some kind accident or emergency is (or at least should be) of paramount importance to dog owners. And even though many dogs are totally comfortable in the water, there are certain times when it would be wise to give even them an extra level of protection.

For example, when boating, if a dog goes overboard, it can be difficult to lift him/her out of the water and back onto the boat. Life jackets for dogs usually come with a handle in the middle of that back making it a much easier process. This handle will it make it easier for your to lift your dog out of the water (and remember, a wet dog is a heavy, slippery dog!), making it less likely that either you or your dog will get hurt.

There have been many stories of people hurting their back, leading to long term back pain, because they needed to lean so far over the side of the boat to get a hold of their dog that this alone is reason enough to invest in a dog life jacket. Another common injury in this kind of situation is the rescuer getting scratched up from a flailing dogs paws and claws. Why put yourself at risk for such problems when a doggie life vest is a simple, and safer, solution.

Many dog owners might think that all dogs know how to swim just fine, so a life vest is unnecessary. The truth is that not all dogs are totally comfortable in the water. Not only do certain breeds have more issues, extremely lean breeds such as boxers or Dobermans have very little natural floatation, but some dogs’ personalities cause them to panic in the water.

Other points to consider that would make a dog life jacket make sense are very rough waters or very cold water. In rough water, not only might it take longer for you to get to your dog making the extra floatation helpful in giving you the needed time, but again, it will make getting your dog back onboard a lot easier while the boat is rolling and rocking.

In cold water, a dog is at risk of hypothermia, just like a person. Again, the extra floatation can buy you both the extra time needed to get your dog to safety.

Because dogs come in so many shapes and sizes, there isn’t a uniform design in dog life vests that will work for all dogs. It is critically important that you get a vest that fits your dog properly, so it is highly recommended that you take your dog along for a fitting before making a purchase. If you are planning on ordering online because you don’t have easy access to such an option, just make sure you order from a company with a good return policy and that you place your order well in advance of your planned boating trip.

One more thing to consider is color. Dog life jackets come in many colors, prints and designs. While it’s fun to be playful, creative and fashionable, don’t forget the purpose of this vest is to potentially save your dog’s life. A black jacket on a black dog in stormy waters will make your dog harder to spot than if you had chosen a brighter color.

We all love our dogs and want them to be with us for a long time. Consider the environment in which you and your best friend will be and make a safe, wise decision to be safe rather than sorry. Safety first!  A dog life jacket can help do just that for you both.


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    • patdmania profile image

      patdmania 7 years ago from waterford, mi

      Thanks for sharing. I bought a dog life jacket from and it was very affordable for how much i will actually use it. Thanks again.

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      DonDixon 8 years ago

      Great story. I always use a dog life jacket. I also use the Load A Pup, Its a ladder for dogs.