Life jackets for your dog
Does your dog have a life jacket?
Many of our local South Florida friends use these life jackets for their own beloved pets - both large and small breeds - and they say that these have been among the best purchases they have made to ensure their pets' safety - and they're fun. Let me explain.
Boating, the ocean, the lake or the pool
I have to admit that when I first saw these items, I was just a bit scathing. After all, all dogs can swim can't they? Aren't life jackets unnecessary? My friend Karen put me right. She told me that the statistics were horrifying - that there are tens of thousands of dogs who die in the water every year. She said that in some areas, there are more dogs drown than people. That's scary.
There are so many hazards
We live in Florida, right by the water, so we are accustomed to seeing dogs wearing flotation devices on land and on boats. Karen and her husband (and their dog Popeye) live on a yacht and I don't think I've ever seen Popeye without his life jacket. Even when he's not aboard, he's wearing it because there's always water nearby.
Not just for those who live near water
Karen, who is the most animal-loving person I know, explained to me that water hazards are everywhere. She told me some heart-breaking stories which I'm not going to relate here - I'm sure you can imagine though. 'But dogs can swim' I said. I still wasn't convinced.
Dogs that can swim still need these to stay safe
She told me that yes, almost every dog can swim but these flotation devices are still essential. An animal can end up in the water with an injury that prevents them from swimming as they normally would. In an emergency, the animal could get tired and the life jacket would keep him or her afloat until help arrived. Older animals don't have the stamina that younger one do and yet they don't realize it and can quickly get into trouble in the water. Sometimes there can be currents or waves that are too strong and then there are times when a dog has an injury and needs a little help to have fun.
Yes, these provide fun as well as safety
These are comfortable to wear (certainly Popeye thinks so) and they give your dog more pleasure in the water. Some dogs, who have previously been a little timid (especially of the ocean) feel a lot more confident and get a lot more pleasure when out with the family having fun. They are a great investment.
Should dogs really wear lifejackets?
What's interesting, as Karen seriously told me, is that these lifejackets are remarkably inexpensive. Plus, they come in all sizes so every dog owner will find one that's suitable for their own pet.
I've seen this myself when I see boats going by. I've seen tiny little toy dogs and huge Great Danes - all of them safe from harm, thanks to their lifejackets.
You'll find that they are available in a wide variety of colours and designs too. Your pet can even look cool while staying safe at the same time.
They don't restrict the dog's freedom or movements at all, as you can tell by the photograph at the top of the page.
Karen has convinced me - yes, you should have a lifejacket for your dog.
Many of these safety devices cost under $25.
What a very small price to pay for peace of mind.
See more life jackets below.
Admittedly this guy looks a little grumpy but I imagine that's his natural expression. But I'll bet that he loves having fun in the water wearing this.
The model above has reflective strips but this has an even greater visibility so is a wise choice if you're out on or near the water in the dark.
How cute is this? This model is especially for little dogs - between two and six pounds in weight.
I love the jaunty nautical print too.
See these life jackets in use
See them in action in this video
Note that these life-saving devices had a handle at the top. That's a great way to rescue your pet from the water but also allows you to pick up him or her rather like a handbag!