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Life jackets for your dog

Updated on June 24, 2015
Lifejackets for your dog
Lifejackets for your dog | Source

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.

More options

See more life jackets below.

Designer Pet Saver Life Jacket, Small (Colors Vary)
Designer Pet Saver Life Jacket, Small (Colors Vary)

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.

Paws Aboard XXS Designer Doggy Life Jacket, Nautical print
Paws Aboard XXS Designer Doggy Life Jacket, Nautical print

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!

What do you think about these?

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    • DawnRae64 profile image


      4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Oops, I meant lens. Wonderful lens.

    • DawnRae64 profile image


      4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      I have been thinking of introducing Willy to the kayak. I definitely want to have a life jacket for him. My Daisy could not swim at all. Willy demonstrated that he is going to be able to swim well (today when he suddenly swam from the river bank out to try to get my bobber while I was fishing!). But even so, I will have him wear a life jacket if I take him on the Kayak. Wonderful bubble!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ruthi: The price for these is really so low that I hope that every dog owner has one. Thanks for visiting!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      It is good to read that dog owners add a life jacket for their dog when boating! My dog Tidbit hated water that went above her belly. In our 14 years together I never once saw her swim. If I'd taken her on a boat or kayak I would definitely have made her wear a life jacket.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @flycatcherrr: They really are. My friend told me that they went to a cabin on a lake once and every dog was suitably attired :)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: They are - and I see so many of them wearing these on boats.I saw a dog enjoying a paddle board the other day, proudly wearing his!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DebW07: Haha - a very good point! They really are very cute,aren't they?

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Pam Irie: Good idea :) We see them such a lot and the dogs seem to like wearing them.I know one who gets excited when he sees his - it means the family is going swimming!

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      5 years ago

      The little dogs especially do look like novelty handbags in their life jackets, very cute, but definitely a life-saving essential for boaters and beach puppies.

    • sousababy profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent - there are too many water fatalities and pets are members of the family, after all.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great info! But it's not fair that dogs look adorable in life jackets and humans don't.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I think if we get our dog out on our kayak with us, we'll have to make sure she is wearing one of these.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @LisaMarieGabriel: Oh, what I good point - I hadn't considered that. Thank you!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I think they are a good idea. Each year people drown too trying to save their pets from the surf!


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