The truth is not all dogs can swim. And not all those that can swim are great swimmers. Additionally, water or weather conditions can cause problems even for a pet that is typically a strong swimmer.
Any dog can get fatigued or disoriented. Older dogs, especially, can tire easily. Pets with low body fat can have trouble when exposed to water for long periods. Health issues, such as hip or joint problems can also make swimming difficult for some pets.
So, while there are no regulations regarding life jackets for pets, a dog life jacket can help keep your pet safe while aboard your boat or around any body of water.
Pet life jackets are designed to keep the animal afloat in a horizontal, swimming position. An additional, important function of a pet life jacket is as a retrieval device, should your pet fall overboard.
How do you choose a life jacket for Fido? Here are a few things to consider:
- Fit—Make sure the life jacket fits securely. It’s best to check the fit in the store, before you buy
- Lifting handles—to make retrieving your pet safer and easier
- Comfort—check to see where straps and buckles fall to make sure they won’t cause your pet any discomfort
- Color—choose a bright color to make it easier to spot your dog in the water
Give your pet a chance to get used to wearing its life jacket before actually getting on a boat. Allow your pet to practice swimming while wearing its life jacket, too.
If you find you pet enjoys boating as much as you do, a dog life jacket can provide your pet with an extra measure of safety. However, your sense of caution and common sense are still your pet’s best friend.