Do Dogs Need Life Jackets? What To Know For Your Summer Adventures
Before taking your pet boating or swimming this summer, it's important to consider some safety measures. One of the most simple, straightforward things you can do to ensure your pup's safety while swimming is to invest in a durable dog life jacket or swim vest.
Some dog breeds and personalities are more naturally suited to swimming, while others can be hesitant or downright panicky when it comes to water sports. Whether your dog is the Michael Phelps of canines (looking at you, retrievers) or not, it's always a good idea to strap your pooch up in a dog life jacket before hitting the water.
How Do I Know If My Dog Needs A Life Jacket?
If you're going boating or plan to spend a lot of time in or near water, it's a good idea to strap your dog with a dog life vest, just as you do. While it's more necessary for some pets whose bodies aren't naturally suited to swimming, like dachshunds, corgis, pugs, and French bulldogs, even the most energetic, water-friendly breeds can tire, get caught, or struggle in rushing water. And as with any piece of dog clothing, you should let them get used to the life vest before you hit the waves (treats and rewards can help with this part!)
What To Look For In A Dog Life Jacket
Always check the weight limit and read the description carefully to make sure the swim vest you're buying for your dog is designed to hold their weight in water.
Features like bright, fluorescent fabric and reflective trim and accents can help you keep an eye on your pet, especially in murkier lake or pond water.
3. Rescue Handle
A durable top handle makes it easy for you to lift your dog out of the water if they become distressed or tired.
Look for adjustable vests to help you ensure your pooch gets the best, most comfortable fit possible.
Dog Swimming Safety Tips
- Never leave your dog unattended or unwatched near water, even if they are wearing a life jacket.
- Always make sure there's an easy way for your dog to get out of the water.
- Be careful of blue-green algae in ponds—it is toxic to dogs.
- And a good rule of thumb around safety and water quality: If you wouldn't swim in the water, it's safest not to let your dog swim in it, either.
The Best Dog Life Jackets
- Best Overall: Arcadia Trail Dog Life Jacket
- Best Ripstop: Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
- Best Splurge: Float Coat Dog Life Jacket
- Best on Amazon: Outward Hound Granby Life Jacket
- Most Comfortable: YOULY Dog Flotation Vest
- Best for Small Breeds: KONG Sport AquaFloat Dog Flotation Vest
- Best for Large Breeds: EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device
- Most Adorable: Shark Dog Life Jacket