Whether your dog is a natural born swimmer or a pool-side party pooper (no pun intended), a swim safety vest is a "must" investment if he's around water above his neck.
Yes, I have one of those party poopers who fell into a deep pool without a vest. Maybe he would have been a 'swimmer,' if he had been introduced to the pool less shockingly, but this incident was not a great introduction to his aquatic future. Fortunately, I saw him fall, so I was able to jump in quickly, grab his struggling body, and carry him out, but I always think, "What if I wasn't watching him?"
"Oh dear. I think I made the wrong turn...." (via)
The insurer Nationwide® estimates that thousands of dogs drown each year, but actual statistics are very difficult to gather, as most pet owners don't report these deaths. One thing that veterinarians and pet insurers warn is that owners of brachycephalic dogs, like pugs and bull dogs, who have relative short, flat faces, should be particularly watchful of their dogs near water.
Whether your dog is a seasoned swimmer or a newbie, you should always be on alert when your dog is in or near the water - pool, lake, river, or ocean water - wherever you are. Even the best canine swimmer can drown if she suddenly chokes, is frightened, or is disabled by environmental conditions in the water. That is why you must protect your dog with a safety vest.
Neck Floatation Aids
Neck floatation aids have been added to many manufactured versions of dog safety vests. They are attached at the neck of the vest just under your dog's head and they help reduce pressure on your dog's neck from having to keep his head up while swimming. This addition is brilliant and vital to many dogs. Not all dogs need this addition, but several companies have made their neck floatation aids detachable.
I think you will like this life jacket. It is highly reviewed, comes in many sizes and colors, and has many other safety features. It has doubled its padding, it uses 600 D ripstop nylon, has two under belly closures for good balance, and it has a closure at the neck for extra security. I like the fact that the colors are all bright and they have reflective trim.
As with any jacket for your dog, you want to make sure to measure your dog very carefully. I like the company's advice: "Measure Twice, Buy Once."
You can seldom go wrong buying anything made by Outward Hound, but its Dawson Dog Life Jacket has extra foam padding to keep your dog afloat so she doesn't have to work so hard. Foam is a great flotation material. It weighs next to nothing and has supreme buoyancy.
This Dog Life Jacket is made of neoprene, as opposed to nylon, which will keep dogs warmer in cold water.
What I also appreciate about the Outward Hound Dawson are the "rescue handles." They are strong, enabling you to pull your dog out of the water if he tires. Some have used the handle to lift their dogs from water into their boats, and they report success but Outward Hound doesn't suggest this use.
Bright colors are an absolute necessity. I don't know why so many life vests are manufactured in gray! You can't miss this bright red Life Jacket in the water.
Our prior review of canine life jackets is very extensive, but recently, I'd been seeing a lot of styles with fins, and I wondered what practical benefit they added to fin-less styles. Though manufacturers seem to emphasize the more dramatic 'shark-like' appearance of the jackets, I did not find a description that mentioned a functional aspect of the fins.
There are three potential functions, though, that I figured out (all by myself):
1) fins are another method to get a hold of your dog if she is swimming in front of you and you need to grab her,
2) fins offer another way (in addition to the jacket handles) to help you lift your dog up, if you are on a dock or in a boat and she is in the water below, and
3) fins are a way of spotting your dog as they actually stick out of the water, but only if they are in bright colors.
The SwimWays Sea Squirts Dog Life Vest With Fin is a popular, well-made life vest with a fin placed near the mid-back of your dog. It has a strong lifting handle with a D-ring underneath in case you want to attach a leash. The strap closures are well-positioned at the tummy and front of the dog and I like the fact that the front is well-padded for buoyancy.
The Sea Squirts Dog Life Vest is only available in sizes small and medium but the sizes do extend pretty far....
You'll note that the above dog life vests are not for teacup dogs. The extra-small size of the Froshine Dog Life Jacket fit dogs 4.4 pounds up to 8 pounds.
The above vests represent the latest and greatest styles of dog life vests with new life-saving features. Look at these and others with the same features for your dog's next life jacket.
That's the buzz for today!