When do Dogs need Life Jackets?

The truth is not all dogs can swim and not all those that can 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, and older dogs, especially, can tire easily. Pets with low body fat can have trouble when exposed to water for extended periods. Health issues, such as hip or joint problems, can also make swimming difficult for some pets.

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 (even swimming pools).

Pet life jackets are designed to keep the animal afloat in a horizontal, swimming position. The pet life jacket also serves 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.
    • For the best fit, make sure to measure your dog’s girth and torso and choose a matching size.

  • Lifting handles—to make retrieving your pet safer and easier.
    • If you’ll be needing to pull your dog out of the water, you’ll want strong handles on the dog life jacket.
  • Comfort—check to see where straps and buckles fall to make sure they won’t cause your pet any discomfort.
    • Make sure dog is comfortable, can sit and lie down comfortably, and can relieve himself.
  • Color—choose a bright color to make it easier to spot your dog in the water.
    • Brightly colored vests help your dog stay visible in the water and protect against boaters or jet skiers. Many vests also feature reflective material for even more visibility.

Give your pet a chance to get used to wearing its life jacket before 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.

Bruce and Suzanne Gagliolo own and operate Dog-Mania & Cats Pet Boutique, where dog & cat owners go to scratch their itch.

The large storefront in Dade City carries:

  • Holistic foods, treats, and supplements
  • Strollers, carriers, bedding, and ID tags
  • Breed specific jewelry, art, clocks, figurines, stickers, and more
  • Apparel and accessories
  • Personalized gifts made from photos

The Gagliolos are strong supporters of local charities and pet rescues. Stop by the store at 37846 Meridian Ave., Dade City, FL 33525 Monday through Friday from 10am to 6 pm and Saturday from 9-5. Call 352-467-9622 for more info.