Pet Emergencies: The Importance of Life Jackets for Dogs (FAQs 2021)


People think that dogs are good swimmers by nature. However, this is far not like that. Surely, certain breeds, Labrador Retriever, for instance, are natural swimmers. But there are dogs that loathe the water, while others are simply afraid of it. They would freeze at the water’s end and refuse to go in by all means. And the last thing a dog owner wants is to have his four-legged friend fall overboard. This could be a real nightmare for dogs who can’t swim. Especially for such cases, manufacturers offer life jackets designed for dogs. With the help of a life jacket, your natural swimmer will face rough waves safely, while dogs which are not natural swimmers can start enjoying and loving water.

Life jackets made for dogs are available in most diverse colors, all of which, yet, are bright and noticeable from afar. Some models also feature neon stripes and accents to make your dog vivid in the water when it’s dark.

Neoprene is the material most life jackets are made of. This amazingly lightweight synthetic rubber material is entirely resistant to water, weather (wind, heat, cold, etc.), and oil.

An important feature every quality life jacket for a dog should have is comfortability. The freedom of movements is crucial for every dog, as these creatures are extremely active. No jacket should restrict a dog’s chasing, running, and swimming motions.

Today, there are different dog life jacket sizes you should be guided by first of all.

Different Dog Life Jacket Sizes

Small Size Jackets

Small dogs, as a rule, are not natural swimmers. Moreover, they do not even seem to like water. And if you are planning to spend a day near the water, your dog can’t do without a dog life jacket. Life jackets of different sizes do not differ from one another in their structure, design or material choice. Representatives of Terrier, Papillon, Spaniel, Shih Tzu, Pomeranian, Maltese and other breeds fit into this category and need pretty little life jackets.

Additionally, if you have a puppy and you want him to learn swimming as soon as possible, an XXS dog life jacket is what you should get first. These are tiny jackets designed to provide comfort and safety to the smallest dogs and puppies.

Medium Size Jackets

Dogs having medium sizes such as Akita, Foxhound, Staffordshire Terriers, Australian Shepherd need well fitting life jackets that can provide a decent level of security in the water. A series of brands offer amazing products make medium-size jackets with velcro,  fasteners, clips, and even zippers. As these dogs are heavier than small ones, the firm fastening really matters a lot.

Big Size Jackets

Bigger dogs need bigger and firmer jackets. It’s mandatory to check the manufacturer’s sizing guide to make the right choice. Only a perfectly-fitting life jacket can serve its purpose and save your dog in case of an emergency. The seams should be firm, the straps should stay tight, and the structure of the jacket should not hamper the dog’s urinating.

If your pet is a healthy Boerboel, Anatolian Shepherd, Bullmastiff, Doberman, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Mastiff, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, you may need an XL dog life jacket or even an XXL dog life jacket. Everything, in this case, depends on the dog’s age and weight.

Interesting Facts About Life Jackets For Dogs

  1. Due to the thick coating, enhanced muscular body, unsurpassed swimming abilities and the endless love toward water activities, Newfoundlands are most often incorporated into saving drowning people.
  2. Originally, the unique haircut of the Poodle was meant to facilitate the dog’s swimming and improve their agility in the water. The Poodles’ pom-poms were intended to warm the dogs’ joints in the water.
  3. The short legs of Dachshunds, Boxers, and Bulldogs make them bad swimmers. Short-faced dogs, meanwhile, fatigue easily and swim with immense difficulty.
  4. Some hunting dogs are so focused on retrieving the catch, that they go far in the water not paying attention to the coldness of the water or their tired muscles, and get drowned.
  5. A good swimming dog can swim up to two-three hours, and cross as much as five nautical miles. A dog known as Prince once crossed the English Channel.

How To Choose The Right Size Of A Life Jacket For Your Dog?

Choosing a life jacket for your four-legged friend, it’s crucial to pay attention to the size chart offered by manufacturers. In case the life jacket is either smaller or bigger for your pet, it won’t preserve its rescuing properties. Even the best dog life jacket will become useless if sized improperly. It’s important to consider the weight of your dog, as a jacket designed for lighter dogs won’t provide the same security level of keeping the dog afloat when worn by a heavier dog. You will also need to measure the chest of your pet behind the armpit, the dog’s back length and the neck circumference. Here is a size chart you need to be guided by when choosing a life jacket for your dog:

How To Wash Your Dogs’ Life Jacket?

Dogs’ life jackets need proper care. They should be washed after each use. Most life jackets can be safely machine washed. Just make sure the jacket is completely dry prior to storing it. Otherwise, it will have signs of mold and mildew, as well as smell bad once you pull it out of the storage at the beginning of the next summer. If this happened, however, you can «save» your dog’s life jacket by submerging it into the solution of water and salt (1/2 cup of salt for 1 liter of water) for an entire day. After you take it out of the solution, scrub the jacket accurately, wash it with a solution of water and dishwasher detergent, rinse with clean water, and dry it. Make sure the jacket is exposed to much sun and gets completely dry before the next use.

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