How to Choose a Life Jacket for Your Pet

The truth is that not all dogs/cats 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. So, while there are no regulations regarding life jackets for pets, a 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.

Steps

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    Make sure the life jacket fits securely. It’s best to check the fit in the store, before you buy. Take your pet along for a fitting.
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    Look for a life jacket with lifting handles to make retrieving your pet safer and easier.
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    Check to see where straps and buckles fall to make sure they won’t cause your pet any discomfort.
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    Choose a bright color to make it easier to spot your pet in the water.
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    Give your pet a chance to get used to wearing his life jacket before actually getting on a boat.
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    Allow your dog to practice swimming while wearing his life jacket, too.
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    Set sail. Make sure your pet has his life jacket on at all times and be sure to make any adjustments needed before your attention is captured by the sailing.

Warnings

  • Any dog can get fatigued or disoriented.
  • Dogs 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 dogs.
  • Older dogs, especially, can tire easily.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Boats | Pets and Animals