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Life Jackets for Dogs. Dog safety in the water.

Life Jackets for Dogs. Keep yourr dog safe in the water.
If you and your dog lead active lives outdoors, have you ever considered fitting your dog with a life jacket if your activities involve the water? Accidents do happen to both humans and animals so keep your dog safe by fitting them with a life jacket designed for your dog.

Are all dogs good swimmers?

are all dogs good swimmers life jackets for dogs
Some dogs love to swim whether it’s at the beach or in a dog friendly lake. But not all dogs are made for the water. It’s a common misconception that all dogs are naturally born swimmers and can take to swimming like ‘a duck to water’. But in truth not every dog is a strong swimmer and are built for the water. Most dogs instinctively make a paddling motion if they happen to end up in water but not every dog’s paddling technique is effective to keeping them afloat.
Some dogs may not even have the inclination to move towards the side of the lake or come to shore. Dogs generally fall into one of three categories. There are dogs who are natural born swimmers, dogs who are not built to survive in the water, and dogs that can be taught to swim.

Breeds that are great swimmers

dog breeds built for swimming
Dogs who are good in the water tend to be medium to large in size with water resistant coats and webbing between their toes. These type of dogs have been bred with working in water. These breeds include most retrievers, including the Labrador, the golden retriever and the Chesapeake Bay retriever. There are even some breeds that actually have the word ‘water’ included in their breed name like the Irish Water Spaniel, the Portuguese Water Dog and the American Water Spaniel.
Newfoundlands, despite their large size, are also great swimmers. Other breeds comfortable swimming in the water include Irish and English setters, the standard poodle, and the Schipperke.

Breeds not built for swimming

Breeds not built for swimming
Dogs who are not designed for the water are top heavy dogs that have large deep chests, small hind legs and short muzzles. Dogs with short legs don’t swim well in water. Boxer dogs, Bulldogs and Dachshunds are not all that great at staying afloat. Some small breeds will tire very easily if paddling or swimming in water. The Pug dog is a prime example, especially due to the abnormal structure of their respiratory organs.
Some small dogs do appear to be good swimmers when they start paddling, but they do get cold and chilly quite quickly, which can turn to fear. These small dogs are also not all that great in the water.

Getting your dog used to water

Getting your dog used to the water
Some family activities may include swimming. Family holidays or days out with your dog may include days beside a pool, a lake or the sea. Or you may hire a boat for the day and take the whole family out for a cruise. As you would with infants, make sure you take some safety precautions with your dog also.
If your dog is new to the water, ease them into it very slowly. Always use a personal flotation device (PFD) or life preserver. Your dog may not take to the water or enjoy the experience immediately so take care with them. Even if you own a swimming breed like a retriever, don’t just put them in the water straight away, especially if they have never swam before.
Some dogs won’t need coaxing into the water as they will just dive in. ut with some dogs you may have to introduce them to water gradually. get them used to water in a shallow area. If by the sea, slowly paddle in, inviting your dog in with you. Like an infant, they will get a feel of the water around their limbs. If they do follow you in, give your dog plenty of praise, then they will get the sense that this is a good thing.
If your dog is not a ‘water breed’ then some coaxing and encouragement may be needed over a period of time. Stay with them and always fit them with a life jacket designed for dogs.
If you dig appears to be comfortable swimming you could throw a floating toy to see if they go and retrieve it. If they do go for it, encourage them to swim back to you. Again, give them more praise.
If your dog is comfortable in the water and actually enjoys swimming, it won’t be long before they just dive in themselves.

Floatation Vests for Dogs

Floatation Vests and Life Jackets for Dogs
No matter how much a good swimmer your dog is, always have a floatation vest handy when planning any water activities with a dog. Even the very best canine swimmers get tired, especially if the water is deep. Older dogs and younger dogs tire more easily than fit adult dogs, so always make sure your dog never overdoes it in the water, and because they cannot tell you, keep them afloat with a life jacket.
If you are planning a whole day boating or a lot of swimming, then take a floatation vest with you on the trip. Fit the vest onto your dog before you begin any water activity. Dogs can go into the water unnoticed so make sure they are fitted with a vest beforehand. If for some reason your dog does get lost at sea, the floatation vest will keep them afloat and the bright colouring of the vest will make it easier for you to spot them.
A lot of unfamiliar waters may have strong currents, steep drop offs that could easily put your dog in danger and pull them under the water. Again, a floatation vest is a safe way to keep them buoyant.
Even if your dog is not a fan of the water still keep them in a floatation vest, just in case they fall into the water by accident. For only around £20 you will be keeping your dog extremely safe, like you would with the younger members of the family. Always be extremely careful when near the water.
The cost of life jackets for dogs range from around £10 to about £60. Obviously the size of your dog will increase the price, but they all have the same function of keeping your dog afloat. They all tend to fasten around your dogs body using secure buckle fastenings or ultra strong velcro tabs. The life preserver will usually have layers of floatation material and a quick grab handle running along the spine of the vest. This is for quickly pulling your dog out of the water. Look out for life jackets that are designed to keep your dog warm in the water, which will stop them from getting hypothermia.
All good dog life jackets will be brightly coloured, some may even have reflective strips attached to the jacket which is perfect for dimly lit situations. Your dog will be easily spotted if they happent o drift out to sea.

Dog Life Jacket Sizing

Dog Life Jacket Sizing
When looking for a life jacket for your dog, you will need to take some measurements of your dog before browsing and buying.
A. Measure length of pet’s back from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.
B. Measure neck circumference.
C. Measure the broadest part of the chest.
If the measurement is between sizes, we recommend going up one size. Also, if your dog has a stout build, a deep chest, or is overweight, we recommend going up a minimum of one size for a proper fit. If the dog is long-backed, like a Dachshund, a smaller size is recommended.


top tips on treating heatstroke in dogs
Another thing to be careful about is heatstroke. Although playing in the water can cool off your dog, the hot sun can still be a problem for your pet. Dogs can get heatstroke far more easily than humans. So if you do decide to take your dog out on a boat or take them to the beach make sure that that they have some shade, plenty of water to drink and that their feet are protected from hot sand or hot surfaces.

Symptoms of heatstroke:

Your dog will become sluggish and apathetic
Your dog will be constantly thirsty
Your dog may be vomiting
Your dog may have thick saliva
Your dog may have an increased heart rate
They may have shortness of breath
They will stick their tongue out and begin whining
They may have a bright red tongue and pale gums
There maybe some movement disorder
If your dog does start to get over heated, fill a container with water and gently pour it over them, starting at the back of their neck and then work towards the tail. Move your fingers through their fur. Fur acts as an insulating blanket trapping heat, so opening it up and exposing the skin underneath to air can help the dog to cool down faster.
Get them to roll over and then pour cool water over their belly as well. AVOID using ice or iced water, this will only close up the pores of their skin and make the heatstroke even worse. Get them into some shade or a cool room with a cooling fan.
When your dog comes around, try to give them a small quantity of water to drink. As you are cooling down your dog, call an emergency vet clinic for advice on treating the dog’s heatstroke. You may be asked to take them to a vet for a check up. Even if the dog does appears to be recovering from the heatstroke, there may be internal damage. It’s best to have a check-up to be reassured of the all-clear.
  • Dog Life Jackets on
  • Dog Life Jackets on
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