2001-Tue Jan 17 12:17:12 MST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
It’s all fun at the beach until someone hauls out the life jackets, right? But really, the sporty new canine life jackets aren’t like the bulky, mattress-like vests you used to strap on when you were at camp. Now, it’s easy to find one that’s not only comfortable for your dog but provides extra buoyancy to help prevent him from getting overly fatigued.
Still, the best thing about having your
wear a life jacket is that it really could help prevent a tragedy.
While there are no reliable statistics on the number of dogs that drown each year, the human statistics are sobering enough. According to the United States Coast Guard, drowning is the leading cause of death in boating accidents, accounting for 77 percent of
boating fatalities. In most of these cases, the victim went into the water unexpectedly.
More than 80 percent were not wearing a life jacket, a tragic oversight that could have saved many of them.
It’s easy to see how a dog could leap off a boat after a duck or lose his footing when the boat is rocked by the wake of another boat. And you can’t assume that your
dog will be able to swim his way out of it. In fact, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most boating accident victims actually know how to swim, but they may be injured or unconscious or can suffer from exhaustion or hypothermia — all potential risks for your dog as well.
Of course, water accidents aren’t limited to boating. They can happen while swimming in rivers, lakes and even the family pool.
First, a word of caution: Even with the best-designed life jackets, some dogs may be better off on shore. Flat-nosed, barrel-chested dogs with short legs, such as
aren’t built for swimming and can easily suffer
heat exhaustion in the blazing sun. And dogs with
epilepsy or a history of seizures are probably safer playing Frisbee on the beach. Dogs with cardiac or respiratory disease are probably best staying on dry land, too. If you aren’t sure whether or not swimming is a safe activity for your dog for any reason, check with your vet before hitting the water.
But if you have a healthy dog who can’t wait to get his paws wet, here are some features that can help you find the vest that’s right for him:
When you get down to it, a life jacket helps safeguard your dog so he can have more
dock-diving, dog-paddling, boating fun with you all summer long.
Come to think of it, maybe you owe it to him to wear a life jacket, too!
More on Vetstreet:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Electronic cigarettes may be growing in
popularity, but their higher concentrations
of nicotine can poison cats and…
Are you handling your pet the right way?
Our vet shares five things your pup wishes
you knew about picking him up.
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
The laid-back American Wirehair’s crimped, coarse coat requires almost no brushing or combing.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.