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Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer With a Dog Life Jacket

We’re officially out of winter and heading into spring, and that means that summer is just around the corner, a few months away.  And summertime means lots of fun activities outdoors with your canine pal!  If you enjoy water based activities, you know how much more fun they can be if you have your dog along with you.  If you want to take your dog along while you are fishing, boating, swimming, or enjoying other water sport adventures, then you’ll need a dog flotation device that can keep your furry friend safe.

Dog Life Jackets 

How do you find the best dog life jacket?  The most important first step is to find a dog life vest which fits.  Measure your dog so that you can pick a jacket which will provide an ideal fit.  You might think this would be tricky online, but measurements on the page make it simple to determine whether your dog wears XXS, XS, Small, Medium, or Large.  Don’t try to go by weight only; this won’t give you an accurate sizing measurement.

High quality dog swim vests are adjustable around the girth as well as the chest and neck areas.  You want to get a dog life jacket in a bright color so that you can easily spot your dog if he is in the water.  You may think that all life jackets for dogs are bulky and uncomfortable, but just as there are comfortable, fitted life jackets available for humans, you can also find comfortable jackets for dogs that fit closely and aren’t unwieldy.  It may be easier to get your dog to accept a life vest which isn’t overwhelming.  A grab handle on the back is important too, because this can help you to rescue your dog if he is in the water.  It also makes it easier to lift your dog into your boat and back out again.

If your pooch isn’t used to dog lake accessories, then you’ll want to order your life jacket well in advance of when you’re planning your outings.  That makes spring the perfect time to start shopping for summer dog accessories.  You’ll want to train your dog to get used to wearing the life jacket before you take your dog out with you on a boat.   This also gives you a chance to learn how to properly adjust the dog life jacket straps so that your dog is comfortable but can’t get out of the vest.  

Some dogs will take to wearing new accessories without much of a fuss, while others will give you a hard time.  If your dog is averse to wearing other garments, expect some resistance at first when you put on the life jacket.  Use positive reinforcement techniques so that your dog will associate wearing the life vest with receiving a treat, going on a walk, or doing something else enjoyable.

Then you might give your dog a chance to get used to wearing the vest in the water in a safe situation, like a swimming pool if you have access to one.  That way your dog has a chance to get used to the vest and understand what it can do before you head out on a lake or take a boat out on the ocean.  You also can test the life vest this way.  You don’t want to wait until an emergency to find out if your dog life jacket is doing what it needs to.

It’s a common misconception that all dogs know how to swim.  Many dogs are uncomfortable around water and have a hard time staying afloat, especially if they get anxious.  Even a dog which swims well can lose control in a panic (just like a human being).  In situations where there are strong current, your dog can be in even greater danger without a life vest.  That’s why pet life vests aren’t just an accessory.  They are essential for the safety of your dog, and can make the difference between life and death in an emergency.  Water safety vests also can give both you and your pooch some peace of mind, which can make outings more fun for both of you.


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- All prices in Canadian dollars.

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