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Do dogs need life jackets?

Do dogs need life jackets?

For safety, you are advised to always use a life jacket for your dog when being in or by the water. Activities like swimming, paddleboarding or being out with a boat, canoe or kayak should all include a life jacket as accidents can happen even to the best swimmers. The risk increases with colder temperatures, when your dog swims longer distances, or when swimming in deep or moving water.

- Even a healthy dog should use a life jacket. Even a fit dog can get cramps when swimming, for example, says canine physical and rehabilitation therapist Marianne Grønvold.

In distress, a dog will often drop their back end causing them to quickly disappear under the surface of the water. A life jacket will help keep your dog afloat and reduce the risk of drowning.

Having your dog wear a life jacket can increase your safety as well. The life jacket makes it easier to handle your dog in case of an emergency. This is particularly important if you have several dogs with you. The support from a life jacket also makes swimming less tiring for your dog, enabling them to swim for longer distances.

- A life jacket is necessary for dogs. First of all because of safety, but also as a part of the training routine. There are dogs with different conditions, there are dogs that aren't natural swimmers, and there are dogs of different ages that need the extra support from a life jacket, says author and canine physical and rehabilitation therapist Line Østerhagen.

When introducing a dog to water for the first time, a life jacket will give them a positive experience with the new element by providing extra support and stability. This helps lay the foundation for lots of fun in the years to come!

How to choose a dog life jacket

A dog life jacket should have a snug fit and sit close to your dog’s body to prevent it from sliding when your dog is moving around in the water. This is the first thing Line looks for when choosing a life jacket.

- It is also important that the life jacket allows the dog to move freely.

In addition to this, Marianne looks for functional features such as a handle to lift or assist the dog if necessary and multiple leash attachment points, allowing her to adjust resistance or direction.

We spent two years developing the Protector life jacket with experts in dog anatomy, biomechanics and buoyancy to take the whole concept of dog life jackets one step further. Dog life jackets are often bulky and hard to move around with. We also struggled finding a life jacket that provided our dogs with both buoyancy and stability in the water. During hot summer days, there is also a risk of overheating when wearing a thick vest.

Unlike other dog buoyancy aids, the foam of the Protector life jacket is placed on the sides only, not on top. This provides increased uplift and freedom of movement. Our unique SAFE-R buoyancy construction is securing that your dog is kept afloat and stable relative to the waterline. The panels are split into sections to allow your dog to turn without being restricted by the vest.

- I have worked as a canine physical and rehabilitation therapist for over 20 years. Of all vests I've seen, the Protector life jacket provides the best freedom of movement, has all necessary functions, and the panels are placed correctly, says Line.

As floating elements on your dog’s back will not improve buoyancy, we have utilized the opportunity to reduce the risk of overheating when wearing the vest in warm temperatures. Our highly breathable HexiVent material combination at the back provides excellent breathability and dries quickly.

The Safe life jacket 2.0 is also an excellent option for water activities with dogs. This life jacket has a traditional design and includes the same functional features the Protector life jacket has, such as a handle, a pocket, multiple leash attachment points and bright color for visibility.

Stay safe and have fun!

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