With the snow melting and the rivers on the rise, it comes time to think about dog water safety again.
Many people think dogs are all great swimmers, that the "dog paddle" is something that is pure instinct. It is, but there are some breeds that, while they know how to swim, they just aren't able to for any period of time. Frenchies, Pugs, Bostons, Bulldogs and such, these brachycephalic breeds are front heavy and tire easily, and will sink like a stone.
On the other hand, there are many breeds of "water dogs", retrievers of all sorts, who revel in water play and can swim tirelessly for extended periods. At home in the water, these dogs are built for the job.
Even so, when near fast moving streams in spring, or in open water on a boat, you should protect your pal with a proper floatation device, regardless how good a swimmer they might be.
Every year, hundreds of dogs die in swimming pool mishaps. Just like kids, outfitting your little dogs with PFD's when on the pool deck can be a very important safety measure. Once they figure them out, they can actually encourage the dog to play in the water, safely. Sure, people may laugh at a little dog in a bright orange floatation vest, but safety isn't funny.
There are many styles of doggy life preservers, PFD's as it were (pet floatation device). Because dogs have vastly different shapes and sizes, fitting your pet can be a bit of a chore. The hardest part is fitting a dog with a large / deep chest. Many life vest have adjustment straps that expand around the chest, but some are designed to fit by stepping into the vest and zipping up the back, so the adjustment capability is very limited. This makes ordering a vest difficult, bringing in the animal for a fitting is your best bet.
Like with people PFD's, using them properly is of utmost importance. If they are not properly fitted, sized and worn, they will not provide the protection you pet needs.
There are added features on a pet PFD as well. Most will have lifting handles on the back of the device which will allow you to pick up the animal and return it to the boat, dock or shore.
Many life jackets now have small floatation bumper in the front to keep the dogs head above water. Other features include reflective fabrics, designer colours and quick release buckles.
Take your dog in, have them fitted, and don't be afraid to spend a little money on this very important safety device. Your pet is worth it.