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Should My Boxer Wear A Life Jacket?

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Photo Courtesy #Hannah_andthemoose

The answer is a resounding YES! Most people think of dogs as natural swimmers. Yes, it's generally true, most of them have a natural instinct and ability to paddle those paws to get from point A to point B. However, there’s a minority that are not equipped with that natural reflex, and even those that do swim well could benefit from the added buoyancy of a dog life jacket.

Do all dogs know how to swim?

No. Most dogs will start to #doggypaddle when in water, but this does not mean they can swim or even stay afloat for more than a few seconds. This applies to athletic dogs as well.

Brachycephalic breeds, like Boxers, are at an anatomical disadvantage in the water. Because of their shorter snouts and cropped tails, Boxers have a much more difficult time keeping their nose and mouth above water. Combine this difficulty with a heavier chest and you can understand why some boxers are better sinkers than swimmers.

Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, you should absolutely consider using a dog life jacket for most water activities. You know your dog best, but here are several instances where you should definitely throw a life jacket on your dog:

  • Rough waves, strong currents, deep water, and large bodies of water. Unlike us, dogs cannot perceive when rough waters are unsafe nor communicate when their legs are tiring. Fearless dogs that love swimming will jump into any water without comprehending the risks.

  • Boating. All dogs should wear life jackets when boating. Dogs don't have sea legs and can easily fall into the water unexpectedly. In a "dog overboard" situation like this, a doggy life jacket will keep your pup afloat and allow you to quickly grab him or her via the jacket's back-side "safety handle".

  • Swimming pools. Should your dog have to wear a life jacket every time he or she is swimming in a pool? Not necessarily. If your dog is a skilled swimmer AND you're in the water with your dog the whole time, a life jacket may be unnecessary. If there's any chance you won't be focused on your dog while swimming, however, definitely throw a life vest on your dog. 

  • Senior and/or injured dogs. Senior dogs can tire easily and have no way of telling us when their bodies are tiring. Similarly, injured dogs may not recognize their physical disadvantage.

There's always exceptions to the rule but why chance it. While most dog parents know a dog life jacket can aid in swimming or floatation, few are aware that many water accidents involving canines actually occur from boaters, fishermen, jet skiers, and other water goers not being able to see a dog in time to avoid collision.

Please don't put your dog at risk this summer. Instead, pick up a #doglifejacket - it's easy as pie to leave in the car for those hot summer days when heading to the lake or river is a must.

Dog Life Jackets

It’s all fun and games until someone hauls out the life jackets, right? But really, the sporty new canine life jackets aren’t like the bulky, orange 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 along with high visibility. That's a win-win in our book!

Must-Have Features

Most dog life jackets look pretty similar, so choosing can feel a bit overwhelming. Well, fortunately, that's where we step in as your personal pooch product assistant. Let's run through the top things to consider when buying a dog life jacket, so that you'll better understand what your dog needs and you two can hit the water that much faster:

  • Adjustable Fit - To ensure comfort and safety.

  • Grab handle — Makes it easy to lift your fur baby into the boat or onto a dock.

  • D-ring attachment loop — If you’re not able to lift your dog out of the water yourself or if there’s a strong current nearby, clipping on a leash might help keep him nearby until you can get more help.

  • High Visibility — Choose a bright color so boaters, water skiers, river runners and you can spot your dog in the water.

  • Reflective trim — Again, these help provide more visibility if you plan on splashing in the water after the sun sets.

  • Neck float panels — Expand the recovery time and are designed to help keep your dog’s head above water in deep or rough waters in the event of an accident.

  • Quick release straps- Means you don't have to fiddle with buckles for several minutes before you can let your dog run off in naked freedom.

Our favorite picks: #outwardhound and #ruffwear.

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.

Have we managed to convince you to get your dog a life jacket? We sure hope so.


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