I am often asked many questions regarding dog life jackets, so I think it is helpful to explain why a dog life jacket is a good idea – have a read of this article first which I researched for our sister site www.edoglifejacket.com in the states.
Sobering, grim facts weren’t they…
Surely all dogs can swim? This is the most frequently asked question.
No, all dogs can’t swim, it’s a myth – many can – just like humans, the ratio of swimmers to non-swimmers is about the same and even if a dog can swim, they may find themselves in situations, through accidents, just as people do, where they are unable to swim in water – such as falling overboard from a boat and the waves are too strong to keep afloat or out walking in winter a dog slips on a muddy bank and falls in an icy river – unfortunately this is a very common occurrence – ACCIDENTS DON’T JUST HAPPEN IN THE SUMMER AT THE BEACH.
Many people die trying to rescue their dog – read this sad extract from http://www.thefreelibrary.com 2009
“A HUNTER has drowned and his friend was last night also feared to be dead after they fell through ice trying to rescue their dog from an icy lake.
Wildfowlers Paul Litchfield and Philip Surridge were shooting geese flying over the lake when their black labrador plunged into the freezing water during blizzard conditions on Monday afternoon.
One man got into trouble trying to rescue the distressed dog, prompting his friend to rush to his aid,
Police and fire crews were immediately called to the scene but snow and the freezing weather hindered the search.
Yesterday the body of one of the men was recovered by underwater search teams. It has not yet been formally identified.
The search for the second body had to be postponed last night. The dog was found unharmed nearby.”
Certainly, if the dog was wearing a dog life jacket (sometimes called a dog flotation device) in this sad accident which happened last year in Northamptonshire, the man wouldn’t have had to go in after the dog – he could have had the peace of mind at least that the dog would stay buoyant and therefore just called out an emergency service from the safety of dry land, then the dog would have probably been quickly rescued by the grab hook on the dog life vest or as happened the dog luckily found his way to dry land.
This extract inquest report is from the Northern Echo 2010
“Man drowned trying to save his dogs, inquest told a man drowned after refusing to let go of his two dogs, which had fallen through ice on a frozen river, an inquest heard.
John Butterfield died after trying to rescue his pets when they strayed from the bank of the River Tees, in Stockton, during severe winter weather.
The dog-lover fell through the ice about five metres from the shore on January 11th.
Rescuers grabbed a tree branch to try to reach Mr Butterfield,but failed because he refused to let go of the dogs. Teesside Coroners’ Court heard yesterday how passers-by Alan Wheatley and Steve Canham risked their own lives to try to save Mr Butterfield.
Mr Wheatley, of Hartburn, said: “The man tried to grab the log, but was still keeping hold of the dogs.
“I shouted ‘let go of the dogs’. I could see that the dogs were preventing him grabbing the log. The man would not let go of the dogs. He went under the water.”
Mr Canham, from Billingham, said: “I could see there was no way he was going to get out of the water with the dogs. I shouted ‘mate, the dogs have had it’. The man with me said ‘save yourself’.
“He seemed to let go of the log and disappeared under the water.
“The dog leads were still in his hands. We shouted ‘let go of the dogs and save yourself’.”
The emergency services pulled Mr Butterfield unconscious from the water. He died shortly after arriving at The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
So a man and his two dogs died in this tragic accident.
These accidents happen far too often and the only answer is to ensure your dog is wearing a dog life jacket when you are anywhere near water – I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if anything like that happened to Dougie, my lovely westie boy – he’s been wearing a dog life vest for 2 years now as living in the Lake District we frequently walk near lakes and also on the harbour in our home town all year round.
Dogs who swim or play/walk near water are more vulnerable if:
• your dog can’t swim
• your dog is a puppy
• your dog is elderly – they tire easily
• your dog is short muzzled – i.e. like a boxer - dogs with short muzzles often have breathing problems and they have difficulty in keeping their noses above water so may inhale water into their lungs
• your dog has breathing problems, epilepsy, heart problems or any other serious medical problem
• your dog is small
• your dog is very short haired – longer haired dog breeds have a little more buoyancy due to the weight of their coat
• you have your own pool – many dogs drown in their owners pools, as they tire trying to get out if there are no steps they can use (special pool ramps can be fitted so your dog can get out easily)
• you are taking your dog on a boat
• you are taking your dog near cold or icy water
On a more positive note a dog life jacket has other benefits, apart from the obvious compelling benefit of safety:
It enables many non-swimming dogs to swim. Many dogs, believe it or not, do not know how to swim. I have heard many stories from pet owners that got their scared, old, or non-swimming dogs (Dobermans, Boxers, etc) to swim as a result of wearing a dog life jacket.
It reduces fatigue allowing dogs to swim for longer, thus extending exercise and fun times playing in the water!
Interestingly in Iceland many polar bears were losing their lives through drowning as there is widespread ice-melt due to global warming and now they have been protected with life jackets to preserve the animals.
A dog life vest on dry land acts just like a waterproof dog coat, so really it is a dual purpose product with in-built safety – a potential life saver for your precious dog ALL YEAR ROUND.
See Dougie’s eDog recommended dog life Jacket and protect your best friend today!
A dog life jacket keeps a dogs head above water which means less chance of swallowing sea water.