Incidences of dogs drowning in winter are far too commonplace and responsible dog owners are ensuring their best friend wears a dog life jacket all year round, whenever anywhere near water. A dog life jacket can save dogs’ and people’s lives in winter too.
With the bitter cold weather and temperatures reaching upto minus 16 degrees in some parts over the past few weeks in the UK, there have been many sad reports in the media of both dog owners and dogs drowning. It is a certainty that some or maybe all of these fatalities could have been prevented if the dogs had been wearing dog life jackets to protect them.
A few weeks ago, a woman was walking her dog through a large park, near to a lake that had frozen over. Her tiny dog was running around on his own and ventured onto the icy lake to explore and before the woman could reach her small dog, the thin ice broke and the woman started screaming loudly, as the dog quickly disappeared under the ice. “The dog was really struggling and whimpering. It was quite horrible to see it like that”, reported the woman later. Fortunately an extremely brave man came to the rescue, swiftly took off his outer clothing and waded into the icy water and picked up the tiny dog, saving the dog’s life. Even though the lake was shallow, the dog’s ability to swim was severely restricted by the extreme cold.
Just before Christmas two young men were out for a hike with the dog, near a fast flowing icy river. Suddenly the dog decided to follow some wildfowl into the water for a game. The sturdy little dog was not wearing a dog life jacket and was instantly in trouble, frantically fighting to keep his head above water and the dog owner instinctively dived into the river to save his best friend. The icy conditions in the water were such that the current was so strong and the freezing cold temperature got the better of this fit young man and then his
friend on the shore went in the river to try and save the man in the river. Sadly both men were dragged under the icy water and lost their young lives, as did the poor dog.
So how does a dog life jacket work? It keeps a dog’s head above water and works just like a life jacket worn by humans. The buoyancy that the dog life jacket affords means that the dog’s head will not go under water, therefore reducing panic and the need for the dog to waste energy struggling but to swim to safety with the help of the dog life jacket. Most dog life vests have grab handles on the back, making rescue easier – you could use a tree branch, or a stick to pull your dog to safety with the grab handle. The protection a dog life
jacket gives makes the case less compelling to go in dangerous waters after your dog. This would also give you the time to call the emergency services and seek out a safe rescue method for your dog.
If you are going to walk anywhere near water of any kind, make sure your dog is protected by wearing a dog life vest. If your dog normally wears a dog jacket in cold weather, swap it for a dog life jacket and pop a doggy T-shirt or vest underneath for extra warmth – this really does work, as I tried this out last summer with my westie dog in the safety of a friend’s pool with me standing right next to Dougie!