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Dogs are known to be avid swimmers, but it’s important to outfit your pup with a pooch PFD. Plus, we give your our picks for the best dog life jackets.

One of the key deciding factors to where we camp during the summer is the quality of the leash free zone available to vacationing pooches. One of our favorites has the most amazing beach for ball-throwing and better still, a large cap rock where sticks can be tossed for dogs that love to feel the air between them and the water before splash down. During one visit when our big black lab Chase jumped in to fetch a stick and just kept on swimming, out past the target and seemingly towards an island a couple miles out. It took a lot of frantic calling to get his attention and ultimately turn him back towards shore, but such is the nature of the water-loving pooch that seems compelled to paddle to exhaustion

Let’s face it, while we all love to see our little guys enjoying water sports it’s as important to monitor their activities and whereabouts as those of a young child. Rivers have currents, docks have entry points but sometimes few suitable exits for a tired dog and poor judgment calls (à la Chase) can result in longer than expected swims and pooped pooches struggling to find shore.

I know we all love to see our dogs swimming commando but there are times when a little support is needed to ensure his safety and our peace of mind. Thankfully today’s manufacturers have addressed this need via a series of streamlined designs that ensure ease of mobility and superior safety features for our water-loving sidekicks.

Some tips to making the right choice for your pet?
Read more about the Pooch PFDs: Why Your Dog Needs a Life Jacket at

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I prefer my dogs to swim commando, I can't imagine hauling a lifejacket along to the local pond:__ but the story of the lab swimming out to the island is a good warning.
I was swimming with my previous dog, gsd, and she was pretty driven to get her toy, but probably less comfortable in the water than I thought.
We sent her out to get a frisbee, and suddenly she was just forging ahead, with intent focus on the opposite and incredibly distant shoreline. I was close enough to see the change in expression, see it was fear and stress driving her and realize that she had forgotten where 'shore' was and was going into a panic, so I hauled her back and once she saw the near 'shore' all was good again.
It is something to keep in mind with a dog new to swimming, or new to a great lake, or first time on a larger lake, ocean, etc...
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