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Some German Shepherds love to swim while others just aren’t as comfortable in or around water. Even if your dog is a confident swimmer, you should probably keep them in a life vest especially in larger bodies of water.
But how do you know when your dog actually needs one? And what are the best life jackets for German Shepherds?
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Why Your German Shepherd May Need A Life Jacket?
Life jackets for dogs are useful in many different situations. For GSDs in particular, the benefits of using one might not be immediately obvious because of their size and confident nature.
Here are a few reasons why your German Shepherd may need a life jacket:
1) Your dog can’t swim
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs instinctively know how to swim. Whether it’s because your dog has not had the opportunity to learn or they simply just can’t get the hang of it. Having a life jacket will help your GSD boost their confidence in the water while also keeping them safe.
2) Your dog has never been in water
If your dog hasn’t had much exposure to large bodies of water, they might be wary of getting inside for the first time. There’s a chance they’ll get nervous if they struggle to keep their head above water.
Having a dog life jacket will eliminate that fear, make the experience more enjoyable, and help them to actually like being in the water.
3) You want to be ready in case of accidents
Accidents happen even to the most sure-footed boaters and experienced swimmers. In water, swimming skills aren’t always enough.
Just like humans, dogs should wear life vests for any water-related activities in deeper water. This will keep their heads above water in case of an accident.
It will also make them easier to spot in case they get swept away by the current and become separated from you.
4) Your dog is older
Swimming is an excellent way for senior GSDs to keep moving without putting too much strain on their joints. However, having to paddle continuously just to keep their heads above water will tire them out more quickly.
Wearing a life vest will enable them to join in on the fun without them having to continuously paddle as vigorously.
5) You want to have fun for longer
Even confident swimmers will benefit from a good dog life jacket because wearing one in the water will help them use up less energy from paddling.
This means they can enjoy being in the water for longer without the risk of overexerting themselves. Also, they’ll be able to focus on playing rather than staying afloat.
Things To Look For In A German Shepherd Life Jacket
Choosing a life jacket for your German Shepherd is an important and even lifesaving decision.
You want to make sure it doesn’t restrict their movement too much that it hinders their fun. Most importantly, you need to make sure it does the job of keeping them safe.
Whether you’re looking for the best life jacket for your German Shepherd or any other dog breed, here are your most critical considerations:
Getting the size right is critical to making sure the life jacket does its job of keeping your dog safe in water. When choosing the size, you need to consider your dog’s exact measurements.
How to choose the perfect size for your dog’s life jacket:
- Step 1: Measure your dog’s girth. Measure around the largest part of your dog’s torso. That’s typically around the ribcage. This will make sure the life jacket is snug but not restrictive.
- Step 2: Measure your dog’s length. Measure your dog’s scruff to the base of their tail. This will help make sure their weight is properly distributed when they’re floating.
- Step 3: Check the product’s sizing chart. Find the right size based on your dog’s measurements.
Apart from getting the fit right, you should make sure the product you choose can keep your dog afloat. Check your dog’s weight against the product’s weight rating and make sure it has enough floatation capacity.
Not all German Shepherds like wearing clothes, and that includes life vests. Your best chance of having your dog want to keep the life jacket on is to make sure it’s comfortable.
Try to look for a style and material that won’t restrict their movement and will enable them to forget that it’s even there.
The material of your dog’s life jacket will directly impact not only its comfort but also its durability. Find a jacket that won’t easily tear and can stand up to the rigors of outdoor play.
Additionally, materials like polyester and nylon mesh are efficient at draining water, which makes it lighter and more comfortable for your pup. Neoprene, on the other hand, is excellent at providing warmth in colder waters.
The style of your dog’s life vest is critical not just to look good but also to make the most out of this life-saving device.
Consider what designs are not only comfortable but also easy to put on and take off. Also, select bright colors that will easily be spotted from afar.
Think of additional features that might benefit you in terms of safety or convenience.
For example, D rings provide a means for you to clip a leash. Handles offer a good way to restrain your dog in and out of the water, and also make it easier to rescue them in case of an accident. Additionally, reflective accents make them more visible at night.
Reviews Of The Best Life Jackets For German Shepherds
Not all dog life vests are suited for the GSD’s large size, weight, and playfulness. If you’re looking for the best life jacket for your German Shepherd, here are your best options:
Outward Hound – Granby Ripstop Life Jacket
The Granby life vest model by Outward Hound was designed specifically for maximum floatation.
When worn, the floaters don’t just go around your dog’s body but also around the neck.
This ensures that their head is above water no matter the circumstance.
This life jacket is made of durable ripstop material with a neoprene band around the belly for maximum comfort. This model comes in a bright orange color with grey accents and reflective piping for extra visibility when it gets dark.
The buckles make it easy to secure and remove, and two top handles enable you to restrain or pick up your dog quite easily.
Most adult German Shepherds would wear either a large or extra-large in size. Be sure to follow the size chart and measure your dog to be certain.
What I love:
- Thick foam for maximum buoyancy
- Keeps head afloat
- Durable construction
- Two top handles
- Quick-release buckles
- No ring to attach a leash
EzyDog – DFD Life Jacket
The DFD Life Jacket by EzyDog uses ultra-buoyant foam that keeps your dog upright in the water at all times.
It’s incredibly easy to put on, thanks to its quick-snap buckles and it also fits snugly because it has adjustable straps along the torso.
For the best in comfort, it features a streamlined design that allows for maximum movement.
This floatation device is made of remarkably durable polyester. It has a top handle that will enable you to pick your dog up or restrain them quite easily. Additionally, it comes in either bright red or yellow and has reflectorized trim for optimum visibility.
Again, the sizes large or extra large are will likely fit most fully grown adult German Shepherds.
What I love:
- Reflective trim
- Grab handle
- Adjustable neoprene straps
- Quick-snap buckle
- D-ring for leash attachment
- No insulation or protection around the belly
Paws Aboard – Dog Life Jacket
The Dog Life Jacket by Paws Aboard comes in several fun designs but one comfortable and functional style.
This life jacket is secured using two snap buckles around the torso and one under the chin.
It has a large D ring for your leash and also a top handle for easy grabbing.
This sporty life vest is made of soft neoprene and has reflectorized strips to keep your dog visible in any lighting condition. The portion under the belly is made of breathable mesh, which offers maximum drainage and airflow. This is useful for trips in warmer areas as it could minimize the risk of heat exhaustion.
Size large or extra-large will fit most German Shepherds.
What I love:
- Many designs and colors available
- Convenient snap buckles
- Reflectorized trim
- Mesh underbelly
- Large D-ring for leash attachment
- Neoprene is comfortable and buoyant but tends to retain heat
Kurgo – Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket
This dog life Jacket by Kurgo features a streamlined design that offers maximum buoyancy without affecting movement.
Since this dog life vest is so sleek, it is an excellent option for dogs that engage in dock diving or other water sports.
Additionally, the floatation device within it can be removed so that it can also be used as a dog jacket or raincoat.
This floatation device has three points of adjustment that ensure the perfect fit for both comfort and safety. It has two top handles, which are perpendicular to each other for full control in case of extraction and rescue. It also has reflective piping for visibility in low-light conditions.
What I love:
- Allows for maximum movement
- Doubles as jacket or raincoat
- Three points of adjustment
- Two traverse handles
- Reflective piping
- Not as buoyant as other dog life jackets listed
Life jackets for German Shepherds offer plenty of benefits, even to the most confident swimmers. Although German Shepherds don’t have webbed paws, they normally fair quite well in the water. However, with a life jacket, you can relax knowing your dog is safe no matter what happens.
Additionally, you can keep tossing their favorite toys for water and engage them in play for much longer, giving you more time to bond and enjoy each other’s company. If your GSD doesn’t like larger bodies of water, consider getting a puncture-proof dog pool for those hot summer days instead of heading to the lake or beach.