Boating NZ - - Feature -

Con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of dogs and cats one sees on boats, it’s no sur­prise that many man­u­fac­tur­ers of­fer a full range of PFDS for pets.

While it’s tempt­ing to dis­miss the very idea of pet PFDS – don’t dogs float? They in­vented the dog pad­dle, didn’t they? – the re­al­ity is that like hu­mans, pets can also tire quickly in cold wa­ter, or suf­fer from med­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions that could prevent them from swim­ming to shore.

Most pet life jack­ets are de­signed with some sort of foam flota­tion that wraps around the an­i­mal’s torso and neck. Apart from pro­vid­ing up­right flota­tion, they also help re­tain body heat in cold wa­ter. As with hu­mans, the fit is crit­i­cal – check to en­sure that the de­vice is ca­pa­ble of hold­ing the an­i­mal’s head clear of the wa­ter.

It’s also a good idea to se­lect a pet PFD that in­cor­po­rates a grab han­dle – a sen­si­ble and use­ful fea­ture that makes it a snap to hoist the an­i­mal back into the boat.

Photo credit: Out­ward Hound.

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