Life Jackets are Essential for Water-Loving Greyhounds
My greyhounds love to play in water, but they sink like a rock when they try to swim. A lot of deep-chested athletic dog breeds are the same.
It's a matter of low body fat, and lots of bone and muscle. Some dogs are just not naturally built to float easily, and they're rather front-heavy, so they tend to tilt face-forward into the water. Yikes! That's just a tragedy waiting to happen.
A dog life jacket is an essential piece of safety gear if your hound hangs out poolside with you or spends summers at the lake.
How to Choose the Best Life Jacket (PFD) for a Greyhound
In choosing a canine life jacket, there are a few key features I look for and can recommend. First up, I look for a wide belly band, rather than two separate straps, to better distribute the weight across the dog's ribcage in case a lift is required. I also look for a contoured cut that will let the fore legs move freely when swimming (the Ruffwear lifejacket scores exceptionally well on this point), and an adjustable chest band for a better all-round fit.
My Top Choice for Greyhound PFD
Greyhounds are notoriously hard to fit for clothing, and it's not different with swimming gear. Too often, a personal flotation device has some of the same challenges as getting a good coat or jacket.
A garment that is made for just any breed of dog, rather than designed for the deep-chested long and lean greyhound or other athletic breeds may be sized up to fit around the broad ribcage but will gap open at the slim waist, or it will bind up too tight in strange places, annoying the dog. (If your dog is a Great Dane, Boxer, Pitbull, American bulldog, Weimeraner, or a similar deep-chested breed, you probably know exactly what I mean.)
The most important consideration in choosing in a personal flotation device - for your dog just as for the rest of your family - is getting a good fit.
Bonus points for a sturdy handle on top, in case you need to give your dog a lift or make a rescue, and high visibility in the water. Ruffwear life jackets are not only made in bright colors but they also have bands of reflective tape on the back.
Have a look at the video, below, of a greyhound showing off her Ruffwear life jacket and you'll see why it's my top choice in water safety gear for hard-to-fit "athletic" dog breeds.
Water-Loving Greyhound shows off her Ruffwear Float Coat
Honorary Mention to Outward Hound for Extra Flotation Pad
While my first choice of DFD ("doggie flotation device") for a slim, deep-chested breed like a greyhound is the Ruffwear Float Coat, a very close second choice is the Outward Hound model.
In fact, for a dog with more of a straight figure, like my elderly Golden Retriever, who loved to swim but got tired very easily in her later years, I'd probably go with the Outward Hound design for the extra flotation pad under the chin to ease the strain of the old girl holding up her head out of the water. Because it is adjustable with those straps around it, this canine PFD works well for the sighthounds and other deep-chested dogs as well.
Does your greyhound have a well-fitting life jacket to help him enjoy the beach or lake in safety?
aliciadonley on August 07, 2014:
I would love to get my doggies a life jacket once we live closer to the water. My italian greyhound mix is so scared even though when he went in the water when he was little he could totally reach like 20 feet out. My mini Schnauzer loves the water but he's solid muscle and he hates getting his beard wet. I added the jacket to my wishlist for another day. :)
Dorian Bodnariuc from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on October 07, 2013:
I didn't know greyhounds weren't great at swimming. This is a great idea.
Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on September 20, 2013:
Ruffwear life jackets for dogs is an excellent idea!
Doug48 on September 20, 2013:
I grew up swimming like a fish. My dogs could swim like well...Dogs! they could out swim me for the most part. This would be great for my dog on a boat though I don't think I would use it in on or close to shore swimming. Good Lenslet I enjoyed it.
julieannbrady on September 20, 2013:
Love your greyhound photos!