Like jackets for pets might sound a bit excessive to skeptical pet owners. Most people assume dogs can swim perfectly fine, and that cats aren’t a concern since they all hate water. News flash: Not all dogs like water or can swim; and not all cats hate water! For dog breeds like Bulldogs and Basset hounds, being in the water can be actually life-threatening! Felines breeds like the Maine Coons, Bengals, and the Turkish Angora are just a handful of the breeds who love playing in the water, and on occasion may even join their owner in the shower! Having a misconception that cats detest water can be gravely dangerous for them, if ever the cat is left unattended near a pool. If a feline should become curious about the ripples in a pool, or even a bug on the surface and slip in, he could panic and drown before being rescued.

With the longer days and higher temperatures, many people flock to the beaches, lakes, rivers and pool sides, often with their beloved pets in tow. Instead of being worried about your pup’s well-being, or that your cat might topple into your pool during the neighborhood BBQ, opt for a safety vest that could save their lives.

Unlike the design for human life jackets that wrap around the neck and waist, pet life vests primarily support the torso. Both cats and dogs have long horizontal spines that would weigh them down heavily if it were not given the proper support. Because the pet’s swimming legs are under the spine, it is important to keep the dog or cat’s back stable and afloat, so pet life vests wrap both around a dog’s neck and across the entire back area. This provide buoyancy for the thickest part of the animal’s body, while freeing up his legs to paddle about without restriction.

The life jackets come in all shapes and sizes, with adjustable clasps and straps to accommodate any dog’s weight or length. There are thin, light-weight life jackets for smaller dog breeds, and studier vests for larger animals. While certain life vests appear as simple as a back pack, others offer flotation support around the whole body by wrapping a thick layer around both the back and underbelly. This is well-suited for heavier dog breeds or rougher waters (for white-water rafting trips, or paddle boarding with your dog out to sea). Some life jackets also have additional buoy bags by the shoulder area, reflective light strips, an easy-grab handle on the back, and zip-up pouches for minor storage.