If you and are your furriest pal are into fishing, boating, surfing, or just splashing around in the pool, you’re going to need a life preserver to keep your pup safe — and hey, wouldn’t you know it? You can even dress them up a little while you’re at it: This mermaid life vest for your dog is scaly, bright blue, and super cute, as well as a necessary summertime accessory for pups who love splashing around in the water. The best part is, it’s available on Amazon, so getting a hold of it — and letting your dog life their best, Disney-inspired life — couldn’t be easier.
PopSugar gets the credit for finding this particular mermaid life vest, although for the record, there are loads of life preservers that will make your dog look like a mermaid out there. For the curious, though, this one is made by Albabara. Available in sizes ranging from small to XL, with the largest size being suitable for dogs with a back length measurement of 17.7 inches, a chest girth of up to 37.8 inches, and a neck girth of up to 26.8 inches, it straps around your dog with adjustable buckles, providing additional floatation assistance while your pupper is in the water. It includes a neck pad to keep your dog’s head above the waterline, a D ring for leash attachment, a handle on top so you can grab your dog easily if necessary, and some reflective material for additional visibility.
Also, it’s adorable. Just look at it:
Of course doggy life jackets and vests aren’t just cute; they’re absolutely necessary if your pup is going swimming, hanging out with you on a boat, or doing anything else that puts them in close proximity of large bodies of water. Contrary to popular belief, all dogs do not have an innate ability to swim — they often have to learn. Even then, many dogs have characteristics outside of their control that may determine how well-suited they are to water. For example, according to Life Jacket Advisor, dogs that are naturally less buoyant can have trouble in the water; older dogs and puppies may both tire easily; and even if your dog is a strong swimmer, strong waves or currents can still pose a threat. Safety always comes first in the water, whether you’re human or canine.
As the American Kennel Club points out, there’s also a difference between a dog life jacket and a dog life vest. Jackets tend to be heavier-duty; meant for boating and other similar, water-based activities, they offer more coverage and “provide both buoyancy and visibility,” per the AKC. They also might be better options for bigger dogs or pups who need a bit more help staying afloat. Life vests, on the other hand, are a little more casual and better-suited for dogs who will only be swimming in pools or who don’t need the extra boost provided by a life jacket. You’ll want to determine which kind of preserver your pup needs before letting them into the water while wearing one; your vet might be able to help give you some advice.
For what it’s worth, the mermaid life preserver looks to be more of a vest than a jacket. While it does strap all the way around your dog, it looks fairly lightweight, with most of the flotation material being located on the top of the preserver. Although it does come in sizes suitable for larger dogs, it may be better for smaller pups and/or for dogs who will be sticking to the pool, rather than going in the open water. You'll also want to check out the reviews before you make a decision to get it yourself; while some reviewers on Amazon say it's both good at its job and stylish, others found it a little less effective. It's always worth making informed decisions before you choose to purchase anything, especially when it's a safety-related device.
Need some help? Vet Street has a useful guide on what to look for when choosing a life preserver for your furry friend. First, there’s the fit; you should aim for something “snug yet comfortable” which both gives your dog a good range of motion, particularly when it comes to their neck and legs, but doesn’t chafe or rub uncomfortably. A top handle and leash attachment loop are essential, as are bright, eye-catching colors and/or reflective material. And finally, there are a couple of areas you should look for flotation material that you might not think of: Under your dog’s chin and under their belly. Flotation material located under the chin is usually called a front flotation pad; it’s designed to make sure your pupper’s head stays above water if they get “incapacitated” in any way, as Vet Street puts it. And again, if your dog is on the bigger side or isn’t a strong swimmer, floatation material under their belly will help them stay afloat.
If the mermaid vest doesn’t suit your dog’s and your needs, there are plenty of other options available. This life jacket by Kurgo that’s available over at PetSmart, for example, doubles as both a flotation device and a raincoat; meanwhile, this vest from Vivaglory on Amazon is both highly reviewed and budget-friendly — and it comes in a huge range of colors. And if you think your dog is more of a shark than a mermaid, then there’s always this shark life preserver, too. Although it fails the How Brightly Colored Is Your Dog’s Life Preserver? test, it does have a shark fin on top. Yes, really.
It's important to note, though, that no matter how many bells and whistles any dog life preserver has, not all dogs are meant for the water. For example, as Outward Hound points out, breeds with low body fat tend not to be super buoyant in general, while the top-heaviness of breeds with barrel chests and short legs can be a problem when it comes to staying afloat. If your dog doesn’t do well in the water, don’t force it; running through a lawn sprinkler with your furry pal can be just as good of a cooling off strategy — and just as fun! — as taking them swimming.
Stay cool, stay safe, and enjoy the summer!