Our first Golden Retriever, Lemmy, was not a good swimmer. He would start off well, but he often got distracted and would stop swimming! Now most dogs have survival instincts and wouldn’t let themselves sink without a fight. Not our Lemmy. With the true heart of a Golden, he would simply let himself sink while having complete faith one of us would fish him out. Needless to say on the way home after our first trip to a lake we stopped to buy him a dog life jacket.
Although Chuck Billy and Asa are strong swimmers, we continue to use life jackets on them. It is a good precaution for an excited puppy who may not realize he is getting tired. It provides great visibility not only so you can keep track of your dog, but it also makes him visible to other swimmers and boaters too. Also it will keep your dog afloat should he get injured or need rescuing.
We recommend the Outward Hound Life Jacket. That first vest bought 7 years ago has held up very well under moderate use. We especially like this vest because it has a front float that helps to keep the dog’s head above water. A feature that Lemmy appreciated as well. Another feature we like is it came with a strong handle that made lifting Lemmy’s 75 lbs. out of the water easy. That handle has also come in handy with Asa, who as a novice puppy swimmer had trouble recognizing the most convenient way to get back onshore. They have changed the design since we purchased ours, but based on current reviews Outward Hound Life Jackets are still a quality product.