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Canine Water Safety Critical in Rafting Adventures

Little dog swimming - FreeImage Content License

It is part of Americana to take your dog everywhere, even rafting. Somehow we forget to make sure our dogs are safe and should have a flotation jacket just as people do. Little dogs especially can fall off rafts and they need help in some of our colder and swift waters. Big dogs can be better swimmers but many are not ready for rivers like the fast moving Payette Rivers.

Hunters usually make sure their hunting dogs have a safety vest of florescent orange so their dogs are visible and not mistaken for other wildlife.  They can be easily seen. So when riding the water crafts, a safety vest is just as important. Many dogs are taken by the Payette River and never to be found.

A local Garden Valley resident, Lisa Rappleye, lives at Milepost 19 on the Banks-Lowman Road.  This is at Danskin Station where rafters can put in or take-out along the Southfork of the Payette. She is well aware of the continuing problem that she encounters with floaters losing their dogs on the river.  People come to her house and frantically looking for their dog that got carried away by the waters. She explains that some dogs do end up at her place and they are okay.  But there are the ones that are never found.  She says, “It is getting really old and I am tired of my day being ruined by the dog owners that realize their dog did not make it.” She wants to get the word out that it is crucial to keep your pets safe in the Payette.

Some people think a life vest may not really be necessary. Sadly, dogs drown in rivers, lakes and oceans, and even swimming pools. Life jackets for dogs are just as important as they are for people. Don’t assume that a dog is a naturally strong swimmer.

Dogs with heavy heads like Boston Terriers, Pugs, and Bulldogs just do not do well in water. They tire easily and sink fast. Certain breeds are much better swimmers but they can also struggle when the waters are so cold, as most are in the Northwest. Your best buddie might want to cool off but can be taken away swift under current of a river.

Some larger dog breeds are great swimmers but they still need a floatation device for safety.  Sometimes an accident will happen and rafts do turn over. A flotation vest is needed for the same reason humans need them. They can be seen so much easier in open water and helps keep them from drowning.  This will also give the pet owner a chance to find their dog alive, even if they have floated away. It is just added security if people want to take their dogs on river trip.

There are lots of brands of water jackets for dogs. There are many to choose from at stores or online. It is recommended to go to retailers to find the best fit and type of device needed that will work well for your dog. These vests will help to stop the tragic loss of your best buddy to drowning on what is supposed to be a fun outing.

Written by Janet Juroch – BCC Staff