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Old 30-07-2018, 12:00   #1
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Better and worse dog life jackets

I have a small English Springer Spaniel and want to purchase a life jacket for her. I was about to go out and buy the first one I saw available at Pet Smart, Bosley's, etc but then it occurred to me that there might be good ones and not so good ones.

Opinions?
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Old 30-07-2018, 12:54   #2
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

I would expect that proper fitment and comfort for the dog are goin to be just as important as proper fitment of any garment for people.

I'd check with Bass Pro, Cabela, LLBean (who offer lifetime guarantee and can have free shipping both ways) and the other "hunting" suppliers, because they are in the business of selling life jackets to water retriever owners, who are using them every day.

Anything that is comfortable for the dog, has a decent grab handle, and has some buoyancy, will do the job since, fortunately, fur kids don't argue about whether they want to wear Spiderman or Mickey Mouse.(G)
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Old 30-07-2018, 13:06   #3
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

There are definitely good ones and bad ones. I have owned both. My favorite is Ruffwear.

Ruffwear most likely saved this dope's life a few weeks ago. We were on our mooring when he decided to try to leap into the dinghy... at night... while I had gone down below for about 30 seconds... to chase a bird.

After what seemed like an eternity of panicked searching, I finally found him treading water between the dinghy and our hull. He was tired but no worse for the wear.

Now he has a light attached to his jacket as well.
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Old 30-07-2018, 13:10   #4
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

This is the light we now have attached to him: https://www.thegpsstore.com/ACR-Hemi...ght-P5004.aspx

It seems to work great so far. Turns on quickly when even a little wet and easy to click off.
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Old 30-07-2018, 13:32   #5
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

Peregrine1983's story backs my opinion. I have no experience with Ruffwear's life jackets, but we had several of their other dog products and it was all really good quality. The gear outlasted our dogs
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Old 30-07-2018, 14:32   #6
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

Another vote for Ruffwear. It's what our dog wears and is a popular brand with many dogs at the boarding kennel I own.
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Old 30-07-2018, 23:13   #7
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

Thank you, I'll look around for Ruffwear.
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Old 31-07-2018, 09:52   #8
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

I have discovered by experience that having the lifting handle integrated into the chest straps is a most important attribute, especially if the hound is a larger breed. Be wary of jackets where the lifting handle is merely sewn into the fabric on the top of the jacket.
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Old 31-07-2018, 09:53   #9
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

At the risk of repetition I recommend RuffWear as well.


Their fit guide is good, their gear is well made, and unlike some other PFDs out there they are a lot more padded on the dog's underside, so when (not if) you use the handle to haul the dog somewhere (up a ladder, out of the water, into the dinghy) it's not just bare straps digging into them but a larger piece of the PFD itself on their belly that provides quite a bit more padding and therefore I assume more comfort.
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Old 31-07-2018, 10:27   #10
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

I purchased a Kyjen Outward Hound vest for my 55lb GSP. I have a video of this on my facebook which I can not seem to copy here... I trialed the vest at home. Fitted it to the dog with the Velcro and mesh belly pad then secured the straps with the plastic buckles. I lifted the dog with the attached handle and the buckles parted allowing the Velcro to pull apart and the vest to pull off the dog.
I then clipped all the buckles together and with little effort was able to open each one just by pulling on the straps.
Mind you this vest is brand new and still had the tag on it. I contacted the company who offered to send me new buckles....which I would have to have a "seamstress" install. They would not allow me to return the vest.
Before buying any vest, buckle the straps and pull on them. If they are not positive locking buckles (which these supposedly were) then don't use the vest. Not sure if the vest had the wrong buckles or had the right buckles that were defective and didn't lock. think about lifting your dog from a dinghy onto a pitching boat only to have the buckles release......
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Old 31-07-2018, 11:04   #11
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazu View Post
Before buying any vest, buckle the straps and pull on them. If they are not positive locking buckles (which these supposedly were) then don't use the vest. Not sure if the vest had the wrong buckles or had the right buckles that were defective and didn't lock. think about lifting your dog from a dinghy onto a pitching boat only to have the buckles release......

Exactly this... perhaps once or twice a year my dog's PFD actually floats her (she's a lab mix that only likes to wade, go figure)... about 5 times a day when we're at anchor my dog's PFD is used to provide a giant handle on her back for me to lift her in and out of the boat, the handle is way more important to me than the flotation (not that I don't want good flotation, but it's the handle that's key).
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Old 31-07-2018, 11:32   #12
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
There are definitely good ones and bad ones. I have owned both. My favorite is Ruffwear.

Ruffwear most likely saved this dope's life a few weeks ago. We were on our mooring when he decided to try to leap into the dinghy... at night... while I had gone down below for about 30 seconds... to chase a bird.

After what seemed like an eternity of panicked searching, I finally found him treading water between the dinghy and our hull. He was tired but no worse for the wear.

Now he has a light attached to his jacket as well.
Shouldn't his contribution be keeping birds out of the boat?
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Old 31-07-2018, 11:33   #13
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazu View Post
I purchased a Kyjen Outward Hound vest for my 55lb GSP. I have a video of this on my facebook which I can not seem to copy here... I trialed the vest at home. Fitted it to the dog with the Velcro and mesh belly pad then secured the straps with the plastic buckles. I lifted the dog with the attached handle and the buckles parted allowing the Velcro to pull apart and the vest to pull off the dog.
I then clipped all the buckles together and with little effort was able to open each one just by pulling on the straps.
Mind you this vest is brand new and still had the tag on it. I contacted the company who offered to send me new buckles....which I would have to have a "seamstress" install. They would not allow me to return the vest.
Before buying any vest, buckle the straps and pull on them. If they are not positive locking buckles (which these supposedly were) then don't use the vest. Not sure if the vest had the wrong buckles or had the right buckles that were defective and didn't lock. think about lifting your dog from a dinghy onto a pitching boat only to have the buckles release......
WOW that's really bad customer service. Thanks for letting us know.
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Old 31-07-2018, 11:48   #14
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

We have a Ruffwear Float Coat for both of our dogs. Bailey is the larger of the 2 at 85-90 lbs and wears a large. She is an adept swimmer, but we got her one in the instance that she did go overboard she would not tire and drown and would be more visible. The ability to adjust the fit and then tuck away the straps is a plus. We use the handle to pull her back into the boat. She does not seem bothered by it to swim and runs easily on land with it on.
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Old 31-07-2018, 13:09   #15
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Re: Better and worse dog life jackets

Whatever you choose, buckle it on. Then try to pull off the life jacket. Mine can get out of many. She's just five pounds. A neighbor has a rather heavy dog and he can back out of his. Skipper goes forward to escape!

The orange one shown above, both dogs got out of. Yes, they were in appropriate sized vests.

Skipper wears Outward Hound. She cannot get out of it. It seems comfortable for her too.
The neighbor dog is wearing a no name one I found at a thrift store. It fits him and the dog can't get out of it.



Good luck Cap'n in your quest. As mentioned above, a great handle makes hoisting easier.
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