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post #1 of 11 Old 07-21-2012 Thread Starter
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PFD for dogs

So, our darling baby puppy is now 3.5 months old and is starting his boating career. He's not petite (42lbs already!) and we are trying to garner information about a PFD for him. Does anyone have any good feedback (real-world) about them? One of the primary needs is to be able to pick him up to make transition from boat to dinghy (or water) easier. It seems like most of the PFD out there are designed for small dogs and then just scaled up.
Any glowing praise, or "must avoids" welcome.

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post #2 of 11 Old 07-21-2012
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Re: PFD for dogs

What to not get, is one has only two webbing straps under the belly, this will not support a larger dog, must les Mr Winston that is all of 25 lbs right now.

West Marine has a few that work well, one that does not. The one I have from Winston I got at a pet shop. I took him in and tried them ALL on, found one that fit him proceeded to buy it. Some have multiple colors, others like the one we have only comes in orange. This one, the small seemed a bit bigger if you will, ie between the other brans small and medium, medium was between the other brands med and large. The others, small seemed too small, medium was too big. So take the dog to the store with you to purchase the doggie pfd. I thought I had some links saved, but they seem to be missing or deleted or who knows.

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-21-2012
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PFD for dogs

The pfd I got for my dog 40 lbs was purchased at a pet store. It's brand is outward hound. It's served my dog well over the years. I was very happy she had it on recently when she fell on getting onto my boat. The pfd not only helped her swim although she's a great swimmer, but protected her back when she slid between my boat and the dock. The handle also made picker her up very easy...
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-21-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: PFD for dogs

We're going to head into Victoria in a bit and try a few out, we looked at ones in our local pet stores and really we wish there was something that combined all the good features into a single PFD:
Two handles for double-handed retrieval (not sure I'm going to able to drag 100lbs up with one hand!)
Wide chest/stomach support for lifting
Step-in fitment with zipper along the back
Good chin support to keep his head up in the water
Metal loop for leash attachment
Pocket so he can carry his own junk around
Hi-vis colour with SOLAS style reflectors

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-21-2012
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We read a lot of reviews and went with Ruffwear. It has two 2 straps with snaps and a chest strap also with a snap. It has a handle at the shoulder area and is well balanced. We can lift our Standard Poodle who is 75lbs easily when needed. We've been using it for 3 years now and are completely satisfied.
Edit; BoatUS report on canine Lifejackets rated Ruffwear the only thumbs up for large dogs.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-21-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: PFD for dogs

Hmm, that Ruffwear one does look good, will see if the store downtown actually has any.

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-21-2012
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Re: PFD for dogs

FInally remembered I have had two outward hound ones, one is really small, and latest in small. It does have a loop for leashes, no real pouches for carrying things. I believe this brand and others make dog packs with pouches that area similar in shape etc as pfd's.


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post #8 of 11 Old 07-21-2012
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Re: PFD for dogs

+1 for ruff wear. I had one for my dalmation and used it for about 4-5 years. It sun faded **slightly** but otherwise looked as new, very well made and tough.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-21-2012
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Re: PFD for dogs

I have one for my lab that the flotation is on the top and straps run under,Do Not get that kind. the dogs weight is only supported by the 2 straps that look like they are very uncomfortable I'm going to go with one that's built the exact opposite when i find one. This style might only be available for my female, the boy dogs "junk" might be in the way.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-21-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: PFD for dogs

Thanks for the recommendations, Rufus is now the proud owner of a Ruffwear PFD, last year's model but it fits him well and seems well made. He looked relatively comfortable being lifted up in it too. And it's orange so it matches the boat which is kinda cool
Should last him this season and then we'll have to get a new one next spring.

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