Dog PFDs

I need one of these but don’t know anything about them. I figured I could trust NRS without hesitation. Anyone have any insight or suggestions?

Right now the dog is a little more than 20 pounds but will top out no more than 50.

Ruff Wear
I have a Ruff Wear Float Coat for my Chesapeake. It is an excellent design, seems to be by far the most popular dog pfd. They have reworked their line a bit, but you won’t go wrong with any Ruff Wear product.

Indeed, you CAN trust the NRS dog pfds
We have 6 or 7 of them in the extended family and they work great. The different sizes are pretty accurate when it comes to weight variances. No matter what brand you get, make very sure that the pfd has a stout grab handle. That is, after all, what you’ll be grabbing for, not the dog.

Make sure it has a good handle
I’ve gotten a PFD or two for my sister’s dogs. The one thing that they found really important was to make sure it had a good handle at the top, to make it easy to grab the dog without risking your own stability so much.

They are pretty low profile - I doubt there’s a snagging issue.

Dog Life Jackets
I used to think they were silly until my Corgi decided to get out of the boat to walk around to the bow.

Turns out he swims like a rock.

He loves riding in the canoe and gets very excited everytime I pull out his PFD.

Ruff Wear Float Coat
If you decided to go with the Ruff Wear Float Coat they are on sale at Just look under the REI-Outlet section.

My lab likes her Float Coat.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far
The REI deal on the Ruff Wear would be great. Thanks for the heads up. But right now the dog is only 23" and they only have two sizes Med and Large.

I got one at West Marine

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 1:00 PM EST –

It was their in-house brand, I believe. My 30 lb standard dachshund is all muscle and sinks like a rock. Maybe its just the fact that he is so dense, or maybe it is the conformation of a dachshund's body, but it doesn't seem to do a really great job of keeping his head out of the water, so I can't really recommend that one. In the meantime, he stays on dry land, which I think he prefers anyway. I'm looking for a better one, and I figure Cabela's probably would have them, since they cater to hunters with dogs:

Full link for the tinyURL-phobic

Grey says
"I couldn’t be happier with my NRS. It keeps me safe and warm and besides it let’s me spend a week every fall with dad in the Boundary Waters!"

I’m sure if Moby’s along…

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 1:57 PM EST –

...for the wet-exit, he'd be able to toss your pooch a section of flotsam tree trunk. What with his damn high-pitched surface radar, he always seems to manage echo-locating a barked boagie.

I think I have an older model of a Ruff Wear line PFD (pooch flotation device) when they were being sold at Pet Smart. Got it for 70-pounder Doc Bob. He hated it it. Made it difficult for him to lie down smoothly in the bilges. He seemed to swim OK in it, an activity for which he did not care though his awkward deckplate posing paired with my penchant for port side paddling wobbles often placed him into his own dog paddling. Still was difficult for me to haul him back in, up-n-over the gunnels of my beamy and semi-stable Uberbot or Explorer, when lifting on that topside handle at his midships. Usually had to two-hand hoist, one to the handle and one to his belly.

Moby? Well, he sees the damn thing as a blasphemous orange aberration of a strait jacket that would have seized-up even Houdini. You might remember the time I put it on him at Raystown, while he stood in the middle of the service road. And, remained standing, frozen (silently, bless him), for nearly 15 minutes while I'd walked away from him, with that usual silly mug of his contented confusion now heightened to a state of bewildered shock and embarassment. Still, if I'm going out on those autumnal Raystown Lake waters at night, or when it might just be me fending for myself and him with an overturned canoe, he wears it, like it or not. Doesn't seem to impede his loopy torpedo imitations as he circles his aqueous complaints snappin' at stray surface bubbles.

And Moby at 58-pounds is a tad bit easier to haul over the rails, though his chesty front and boulder-like beacon still tips the balance-point of that grab handle. Seems to me the grab handle might do a little better if it were shifted forward over the front shoulder area. Also, Girocks (Jeff) reminded me to still be careful making that snatch-n-jerk of the jerky boy back aboard, for he knew of someone who had cracked a bone in their dog's chest area when roughly performing same said maneuver.

Well, good luck in with your choice, Brian. Find one with a good handle slightly fore of midships. I'm thinkin' of hard-wiring Moby's jacket to his bark collar. But then, he'd probably like that.


My wheels are a turnin’ now

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 3:13 PM EST –

I know two people with PoochFD's ... one is sweet Grey in an NRS and the other is that hellish Lucifer's Lumber Jack, Moby in a Bark Wear.

Now I'm not saying there's any cause and effect going on, but seriously ... if you were me, would you even take the slightest chance?


Outward Hound
We have a 35 lb. Sheltie who loves wading and splashing, but can’t swim worth a darn. Also doesn’t really grasp the idea of sitting still in the canoe, so a lifejacket with a handle is essential. I’ve hauled her back in the canoe after she pitched over the side after standing up on the gunwale. Good design with flotation along the back and around the chest, fastened with Velcro as well as straps and buckles, fairly easy to put on and adjust. Only problem with a long-haired dog is that the hair gets caught in the Velcro fasteners, and Sophie doesn’t like it when we take the vest off.

I just wish Tsunamichuck was…
…still hereabouts, so as he might share with me some tips on how to wok the dog.

Although, like overly aged ‘spargus, somethin’ else Beelzebub’s Vent Pipe never lacks in, the cooked canine might be a bit woody.

On second thought, you are what you eat, so…I guess I best keep him afloat for now.

Happy buoyancy for your barker, Brian.

Another vote - Ruff Wear
I’ve had one for my Brittany for several years. He seems pretty comfortable in it, judging by the fact that he will lie in the bottom of the boat and take a nap while wearing it. “Hey, scoot over a bit. You’re making the boat list.” He sometimes wakes up and shifts. Othertimes I just scoot the sleeping fur pile over.


J and J Dog Supplies

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 10:32 PM EST –

They sell PFDs in 5 sizes, ranging from teacup-tiny to huge. All have a carry strap on top (on the dog's back). Plus they sell lots of other good stuff for dogs. I've bought from them for years and their service is excellent.

Hey, how come we humans only have a choice of Child or Adult PFD sizes? Sheesh.

Be Sure to Test it with the Pup
The first good quality brand name one we bought for our current 15# long and low Russel Terrier rolled her over in the water. Have another model we need to test. Never happened with other pups over the years. R

I love NRS, but their dog PFD has been the only purchase ever made from them that I was not happy with. It was not form fitting and just seemed stiff and uncomfortable for my dog. It fits OK when you cinch the straps, it was heavily constructed and the handle on top was great, but ended up giving mine away.

Thanks for the help everybody
Just ordered the Ruff Wear from REI Outlet (thanks regrea) and got it for only $31. Too good a deal to pass up.

So, is it to be…
…Fern Green or Orange Sunset?

I’m getting Moby’s new one in Orange Ruffie. I hear tell that 10-foot Muskies will be lungin’ this autumn at Raystown Lake. Tell Wes I’ve got a new drag lure/crank bait for him to try!

“Whaddaya mean he ate my prize Muskie!!?”

“Put ya money on de-monster-ative dogfish ev’rytime!”