dog pfds

Need a little input on dog pfds. I’ve got an 8 year old Tibetan spaniel, long-haired and 18lbs. He’s new to the canoe and overwhelmed with what he sees. I’d appreciate some reviews from those of you who have used these types of pfds; which brands are good and what to look for. Thanks in advance.

I’ve got a Lotus that I like, but it’s no longer made.

A good handle is important if you’ve got a dog small enough to lift back in.

Two of the better ones:;jsessionid=0a0109491f4358178433ed1f4d5a8eea911c4c82bbfa.e3eSc38LcheTe34Pa38Ta38Mbhj0?sc=2&category=694

I suspect that the Ruff Wear gives better support, but may make it uncomfortable for the dog to lie down.

If your dog seems nervous, try putting something in the bottom of the canoe for a better grip, like a cheap nonskid bathroom carpet. We sometimes throw the dog beds in if we really want to spoil them. We also found that they’re more likely to lie down if they’re comfortable and can see out.

the pfd will make…
…yo feel more secure and might make the dog safer, but if could make the dog feel more uncomfortable.

Dog PFDs: Be careful when it’s hot
Dogs wearing PFDs can easily overheat. Keep an eye on him.

My dog has successfully swam some class II water…its choice not mine. How rough does it have to be to warrant a doggy PFD? Should they be used in any situation where you would strap it on?


some dogs always, others just often
some dogs will sink like a stone due to skill or body build. Any dog if they gets scared or injured (rocks, etc.) could drown. Of course if not SURE, then use it.

My Dog
knows when he sees the PFD that he’s going to have fun. Long ago he learned that floating is way better than swimming. I have the NRS CFD and my pooch doesn’t complain. Had to buy it because of an early spring swim he decided to take. He couldn’t get back in the boat and I had no where friendly to grab him.

Train your dog

– Last Updated: Jul-28-09 10:34 AM EST –

Take the dog to the lake and let him play and swim on the edge and sit in the canoe and have your lunch on the water's edge while he plays. He'll want to get in the canoe with you. The carpet on the floor is necessary to keep them comfortable. If you're paddling quiet streams, the PFD is not necessary and can cause more stress and heat than it's worth. You have to evaluate what the real dangers are to him like very cold water or rough conditions or being far off shore etc.

making it a happy place
We put our canoe on the lawn and fed our dog in it for a few days.

ok I’ll put the pdf on her

Good point my dog is kind of fat and buoyant.

Walmart has them

Here is the link.

dog pfd
i have 2 black lab mix that love the water,recently got 2 doggie pfd’s from NRS,nice. handle on the back makes it easy to get them back in the canoe

dog pfd
My dog MOLLY is whereing a Ruffware pfd in the photo of the week. She never seems to mind it. The handels on them to pull dog back into boat is the most important part of it. In hot weather she swimms alot. So the heat is not a problem for her. Good luck with paddeling with your dog. It is extra work but its worth it.

ruff wear for my buddy
write your name dogs name and address and tel# on it too.

Address the Mental State Also
I do have a ruffwear PFD for my 3-1/2 pound Chihuahua, which my husband feels is a bit stiff, maybe for a smaller dog like her, but maybe not for a bigger small dog like yours. Btw, I love Tibetan Spaniels. I don’t really have experience with it yet, since I put her in a carrier w/floats on it should some freak thing happen. I only kayak in protected waters with her.

On a side note, but really a big issue, make the canoe trip a good experience. What I did with my dog is, I took her on a quick trip the first time, as not to overwhelm her. I brought treats that I gave her when I stopped by the shore to also give her a pee break and some water.

I always take a few treats and water for her to continue with her feeling like the trip is not so bad. I would not take her, but I camp and can’t secure her in the camper. When I kayak around my home or not too far away, she stays at home, because she’s not really happy about trips, but tolerates them, because I try to make them pleasant. She doesn’t like choppy water or if I kayak over hard bullnose kelp that makes a noise when it hits the kayak. So I know my dog’s quirks and issues and address them so we’re all happy.


If your dog is dark, realize that the sun will make your dog hot quick. Mine is a tri-color, so she’s mostly black but since she’s in a carrier, it doesn’t matter. When I hike, if it’s sunny & I’m camping and have to take her, she goes in a pouch I carry her in, then I put a white paper towel over her head and back. On a snowy hike where it was hot, I used the snow to ice her down to keep her cool also. Make every experience good. They remember!


is a bit of a knucklehead in that he overreacts to things he doesn’t understand. Birds, jumping fish, wildlife on the shoreline send him tweeking from one gunwale to the other. Lucky he’s only 18lbs and the MNII is stable. This canoe thing is new to him but he seems game and right now its only quiet water, moderate temp days…really haven’t had summer heat yet in the NE… and paddles for only an hour or two with a rest stop and lunch. I don’t know yet if he would swim but that test comes next. After that, I’ll see what his response will be to going back out. If he’s into it, I’ll get the vest for those times that warrant it. If he’s not that crazy about the water, I’ll leave him home where he can relax and I can paddle in peace.

Have been through several of them,
and prefer the Walmart model. My dog likes it, too.

It has a double layer for chest protection which could

be useful if the dog is swimming and hits an obstacle.

dog whisperer
zeke, check out a few episodes of the Dog Whisperer. He is the real deal. He will give you great ideas of how to understand what fulfills your dog, how to make him secure, and how to create a calm and interesting experience for him so he will not be overwhelmed and enjoy boating with you.

As you may be surprised we humanize dogs and don’t always know what they need. If he sees you as the pack leader and knows what the rules boundaries and limits are he will settle right down in the boat. If he is a high energy dog, take him on a long walk with you first. Put him behind you in the boat not in front. Otherwise he will think he is the leader and become anxious responsible or dominant. If he is relaxed from the walk he will then feel he is on a migration with you and enjoy it!

I am way way oversimplifying this process but I have had many dogs over my career and find the problem is not the dog, the breed or the activity it is actually us who need to learn what to do.