TrevorfloatcoatWhen I tell people Trevor has a life jacket, the response usually is “what…a life jacket?”  Then the conversation usually degrades to some chuckles and a statement about how dogs don’t need them.  I politely remind them that Trevor is my child and you wouldn’t let your kid go splashing without one, right?  If the analogy of dog=kid doesn’t work, I usually come up with this… “Have you ever tried swimming in a wool sweater? That’s what it’s like for a Sheltie!”

Regardless of the breed (or coat on that breed), all dogs who swim should wear a life jacket.  It just makes it easier and safer for them.  I had bought the one you can get at your local pet store and it doesn’t work well.  How do I know? I put Trevor in the water wearing one and the coat floated on the surface, and he began to sink – opening up a gap between him and the vest.  (OK, he isn’t the best swimmer, but the vest clearly wasn’t comfortable and didn’t keep him up.) All the buoyant material was above his back, so his body weight was pushing down on those two belly straps.  Not a great design.

Enter the K9 Float Coat.

Brilliantly designed and ergonomic cut, much of the flotation cells are under and along the sides of the dog’s ribcage.  These buoyancy cells help keep your dog upright and level – making swimming easier.  The cut also allows complete shoulder freedom, but supports the dog’s head and neck.  Its made from brightly colored 1680-denier ballistic nylon to give visibility in low light situations – contrasting against neutral backgrounds and making sure your pup stands out.  High luminescence reflective trim is added to the sides as well as to the top.  It looks pretty darn cool.

Take note of some of the finer details: Side release buckles for easy on/off and helps keep that long Sheltie hair out of the clips.  A hidden D-ring attachment point for your leash.  A low profile assistance handle for help in getting your dog out of the water – very handy!

K-9 Float Coat by Ruffwear – A very enthusiastic four paws up!

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8 Responses to “THE best dog life jacket”

  1. Capn Gary

    I had my two adult Shelties with me on a single-handed trip from Long Beach to Honolulu. They ALWAYS had their life jackets on, and were clipped to their own ‘jackline’ so they couldn’t fall overboard when they were out of the cabin. (Best crew I ever had. Didn’t complain about the music, food, etc.)

    This life jacket appears to be a much better design, but the company involved needs to make it bright yellow, and add strips of good reflective tape so that if the dog falls overboard at night, you’ll be able to see them when a flashlight/spotlight sweeps over them. Dark colors may look ‘cool’ but are totally useless as help at night. Skip the red & black–make the entire thing bright yellow.

    If you’re going to add the reflective tape, it’s called SOLAS reflective tape and is available at good marine supply houses. It’s not cheap, but it works, and what is your dog worth?

  2. Han

    Hi Kelly

    I’m would like to know which size Trevor wore for his K9 Float Coat? Is the size chart on their website accurate? I’m thinking of getting one for Chili and would like to be sure I get the correct sizing for her.


    • Kelly

      Hi Han,

      Trevor’s coat was a size small. It has been restyled a bit since my review so I do not know if the sizing changed at all along with it. Trevor was a larger Sheltie too. He measured at 17″ and about 32 lbs.

  3. Betsy

    Have you or any of your friends tried the ezydog dog life jacket? am trying to gather customer thoughts on them.


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