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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know if there is a difference in dog life jackets as far as flotation is concerned? There is a big price difference between the brand name ones and the average PetSmart brand ones. I know there's probably a difference in fabric, comfort, etc., but as far as actually keeping the dog afloat does it matter how much you spend?
 

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The only brand I have tried is the Outward Hound ones which were pretty affordable (About US$25 from Chewy) and I tried them out a few weeks ago in a river. The buoyancy seemed good, Eva swam around quite a bit and while she had to hold her head up on her own, the jacket kept her body and hind end up near the surface of the water.

The jackets run small but seem really well designed and made otherwise. Nice neoprene belly wrap with velcro and then buckle straps over it. I ordered the XL for Chester who is 75 lbs and the Large for Eva who is about 60-65 lbs. The large fit her, but the XL also fit and gave her a bigger boost of flotation. I think the cut and fit is an important part of good flotation because you don't want it slipping around on the dog

The XL on Chester


In use on Eva
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have one for Pepper, but haven't gotten one for Kane yet. I went in to PetSmart to get one and they don't have them anymore. I did find some others at local pet stores but the prices are way higher. Now I'm wondering if the cheaper ones will provide as much flotation as the more expensive ones.

Also - the one I do have for Pepper is right for her weight, but doesn't go all the way down her back. I'm wondering if I should just get two new ones...
 

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From what I've seen, the Ruffwear float coats are the sturdiest, the Outward Hound the most bang for your buck, and the Petsmart ones can be hit or miss (can't recall if it's actually Petsmart brand or soemthing else though - some off brand). I think the difference really comes down to the quality and placement of the webbing and buckles. I've known two of the Petsmart coats that had their webbing tear very easily after only a couple of uses. I've seen buckles break on the Outward Hound ones, though they replaced it for her (two broken buckles on one harness). Never had a problem or heard of one with the Ruffwear though. I think it really depends on how much use you think you'll get out of it. If very regular during the swimming seasons, I'd probably spring for Ruffwear. If only occasional, probably the Outward Hound. I think they all have similar adjustability.
Just my two cents.
 

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Also, Amazon often has some great deals on the Outward Hound life jackets in the Warehouse Deals section. Warehouse Deals are customer returns....since people often order the wrong size, the only thing wrong with it is the paper tag is detached or missing, which you are going to remove anyway!


We have an Outward Hound life jacket for boating & it has held up well for 4 seasons. My dog is not a swimmer so we have not tested how well it floats.
 

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I have the Outward Hound too and it was very helpful when I took Meeko canoeing this summer.

It fits nice and snug, and floats very well :)

I got mine on Amazon.ca for about $20

 
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