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Dog Life-Jacket

August 31st, 2005, 10:44 PM
Ok... I just looked at the Petsmart web page, for a dog lifejacket. We're going rafting on the river this weekend (with kids, not white-water) and haven't yet decided if the dog is going with us. I honestly have NO idea if my dog can swim, and rather than taking that chance, or even if he can and gets TIRED, I want to get him a life jacket. So the Petsmart webpage says they have one in X Small "Life Jacket X Small (fits weight up to 18 lbs., Girth 15-19)" What I'm wondering... my dog is a Maltese, he only weighs 6 lbs, and he's only 15" around his ribs. So based on their measurements, this won't fit him. Is there anything smaller? Does anyone know if this is something I can sew? It shouldn't be too hard, right, just some foam and make like a doggy-coat with the foam blocks in the sides?

Any suggestions, ideas, other products? Product suggestions would be best if they would be available in a large retail store such as PetSmart, PetCetera... I'd rather NOT go to Petland, but if I have to, I have to. And if anyone has any experience with these lifejackets, please let me know!

Or if someone has a basic pattern and I can whip something together for him!

Thanks very much in advance!!
Melissa & Cube

August 31st, 2005, 10:49 PM
Don't get the one that zips up on the top. It should fit snug.
If it is possible for you to go into the store so you can try it on, that would be best.

August 31st, 2005, 11:01 PM
What's wrong with the zipper? I have so far found 2 brands: Outward Hound and "Fido Float". The Outward Hound one doesn't APPEAR to have a zipper at the top, so it must be the other one. But Outward Hound doesn't make one that's small enough for my dog, so I might have no choice. I will take the dog to the store to try them on, but it'd be nice to know in advance if there's even a remote chance that it'll fit him, and when the smallest O.H. one is 2" wider than he is, I'm thinking he'll just fall right out!

August 31st, 2005, 11:01 PM
I have the outward hound lifevest in size medium for a 25 pound cocker..
She can't swim.. well she can, but she flails and I think she thinks she is going to drown.. but in the vest she swims nicely in the pool.. I think it rocks.

It velcros shut under the tummy so it is more versitile than most with buckles.. so it is ajustable. 25 pound dog fit just barely into the small, but it looked funny.. didn't cover enough of her.. wasn't sure about the floatability.. was for dogs up to 25 pounds.. but ya never know..

You may find if you tried the XS on that you can adjust it to fit correctly. Although I felt stupid trying them on my pet, I have come to really like them..
Add: With my dog being at the small end of the size range for a medium I had to velcro it a little tighter than the velcro is meant to be, but there's so much velcro it doesn't matter.. you could loosen it or tighten it below or above the 'perfect girth', and you can make the straps slightly tighter than they are meant to go as well without harming the product.. If you toghten them, and then buckle them.

Hope this helps..

At a bbq/ pool party a woman I didn't know thought I had children since she had never seen anyone care for their dog the way I cared for mine.. Lifejacket, and swimming with her off and on to keep her cool. Just the way she said it was all Aww..

August 31st, 2005, 11:20 PM
Thank you SO much. I will be taking my doggy to the petstore tomorrow to see if I can find a vest to fit him. From what you're saying, there's a pretty good chance that the X-Small one will fit him. I suppose I have the skill, I could always shorten the straps if needed. I just wasn't sure if it was more like a coat the way it did up or not.


August 31st, 2005, 11:24 PM
NP. I thought wanting one at first was stupid.. and felt like an idiot trying them on.. People walking by with their pets staring at me tryign to fit this vest..

The part that goes under the neck is velcro and has a buckle too. It's far more versatile than the one I saw in Pet Valu a few months later.. It was a zipper design, and had no adjustment at all. Didn't know they could be so varied. Oh it dries really fast too *surprisingly* So if your pup gets wet accidentally, or on purpose taking a dip with you, you don't have to worry about wet vest in the car and what not.

Hope this bumps your shopping expectations, I hope the XS fits your lil one. :)

August 31st, 2005, 11:59 PM
The outward hound is a good one, very adjustable with velcro and buckles. It even has padding around the throat to keep the head above water. The ones with zippers tend to begin to unzip.

September 1st, 2005, 12:47 AM
I think ruffwear also makes one-- they do! And the sizes start at 12-19"!
Ruffwear float coat (

September 1st, 2005, 07:34 AM
Just please make sure that whatever you end up with fits your dog snuggly. As is with infants, a life jacket if too large can hold the head under water or aid in drowning instead of saving.

I taught Junior Squadron for many years and at the beginning of the season we had the parents meet us at the pool with the chld in a life jacket. We would slide the child in the pool and show the parents the difference between a proper fitting one and one too large.

Just my two cents worth. :)

September 1st, 2005, 09:56 PM
Good news: Cube is now outfitted with an X-Small Outward Hound life jacket. He's wearing it in the house to get used to it. He's not really impressed but it's not really bugging him too much. I think it just feels bulky and he can't lay down the way he likes to.
Bad news: So far I can't find any!!! I'll let you know after he gets chucked in the water and I find out if he can swim or not!

Prin: I looked at the Ruffwear ones (after I got home with the Outward Hound one) and I'm actually glad I didn't know about them in advance. The XXSmall comes only in yellow (which is fine considering the Outward Hound one is bright orange), but they cost about twice as much as the O.H. ones!! And my doggie does not need a designer life jacket, just one that keeps him from drowning.

BMD: Thank you! I will make sure that his life jacket is a good fit--don't want him to drown!!

Thanks guys!!

September 2nd, 2005, 07:36 AM
I think we need a photo of him in his new apparel! :D

September 2nd, 2005, 10:45 AM
Mine waddles in hers like she's wearing a wet diaper.. I assume it's from the bulk.. She doesn't roam too far from me while wearing it.

I'm glad it fit. I want piccas too!