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Thomson & Friend Test PFDs from Ruff Wear
Keeping your dog safe on the water

©Outdoor Adventure Canada

Portage Float Coat™
Thomson, our little Shih Tzu, tried out a pfd from Ruff Wear designed for the smaller outdoor canine companion. Thomson isn't your average poofy little dog. He loves to swim and has a habit of getting muddy. He likes to hike and can keep up with the big dogs. While he is a great little swimmer, I am a firm believer that everyone in our canoe be in a pfd, the family pet included.

I have to admit that I went into this review being a bit leery. The pfd seemed like it would be too small for him and after a bad experience with another brand I didn't expect much. To my delight the Portage Float Coat fits him perfectly and because it has a better design we find he is able to swim more comfortably. The pfd is standing up to all the abuse he can give it.

Big Eddy Float Coat™
Wearing a life jacket was an entirely new experience for the Labrador Retriever who tested it for us. The first time we put Ruff Wear's Big Eddy Float Coat™ on him, we had to bribe him with a snack. Not because he was unsure or afraid, but because he was so excited that we needed to get him to stand still.

As with any new gear for a pet, we did a few trial runs on dry land before testing it in the elements. The first few times he wore it he would stand there as stiff as a board with an excited yet perplexed look on his face; the only thing moving would be his tail. After a few minutes, however, he would settle into it and was comfortable walking around, sitting and laying down like normal. We found the Big Eddy Float Coat™ very easy to get both on and off Thomson's canine pal (once we subdued his excitement).

Ruff Wear's Big Eddy Float Coat™ comes in multiple sizes and in two bright colours with added 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective trim for increased visibility. The abrasion-resistant materials are made to withstand extended use in rough and fast moving waters for active water-loving dogs.

The life jacket is secured by one clip on the chest and two clips around the belly. Unlike other canine life jackets, Ruff Wear has designed this so the PVC-free foam buoyancy cells wrap entirely around the dog's body with built in straps rather than just a few lengths of webbing. This allows the dog to float in a natural swimming position. It has a contoured, athletic fit allowing free movement in both the water and on land.

Even though this boy is a 78 pound Labrador Retriever, the heavily reinforced assistance handle made it very easy to lift him out of the water into the canoe. The handle is low-profile which is less likely to get caught on obstacles in the water or during portages.

The Big Eddy Float Coat™ by Ruff Wear is a top-of-the-line canine life jacket, ideal for active dogs who frequent the water. It comes highly recommended by the dog owner for the pet's comfort and safety, and for peace of mind when participating in water activities with him.

As an added note, if you are looking for a fantastic floating toy for your dog that compliments the Big Eddy Float Coat™, Ruff Wear has just the ticket: Their Hydro Plane™ fetching toy is a soft disk designed for dogs who love to play fetch in and out of the water. The dogs give it two paws up.

So whether you have a big boy or a little powder puff like Thomson, check out the line of water safety products from Ruff Wear-you won't be disappointed.

Written by Laurie March
Labrador Retriever photo courtesy of Bryan March
Thomson's photo courtesy of Laurie March

masthead photo courtesy
Laurie March




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