We Like: Portage Bay Float Coat By Ruffwear

Summer is almost here and that means humans & their dogs will be on or around the water. We often ask our dogs to do things that their instincts haven’t prepared them for, like boating. I don’t think dogs come equipped with sea legs or the ability to judge whether it’s safe to jump in a river to go after water fowl. Most dogs can swim, but even the best swimmer can be crippled by strong currents, hypothermia, or panic and end up drowning. A good life jacket could make all the difference. Keep those pups safe!

With a good life jacket, dogs with amputated limbs or mobility problems could still benefit from water exercise.  You won’t have to worry about your dog sinking or her head going under water.

We have the Float Coat which I love.  RuffWear designed a great canine life jacket.

We like the life jackets by RuffWear because:

  • it’s one of the few with foam under the body & under the head, providing much better buoyancy than jackets with foam just on the back, & it keeps dogs horizontal in the water
  • it fits very snugly & securely with wide sections across the chest and under the belly, 3 adjustable straps/clips, and velcro at the chest. This jacket won’t twist or cut into your dog the way jackets with unpadded nylon straps can.
  • it has a handle on the back making it possible to grab a dog to lift it from the water
  • the different foam thickness and the ergonomic tailoring makes for a comfortable fit and allows for good rang of motion, in particular, the front legs (Saffron actually seems to like wearing hers even out of the water.)
  • highly reflective piping and bright yellow material makes your dogs more visible (I recommend the yellow instead of the red, since yellow provides a stronger contrast)
  • there’s a D-ring for a leash and a loop to attach a light beacon
  • fabric on underside has tight weave so dog’s fur won’t get knitted into fabric
  • super easy to keep clean and dries quickly


2 Replies to “We Like: Portage Bay Float Coat By Ruffwear”

  1. A few years back while fishing 40 miles offshore in Lake Superior we suddenly notice that my buddies lab Sal was missing. She had been sleeping in the cabin the last time we saw her. We looked for her aboard but it soon became apparent that she had gone over while we were busy landing fish. It was late June but the water temp was in the low 40s. Using the GPS we retraced out route to find Sal.

    Just by chance my friend had put Sals float coat on that we use for waterfowl fall hunting before we left the dock. She had got wet from chasing geese and was shaking.

    After search for two hours the winds began to build with waves running close to four feet. We had no choice but to head for shore. As we headed in we got a call on our radio that that another boat had just picked up a black lab. We met the boat at the dock and gladly got Sal back. She was not worse for wear.

    We feel that without the float coat she would not have survived. The cold water would have caused hypothermia and she would have drown. Just like in the fall and early winter the foam coat acted like a wet suit keeping Sal warm.

    Now when ever we have the dogs on the boat on big water they always have a float coat on.

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