Ruffwear Float Coat: a dog life jacket essential for canine water safety

With the hot weather finally here, more and more of us are taking to the water with our dogs. Be it surfing, paddle boarding, boating or kayaking, canines across the UK are joining their owners for all kinds of water sports.

At our Cornwall pet supplies shop, we get a lot of dog owners asking us if their dog needs a life jacket, and which one we’d recommend. So, we’ve put together this blog covering off a few of our most frequently asked questions. And in particular, why we and our own dogs love the Ruffwear Float Coat.

My dog has low-water confidence. Will a dog life jacket help?

The short answer is YES! A high-quality dog buoyancy aid will greatly improve your dog’s experience in the water, helping them build confidence whilst they learn to swim.

Dog life vests like the Ruffwear Float Coat have a streamlined design to facilitate swimming movements. Thanks to the strategically positioned soft PVC-free GaiaTM foam panels, the Float Coat makes it much easier for your dog to manoeuvre through the water, reducing thrashing and minimising the amount of water intake through the nose and mouth.

This is particularly helpful for dog breeds with low water-confidence. And those that aren’t natural-born swimmers, such as canines with brachycephalic skulls including bulldogs, mastiffs and even some spaniels. It’s also great for dogs with anatomical disadvantages such as small limbs, wide chests or low body fat.

My dog loves the water, does he or she really need a buoyancy aid?

Just like humans, even dogs that are strong swimmers will get tired. Dog life vests are a great idea for breeds well known for their ability to swim such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and even Newfoundlands.

Not only does a dog life vest allow your canine to spend longer in the water before they experience fatigue, it also helps them to stay calmer when they start to get tired. More controlled swimming also equals less impact on joints, great for older dogs that can strain themselves in the water.  

Getting your dog out of the water is easier

Sometimes we need to give our pets a helping hand - and this is why the Ruffwear Float Coat features a robust low-profile carry handle. If you’ve ever tried to haul your dog out of the water, be it over the side of a boat or even a pool edge, you’ll know how difficult it can be! The Float Coat’s convenient carry handle lets you grab your pet and help them out of the water without hurting them.

Make sure your dog’s life jacket fits

For your dog to feel confident in the water, it is essential their canine life jacket fits like a glove. We love the Ruffwear Float Coat because it is suitable for so many dogs. It comes in a range of sizes from XXS to XL, with each featuring a telescoping neck closure with permanent attachments to ensure the jacket stays firmly in place. Easy-clip buckles keep straps secure, and are sheltered to prevent them from snagging on branches and rocks. Many of our customers fit their dog’s Float Coat themselves, but we will happily get your dog suited up in our Saltash Cornwall pet shop if you’re passing by.

A dog life jacket needs to be comfortable both in and out of the water

Some dog flotation devices are only designed to be used in the water, which often means they are left behind on walks where swimming is only a small part of the trip. But thanks to the Ruffwear Float Coat’s design, your dog can wear it comfortably to and from the water. Its slim profile keeps it out of the way of limbs and means your canine won’t even notice it. There’s also a lead clip-point located under the handle, so your pet won’t need to wear their collar.

Extreme durability

Dogs don’t always take the easiest route. But we’ve found our Float Coats shrug off scuffs and will last for many swims (and walks). It's durable construction uses 800 denier ballistic nylon with waterproof polypropylene webbing. Whether in water or on land, the Ruffwear Float Coat has been designed to take the rough with the smooth.  

High visibility and style

As far a dog life preservers go, we think the Ruffwear Float Coat is pretty stylish. It comes in three appealing and highly visible colours: Blue Dusk, Red Soumac and Wave Orange. All colours feature tonal reflective strips for use in low-light conditions as well as a loop for attaching a safety light. 

Does my dog need a life jacket?

Whether your dog takes to water like a fish, or you are still in the process of coaxing him or her in to join you, a dog buoyancy aid will mean an all-round safer and easier experience for both you and them.

If you plan for your dog to be in the water for extended periods, like when you go paddle boarding or swimming, a dog life preserver is a must. But if your dog just likes to take a dip during his or her regular walk, a dog life jacket is usually a good idea - even for breeds that are known to love the water. A dog life vest will give you peace of mind and should your pet get into difficulty in the water, it will greatly improve their chances of survival.

Where can I purchase a Ruffwear Float Coat dog life jacket?

The Ruffwear Float Coat makes a great piece of gear to help keep your dog safe this summer, and we have them in stock along with a variety of high quality floating dog toys such as the Ruffwear Hydro Plane (AKA an epic floating dog Frisbee) and the Ruffwear Lunker, a ‘fetch and tug’ toy for land or  water play.