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Old 01-20-2015   #1
Newman Lake, Washington
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 84
Doggie PFD

My wife got a new puppy last fall and has decided that she wants to take it with her on flatwater paddles on her SUP, as well as on some raft trips this summer.

We live on a small lake so she will be using it almost daily. One thing she is looking for is to be able to quickly and easily grab the top handle and help the dog back onto the board without the PFD slipping or coming off. I know there are several brands out there, which one is your favorite?

Her puppy is probably going to top out around 40-50 lbs.

Thanks for any recommendations.

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Old 01-20-2015   #2
Chandler, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 8
Have had several of the doggie PFDs out there - have settled on the Astral Bird Dog pfd as the best one so far. The only one that I am aware of (at least when I bought the Astral a few years ago) that has protection for their undercarriage - good for taking them on the rivers and when they are jumping off things! Springer Spaniel about 45 lbs and think he has the medium and it fits well.

And I can lift the dog back on my SUP board by using the t-grip of the SUP paddle, hooking the loop on top of the PFD and pull - don't even have to reach down. That took some practice though!

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Old 01-20-2015   #3
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 332
Ruffware is the best I've used.
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Old 01-20-2015   #4
RiverMamma's Avatar
ebbing, flowing..., CO, NM
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 239
we have one ruffwear and two NRS's... I have to say that I think the NRS ones are way better than the ruffwear one! They both have great handles & I can pull all three pups in the boat easily, but I find that the full underbelly of the ruffwear one hinders the movement of whichever pup is wearing it. The NRS CFD's have just two thick straps under the belly and the pups don't even seem to notice they are wearing them! But yeah, the ruffwear one will make whoever is wearing it struggle to get herself in and out of and around the raft. I've even seen one of our pups do a backwards tumble in it once or twice while trying to get in the boat.
Journeys of a River Mamma Blog "Ever onward, ever forward, ever down the River!"- Ed Abbey
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Old 01-20-2015   #5
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I have a D-fa Float Doggy. It has nice underbelly protection, and wraps around the dog really well. I like that it buckles on top of the dog instead of underneath. No rubbing from straps and easy to get on & off.
FLOAT-DOGGY™ - D-fa Dogs
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Old 01-20-2015   #6
gringoanthony's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 115
We have 2 different Ruffwear PFDs that we've been using for a few years.

They're durable and pretty well built. The bright colors and handle (on top for lifting your pooch out of the water) are also nice.

However, we've never been overly stoked on the amount of floatation they provide.

We started taking our pooches on III+ whitewater last summer and are looking for PFDs with better floatation.
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Old 01-21-2015   #7
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 446
We use the ruff wear dfd. He is 75lbs and doesn't seem to bulky he can around just fine. My friends has the NRS and it never seems like you can get it very tight. I'd be interested in trying the astral.
Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.
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Old 01-21-2015   #8
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
Another vote for NRS. With a heavy dog like ours, we were most concerned about having belly straps that would not dig into her when lifting her back into the boat. Some of them you see at the pet store have 1" or less straps with no padding underneath. We tried a Body Glove, which ripped out first time we used it.

One thing we really like about the NRS is the zipper pocket on the back that you can store a leash in.
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Old 01-22-2015   #9
DesertRatonIce's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 217
I currently have a ruffwear float coat and it is perfect for the kind of dog that I have. I agree with rivermomma that it can hinder the dog's movement. The dog I have now doesn't care too much about doing anything but chilling. He doesn't swim but loves riding in the boat. I have the float coat for him in case the shit hits the fan. In my opinion I think that the float coat cfd is just built better and will last longer.
I have used the NRS and Astral ones as well. For a more active dog that is running around and jumping in and out of boat, the NRS cfd is the way to go, it seems to just become part of the dog and it doesn't hinder the dog's movement like the float coat could.
The Astral cfd was for my pit bull I had a few years back. The jacket really protects the dog from things they may hit or land on. Pitties aren't the most smartest when it comes to checking things out, they just do it or at least mine did. I liked having more protection for his chest.
I think it comes down to what kind of dog you have and how active they are. All the company's have good products and it really comes down to your personal choices.
A hole so big, it sucked the leaves off the tree.
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Old 01-22-2015   #10
Newman Lake, Washington
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 84
Thanks for all the input! The puppy is a very active collie/lab mix so I will be looking at one that allows her full range of motion.

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