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Question for the buzz:

I've got a great golden retriever that loves to join us on the river. She's constantly in and out of the ducky. She's a very strong swimmer. She does great in class III water. She wears a life vest.

The problem is that when she stops moving, she gets cold and shivers. She's fine for the first 2-3 hours when she's constantly moving, but then has problems. This happens in the summer--I'm just posting now.

She's got a good fur coat, but it doesn't help much when it gets soaked through. She's in shape without much fat to help. The life vest doesn't help keep her warm. Anyone else have this problem?

Is there any product out there to keep a dog warm in the water? Any thermal layers for a dog? Would a fleece dog coat work?

Thanks.
 

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I would think that wet fleece would weigh her down and not provide much warmth. A modified hydroskin would seem to work better. I would start looking at website's like Cabela's that caters to hunters. Duck dogs jump in some darn cold water, surely there is a product out there for them.
 

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i think a modified hydro or other neo based item (old wetsuit) could be altered to save their heat. i used to take a boxer out on runs in real cold weather. she had no hair or fat as most dont. i altered a fleece vest a little and i could get her into it. it fit her chest tight and then was taken in a little at the bottom to seal snug on her belly, right in front of her hind legs . seemed to keep her from shivering as bad. i think the key is to make sure the garment will fit snug. just like us, a baggy wetsuit doesnt do much good. if i still had the girlfriend around, i am sure i would have made one by now for the water. if i was looking for the easiest way with the least amount of alterations i'd find a hydro vest, that pretty much fit the dog and then with it on her/him, pin or marker it so that it could fit snug. a zipper on the back would make for real easy on and off. if i was being cheap, or feared messing up a new 50 plus dollar vest, i would get an old wetsuit from somewhere, but much tailoring will be needed and time equals money, unless you are an unemployed kayker who sits around whining all winter. interested in what you come up with.
 

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When I bought my dog a life jacket, the instructions said that you must remove the life jacket and let them shake the water out of their coat so they can properly dry. By not allowing them to shake dry, the water remains trapped next to their skin and will drop their body tempature. It's one of those things I didn't think about until after I read the instructions. Go figure.
 

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My dog gets pretty cld on river trips, even with his Ruff Wear PFD so I've been thinking about one of these vests.
 

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I have 2 labs that shiver all day as well. This summer our dogs will all be running around the take outs with camo Armor Flex Chest Protectors!!!
 

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Wow, great responses. Thanks. Good find with those Cabela neoprene dog vests.

What's with the Armor-flex™ Chest Protector on the vests--are those things bullet proof in case you accidently shoot at your dog?
 

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Where I have hunted duck, Arkansas, they leave the stalk of the rice in the water and its pretty stiff. The dog jumps in the water like they are shot out of a canon. The dog gets roughed up by the end of the day. I am sure it some sort of coating to protect the dogs chest and belly from brush.
 

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Another thought- Fuel his fire... bring lots of doggy snacks! One of the first things you do for a hypothermic/cold person is to make sure they are hydrated and have eaten some good high-calorie, easy-to-digest food. Not sure about dog physiology, but I'd imagine keeping calories up could help with the internal heater. When I take my dog out skiing, etc, I make sure to bring plenty of treats.
 

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I have a "blue" pit bull - he keeps warm with a cabela's vests - the camo one with the floatation - it works great he was out swimming in the ark last week with ice floating around. It will also fit under his NRS life jacket. The only problem i have found with the vest is for a dog with a 38" chest and a 25" waist they do not fit the best around the waist but for a "normal" lab type dog they should fit well.
 

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Wow, great responses. Thanks. Good find with those Cabela neoprene dog vests.

What's with the Armor-flex Chest Protector on the vests--are those things bullet proof in case you accidently shoot at your dog?
Keeps the dog from getting impaled by a stick or branch. Also good against barbed wire.
 
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