Our two Golden Retrievers, Goldie and Aspen, loved to swim – it was their favorite activity! I (Stella) had purchased the Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket five years ago when we got our summer place in Grand Lake, Colorado where they were able to swim nearly every weekend. I had initially purchased this for Goldie, who needed some extra assistance. Upon Goldie’s passing, I had then started using it for Aspen. Hind sight, I wished that they would have both used this throughout their entire lives, as they also were able to swim while living in Wisconsin.
FIT: Goldie was 74 lb, with a very long, lean body. Aspen was 72 lb, but her body was not quite as long or as tall as that of Goldie’s. It adjusted to fit perfectly on both of them. You are able to adjust around the waist and the neck area. And, the body of the vest is insulated pretty well, so it keeps their core temperate even when the water may be a bit cool.
DURABILITY: this vest was used dozens upon dozens of times over a course of three years. Toward the end, the velcro had begun to lose a tight grip simply due to wear and tear. However, the straps that wrap underneath the belly and then buckle along the side of the vest helped to keep the vest in place even if the velcro came loose. The underbelly part of the vest is made with neoprene that stretches up to the side to get the desired tightness of the velcro.
The vest also has a wonderful thick handle along the back/top that allows you to hold onto them and/or hook a leash to it. Whenever they went swimming, we used a fifty foot rope that we knotted to a carabiner, which we then attached to the handle of the vest. It allowed us to keep them at a safe distance in the water, and reel them in when necessary.
Additionally, at the location where we usually swam them in Grand Lake, we have seen multiple moose, so having them attached to the rope also prevents them from approaching the moose to investigate out of sheer curiosity. Never underestimate the dangers of wild animals, moose in particular, nor assume that your dog(s) will return to you when called. To keep your pups safe in the water, having them wear a life vest and keeping them on a rope/leash will be your best options.
BUOYANCY: this vest produced enough buoyancy that they really didn’t have to move their legs in order to stay afloat, although they did not know that. Truly, they could have just simply floated in place, but they were always much too eager to retrieve the ball instead.
As I mentioned above, I wish that I had always used the Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket for them, even when they were younger. For instance, dogs often do not know their limitations, and when it is time to rest. This is especially critical when dogs are swimming, as they can suddenly become overly exerted (from the heat and/or aerobically) and not have the strength/stamina to swim back to the shore.
It is also vital that dogs wear a vest while boating in the event of an emergency and they go overboard. A vest will not only help to keep them above the waves/wakes in the water, but will also provide a form of detection to find them (i.e. bright color of the vest) so they do not get hit by another boat.
Overall: Good Purchase
Price paid: $21.99
Place purchased: Amazon
Link to Outward Hound website: Outward Hound
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