Canine Floatation Devices (CFD) for SUP Pups
Standup paddling with your pup onboard might be a fun bonding experience. But, it can also be a dangerous—or even devastating—event if an emergency arises and you’re unprepared and unable to ensure your pet’s safety. While the U.S. Coast Guard requires recreational vessels to ‘have a wearable life jacket for each person aboard,’ and, California Law requires life vests be worn by those under the age of 13 when aboard a watercraft 26-feet or less, unfortunately, there aren’t any life vest requirements for dogs or other pets.
Although there’s no law in place to protect our fur children, four-legged friends deserve the same attention to water safety as any human. There are lots of options for canine life vests, and it’s best to refer to one of the many sizing and weight charts provided by makers of canine floatation devices (CFD) to make the best decision when shopping for your pet. It’s also imperative to make sure your dog can swim prior to paddling out—which means testing them first in calmer shallow was with supervision, of course—and that you’ve talked to your veterinarian about any potential health issues that might further their risk of potential injury. When taking your pup to SUP, be a responsible guardian and have a proper life vest that will help keep your dog water-safe, like the ones we’ve found below. You can’t predict an accident, but you can prevent them sometimes, and be prepared when one occurs. —Shari Coble
NRS CFD Dog Life Jacket
A quality adjustable CFD option, this vest by NRS offers five adjustment points (four across the sides and one over the shoulder) and three NRS buckles to securely fasten the vest around your dog so he or she will be snug and properly outfitted to remain on the water’s surface. The grab handle on the top of the vest/pet’s back aids in easy retrieval, and the leash ring allows the CFD to double as a walking harness, but can also be used to attach a light, information tag, or reflector. The NRS CFD features flotation around the neck and under the chin as well as across the back, where two strips of reflective tape help further visibility. There’s also a zippered pocket to store a leash, snacks, or a small toy. Don’t worry about wear and tear, NRS used some of their toughest patented material to make this the first and last CFD you’ll ever need for your pooch.
RC Pets Canine Life Jacket
US Coast Guard approved, RC Pets’ Canine Life Jacket is a best-selling item—and for good reason: there’s a low-profile handle on the back for easy-grabbing, reflective piping along the back and sides, as well as a D-ring leash clip, too. The only color option is bright orange, which helps with easy visibility if in the water, and the design—an ergonomic fit—allows dogs to walk and swim naturally. The NBR foam within is environmentally-friendly, and, there are adjustable straps around the neck and waist, to modify sizing and ensure a comfortable-fitting vest that won’t your pup won’t slip out of when trying to stay afloat.
$45 – $56 (price varies by size), rcpets.com
Ruffwear K9 Dog Float Coat
Buyers of this CFD rave about it’s ability to keep pups of all shapes and sizes higher up in the water, as well as its ability to self-correct so the dog’s head stays above the surface. Available in red and yellow, the vest by Ruffwear is built with abrasion-resistant material, and is adjustable with two straps at the telescoping neck, as well as two straps on the rib cage. Reflective piping across the top back and sides allow you to easily spot your furry friend, while the handle on the top back makes grabbing your pup almost effortless.
The article was originally published on Standup Paddling
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