Best Canine PFDs for Kayaking

doh pfd for kayaking

My 5-year old pooch, sinks like a stone. He’ll try to swim, but can barely keep his head out of the water in a tranquil lake, let alone in a swift moving river. So, a canine PFD is a must for him. But, even dogs who stroke like a greyhound running need a little protection when the water gets rough. To find out who the top dawgs are in the canine PFD market, River and I tested three high-end, full-length PFDs. We checked them for fit, ease of adjusting, and buoyancy, while making an excursion to the Pacific.

1. RuffWear’s K-9 Float Coat

  • Upside: Great fit and easy to put on and adjust.
  • Downside: No complaints from River
  • Ideal User: Any pooch accompanying you on the lake, river or ocean

Manufactured by a dog-specialty company, Ruffwear’s K-9 float was thoughtfully designed, and was a clear favorite with River. The ergonomic cut fit him like a glove. Read – no bulkiness. The jacket’s variable thickness with high buoyancy flotation placed low on the body kept River afloat without restricting his movements. Owners will love it since it’s really easy to put on and adjust.

The jacket features two easily adjustable buckles under the torso, plus a velcro strap and buckle around the neck. Made with 1680-denier ballistic nylon, it’s tough enough to resist encounters with rocks, branches and whatnot. Other features include an attachment handle, hidden D-ring, and high-luminescence reflective trim on the sides.

2. NRS’ Canine Flotation Device

  • Upside: Handy zipper pocket on back of lifejacket
  • Downside: A bit stiff and bulky
  • Ideal User: Any pooch accompanying you on the lake, river or ocean

NRS’s sturdy Canine Flotation Device is designed to do exactly what it’s suppose to do – keep your dog afloat. High buoyancy flotation is uniformly placed throughout the jacket. Great when your pooch gets thrown out of the raft, but makes for a somewhat stiff and bulky jacket. It did a nice job of keeping River’s head out of the water.

Made with 1000-denier Cordura shell, the jacket features two wide and soft under-straps and a buckle around the neck. It also has a grab loop, leash ring, and high-luminescence reflective strips placed on top. A large zippered pocket makes a handy place to keep dog treats.

Available in red/black from x-small to x-large sizes.

3. Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

  • Upside: Wraparound float panel eliminates binding points on dog’s underside
  • Downside: Takes practice getting on your dog
  • Ideal User: Any pooch accompanying you on the lake, river or ocean

Pooches that fuss with buckles on their stomachs will appreciate Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket. Its padded wraparound panel eliminates binding points on your dog’s underside. As a bonus, the wraparound will also help keep your canine warm in cold water – a real plus if you have a skinny dog. The jacket’s ample flotation let River swim comfortably. The only drawback is it can be tricky to put on.

The Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket has a two-buckle system for the body (located on the side) and a single buckle for the neck with a nonbonding piece to prevent slippage. As with others, it features a grab loop, D-ring, and high-luminescence reflective strips.

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