While our first dog Reggie is a born and bred excellent swimmer, his sister Redwood struggles in the water. She simply isn’t built for swimming and, up until recently, did not have a great deal of confidence going in the water past her chest.
Enter the EzyDog Dog Life Jacket we received from EzyDog USA. The Dog Life Jacket is available in both bright red and yellow for visibility and ranges from $42USD to $65USD depending on size. It comes in 5 sizes (XS-XL) with a slightly different model for smaller dogs. Redwood is long and lean so we actually ended up with a size small to fit her girth. She’s near the low end of the girth recommendation for a size small and we found that although it fits her well in the chest and girth, because she has a 24 inch back length that the jacket does not quite come as far down her back as we would like. While this does not affect the overall safety of the jacket, I do think a size option that offers a longer back length would help her swimming by offering more buoyancy in her rear end.
The Dog Life Jacket is made of a heavy duty polyester construction with ultra buoyant foam to keep your dog upright in water. While swimming doesn’t come naturally to Redwood, prior to the life jacket she swam a few times with panic in her eyes. The life jacket has improved Redwood’s confidence and has encouraged her to start learning to swim more efficiently as it keeps her chest, head and back above the surface. It’s important to note that this is a flotation device and not a life saving device. The intention is to help keep dogs upright in water and provide a sturdy grab handle to help your pup in and out of the water if needed.
It features easily adjustable buckling straps at the girth and flank and an additional adjustable buckle in the chest. I found it very easy to put on—and that’s saying something because Redwood is notoriously difficult to get to stay still. The webbing used for the straps is heavy duty and durable but remains comfortable for your dog. While it doesn’t have a full belly panel, because of the neoprene straps we have seen no signs of rubbing or irritation after hours of use where Redwood was playing in and out of the water. Once the life vest is on, it doesn’t seem to bother our dog at all. She wrestles with her brother, runs and chases sticks and balls as if she weren’t even wearing it.
The Dog Life Jacket has one key feature that all dog life jackets should have – a convenient grab handle. If your dog needs assistance a grab handle is the easiest way for a human to help them. The handle on this particular jacket is very sturdy and well constructed. Luckily we haven’t had to use the handle in an emergency situation yet but based on our testing I’m confident it would hold up in an emergency.
The Dog Life Jacket also has a handy leash attachment point. While some may not find this feature useful, it has a number of uses. The most common one would be if you’re crossing a river. Attaching a leash to your dog allows you to hold on to them should you face a strong current. It’s also great for beginner swimmers or those who are directionally challenged. Lastly, if you are traveling along a river or between a series of lakes having a leash attachment point means you don’t have to fuss and take the life jacket off for the brief period that you’re away from the water.
My overall impression of the life jacket is that it is very well made. After a month of heavy use it is showing no signs of wear. It looks and feels like a high quality human life jacket and perfectly serves the purpose of keeping your dog safe in the water. When playtime is over, I have found that the life jacket dries quickly in the sun which means it is easy to store. It also minimizes my worrying about her when she’s trying to chase after Reggie in the water.
My review? Five stars. It has become a necessary part of our day-to-day water playtime. I am even considering grabbing a second one for Reggie for when we go paddle boarding and boating.
The EzyDog Dog Life Jacket would be best for: dogs who need some assistance/a boost of confidence to swim, dogs who are natural swimmers and need a little extra buoyancy in case they tire
The EzyDog Dog Life Jacket may not be ideal for: dogs with different body types, humans who are looking for a life saving device
Redwood’s measurements: Girth 24” / Back Length 24” / Weight 45 lbs
Dog Life Jacket size: Small
Review by: Dogs That Hike Explorer @reggieandthevan