Our dogs are out with us in canoes and kayaks 3-4…
Source: received it as a sample, freebie, or prize (Get Oudoors Facebook page (contest ))
Our dogs are out with us in canoes and kayaks 3-4 days per week, and we need a durable, safe, reliable life jacket for them to use. We were not too familiar with this dog jacket until we won it from Get Outdoors in North Carolina. We have been very impressed with its quality, and the freedom and security it provides for our dog Edgar.
- Well made
- Nice color choices
- Strong buckles and straps
- Appears comfortable for the dog
- Dog can swim easily while wearing it
- We have not really found any yet...perhaps the fact it is a bit higher priced than some jackets (esp. for larger dogs), may make some folks reluctant to make the investment.
We received the Astral Bird Dog Canine Life Jacket together with the previously-reviewed Astral Ronny (human) PFD and Astral Brewer water shoes, from Get Outdoors, a North Carolina-based gear supplier. We consider ourselves fortunate to have won such high quality canoeing gear. We sized the jacket for my husband’s dog, Edgar, a smaller-than average 55 lb. Black Lab mix, in a very attractive red color. The large size fits him very well.
Edgar used to wear hand-me-down jacket from my dog, Gryphon. Griff is somewhat larger than Edgar, and the longer body of that life jacket constricted Edgar’s movement to some degree. Edgar is a very active dog, and the cut of the Astral allows him to move freely. It attaches with two buckles under his chest, which holds him securely. The neck opening is adjustable; once set, it also holds him securely.
There is a padded carrying handle on the spine of the PFD, and an easily accessible leash ring just in front of it. It comes in green or red, and has reflective piping for safety. The foam provides a good amount of flotation for the dog.
We tested the life jacket while swimming a few weeks ago. Unlike most Labs, Edgar is not terribly enthusiastic about being in the water (he loves being ON the water!), but the Astral holds his head in a natural position above the water line, and the cut of the jacket allows him to paddle normally. We towed him out into the water several times and he would turn and easily paddle back to shore.
Today, we had a more dramatic test of the Astral Bird Dog’s utility! We were paddling on a local lake, Gyphon and me in my solo canoe, and my husband and Edgar in his kayak. Edgar saw a large heron in the weeds on the shore, and decided he wanted a closer look. He jumped up on the foredeck of the kayak, quite excited, and slid right off into the water.
My husband quickly hauled him back into the boat using the padded handle on the back of the jacket. We’ve often talked and joked about the dogs jumping out of the canoe, but this was the first time they actually did it!
This dog life jacket is extremely well made, and we feel it will be a durable, sturdy life jacket for Edgar for a long time. We like the way it is cut, and allows him to move...he certainly gets all excited when it gets put on him. We certainly recommend this canine life jacket for water dogs! The price varies according to your dog's size (per Astral web site).