PET LIFE JACK­ETS

Just as with life jack­ets for us hu­mans, siz­ing, fit and con­ve­nience are im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions for dog life jack­ets. And just as with us hu­mans, some pets are bet­ter, nat­u­ral swim­mers. We tested a few on Mag­gie, a 2-year-old, 67-pound black Lab. — Joe

Boating - - FRONT PAGE -

PAN­ELS

pro­vide com­fort and flex­i­bil­ity for a swim­ming dog.

WEST MARINE AD­VANCED PET LIFE JACKET

THE FLOAT: Three seg­mented flota­tion pan­els are flex­i­ble and com­fort­able. There are two mesh pock­ets for small stuff (like the key to the dog­house) and two re­flec­tive strips for night safety. It has a sturdy lift han­dle (two on large sizes). It fea­tures a wide, padded un­der­belly panel.

THE SINK: Ad­justable neck pad is not as wellde­signed as the rest of the vest. Fit at rear could be shaped bet­ter for com­fort.

PRICE: $50; west­ma­rine.com

UN­DER­NEATH

The buoy­ancy un­der the chest al­lows for nat­u­ral swim­ming.

MTI ADVENTUREWEAR UN­DER­DOG

THE FLOAT: A unique con­cept — place the flota­tion foam un­der the pet’s chest. This de­sign con­cept fa­cil­i­tates the nat­u­ral swim­ming po­si­tion for most dogs. There are two con­ve­nient bright-yel­low lift­ing han­dles to hoist your pet. Re­flec­tive pan­els are for night safety.

THE SINK: Since the bulk of the vest is un­der the dog, it could be­come un­com­fort­able af­ter bounc­ing around the bay for a cou­ple of hours or when hang­ing out in the cock­pit most of the day.

PRICE: $53; mti­ad­ven­turewear.com

CON­TOURED

de­sign al­lows for more com­fort­able rear-leg mo­tion.

RUF­FWEAR K-9 FLOAT COAT

THE FLOAT: A well-cut de­sign with a con­toured shape at the back al­lows for com­fort­able walk­ing/ run­ning/swim­ming rear­leg mo­tion. It fea­tures a sturdy, sin­gle lift­ing han­dle. It has good neck sup­port, and it’s eas­ily ad­justed.

THE SINK: With the stiffest con­struc­tion, it could be un­com­fort­able af­ter long hours sit­ting in a cock­pit. The name/num­ber ID la­bel is on the in­side of the vest, and strangers might be re­luc­tant to look for it.

PRICE: $80; ruf­fwear.com

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