By Anne Egan
Dogs on board, well not quite a board or a canoe, we tested the Petfloat from Crewsaver with our two Havanese whilst enjoying a Sunday afternoon punt in Cambridge. Now Frosty and Bobo are not exactly renowned for their love of water. However being part of the Paddler family it was only fair that they dutifully donned their beautiful floats and set sail on the River Cam.
Petfloat is an attractive piece of kit, red and black, with reflective strips and a zipped pocket, designed to assist your dog to float should they find themselves overboard. It consists of a paddled jacket that sits on the back and sides and is secured to a more thinly padded chest piece via a system of straps secured by buckles. The sensitive areas like underarms are free and the fitting allows the dog to move normally.
The float is easy to fit, especially if your dog co-operates and stands nicely whilst you position the float and fasten the buckles. For ease of rescue there is a central grab handle which can be used to hold onto the dog and to help haul the dog back into/onto your boat and out of the water.
We are unable to say how it is to lift the dogs out of the river using the handle as neither of our dogs went in on this occasion. However we did lift the dogs using the handle whilst on the punt and felt that in the event of needing to grab and lift it would be perfectly easy to do this particularly as our dogs are small at around 7kgs.
We passed many other canoes, small boats and punts that afternoon with two or three others with dogs on board. This stimulus could have been enough to encourage one of our dogs, Bobo, to take a flying leap into the water. It was very reassuring that they were wearing the floats. We felt that should they jump, or fall in, they would not come to any harm before they could be helped back out of the water. Thus the experience of having the dogs on the craft with us was more relaxing.
The dogs took a few minutes each to adjust to their new attire but then happily wore them and moved around the punt for around two hours. In retrospect now I realize that I should have ordered the smaller size as perhaps they were a little too big for our dogs. That was my mistake as there is a sizing guide on the Crewsaver website.
Towards the end of the journey I removed the jackets as I thought perhaps that after a few hours on they might be a little hot on what was a very pleasant warmish afternoon.
I would definitely use the floats with the dogs again and hope to take them paddleboarding with me in the Spring. Should your dog become tired, or if the water was very cold, the PFD would give them some buoyancy and warmth in the very same way as a buoyancy aid does for paddlers, whilst waiting to be rescued.
Available in red and black and five sizes ranging from extra small to extra large.
For more information and pricing see www.crewsaver.co.uk/Leisure/p/578/petfloat
Here you may also watch a video of the float worn and being actively used by a variety of dogs in a swimming pool.
- Comfortable soft closed-cell foam
- Easily adjustable and quick to fit
- Integral handle to safely lift your pet aboard
- Pocket for lead and disposable bags
- Size measured from collar to base of tail