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Product Reviews

K9 Float Coat


Summer is here! My husband and I live in southern Arizona where the winters are warm and the summers sizzle. We are constantly on the lookout for ways to cool off, preferably ways that involve water, which is really not as limited in the low-lying desert as people might think. Phoenix and its surrounding Valley, along with the city of Tucson, have the highest percentage of swimming pools in the nation.

Last year alone there were over 30,000 new pools built in just the Phoenix Valley. Aside from the many private and public pools, there are several man-made lakes (built mostly for flood control purposes, but they also provide some great recreation), a few rivers (although many are bone-dry most of the year), and tons of golf courses with small lakes. In fact, golfing, fishing, swimming, and boating are year-round activities out here.

Unfortunately, with all of that water comes all of the inherent risks as well. You know, like sharks, jellyfish, and the occasional ill-tempered sea bass… Wait – that’s the ocean…that large body of constant, cool water near California, Mexico, Florida (all places I would rather be right now). We’re talking about Arizona! Around here we only have an assortment of large mouth bass and hungry trout to nibble our toes and fishing lines.

Sadly, we also have one of the highest drowning rates in the country. Not only for people, but for pets as well.

So this month, we have decided to take a look at some products that can help us aid our pets in surviving the summer. Literally…

Ruff Wear® is the manufacturer of the products we’re reviewing today. Their product line includes everything from travel bowls to grooming supplies, and first-aid products to safety equipment for pets. They even have an absolutely amazing line of sportswear for dogs (which also sounds a little silly to say, but is true).

Since I work from home and my husband works at an office, I am often here alone with our menagerie of animals. We only have three dogs (and no – please do not send more – the low number of dogs is more than offset by the 18 cats and 3 kittens), so for this week’s review I have chosen two RuffWear® products that pertain specifically to summer survival. These are two of the most important items you’ll need to get your pets through a blistering summer; a life jacket and pet boots.


The life jacket is known as the Ruffwear K9 Float Coat , and is a must-have if you spend any time at all with your pets at the lake or in the river, near the ocean, or around fishing ponds or backyard pools.

Now, to be honest, getting a dog to wear a life jacket is very similar to getting an 11-year-old boy to wear a suit and tie. I have to bribe, cajole, threaten, and finally wrestle them into it. But, once I get it on and properly adjusted (without getting my face chewed off), they are perfectly content with wearing it. In fact, they hardly seem to notice it afterwards, which means it must be very comfortable, and happily, dogs don’t care much about tan lines.

Does the Ruff Wear® float coat work? Oh yes, absolutely. A dog may still paddle ferociously if they get into deep water, but if they wear themselves out doing so, they won’t drown, and that’s a huge relief to a pet owner. Pets drowning in backyard pools is a common occurrence in Arizona, because once they get in, they often can’t figure out the best exit strategy, and exhaust themselves trying to find a way. If you are not home during the day, and your pool is not gated, the K-9 Float Coat can literally save your pet’s life.

Best of all, the Ruff Wear® Float Coat comes with a convenient built-in handle that you can use to lift your pet from the water, bright colors for easy visibility, and strong D-ring attachments that ensure long wear. It is available in sizes ranging from XXS to XL and the prices run from $49.95 – $69.95 – it is well worth the cost, if you ask me (and, well – you are).

Another must-have product that Ruffwear® specializes in, is dog boots. Now, I know my readers would never take their pets shopping at pet stores in the middle of a hot summer day, requiring their devoted canine companions to walk across several yards of concrete and pavement so hot it could fry eggs. I’m confident that my readers would rather plan ahead for these types of situations (which is why you are reading this column, right?).

Ruffwear’s 3D Bark’n Boots® are the best solution for hot sidewalks and parking lots. These boots will fit your pup comfortably, and are designed by people who understand dogs. The Reprotek® (recycled rubber) sole provides a solid grip for your pet, and allows them to feel confident while wearing them. They are made of flexible cordura fabric that surround the ankle, and are reinforced near the toe for added resistance and durability. These are the boots that will save your pets paws, whether they are in hot or cold weather. Extreme environments require extreme measures. RuffWear even provides a mesh carrying bag for ease of storage!

Just remember that dogs do sweat through their paws, so these boots are to be used when needed, not on a constant basis, or as a fashion statement! (Despite the fact that they do look good on every dog I’ve seen wear them!)

So let the summer furnace blast away! Just help your pet be prepared. Provide lots of fresh, cool water. Keep them indoors as much as possible, and always be sure to provide them with the proper safety equipment when taking them out to cool off. http://www.ruffwear.com/ is a good place to start!

From the Dogs

Growls: Well, the boots are hard to get used to at first, but then we hardly notice them. The life jacket is just embarrassing, but after we get into that cool water, who cares?!

Leaps of Joy: No more burned paws! And we can swim as long as we want in the lake; although we don’t totally trust the life jacket long enough to quit dog paddling!

From the Cats:

(They’re too busy laughing at the dogs wearing boots to comment right now)

From the Humans

Two opposable thumbs up: These products are lifesavers for our pets, and every dog should have a set. If you spend time near the water (any water), pick up a Float Coat, and if you live in a region with extreme temperatures or difficult terrain, pick up a pair of boots for your best friend. They’ll love you even more for it!

Drawbacks? Nothing yet… If anything turns up – you’ll be the first to know!

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