Saturday, June 27, 2015

Product Review: Fido Float Life Jacket

The PetSafe Fido Float is a doggy lifejacket that is supportive, easy to put on, and very secure. It is a step-in style lifevest that closes with a zipper on the back. The smaller sizes have a single handle on the back for helping the dog out of the water, the larger sizes have two handles for more support. The Fido Float personal flotation device comes in six sizes to fit dogs with chests 10-37" around.
Photo by Erin Koski

The vest is well-designed in my opinion, but I do have some concerns about material durability. I think the step-in style is very supportive, there is a mesh panel supporting Ru's entire chest instead of concentrating all the pressure onto a few straps.

Though it's not terribly obvious from the pictures, this little life vest has two handles. When the vest is zippered shut, the handles can be grabbed together in one hand. This allows me to lift Ru without ever putting pressure on the zipper at the top.
Photo by Erin Koski

The design basically guarantees that there is minimal pressure put on the zipper. This is important because that zipper is a major weakness of the design. One bad grab that misses a handle and you've likely destroyed the zipper for good. The good news is that a faulty zipper shouldn't cause the Fido Float to fail while your dog is swimming. The bad news is that it will likely fall off as soon as he gets out of the water.

The mesh bottom between the foam panels is a clever was to make this a supportive and somewhat form-fitting design. However, it is a very wide mesh. Most dogs won't have an issue, but I've heard of several short-haired highly-active dogs getting nipple irritation after a while.

I think durability is my biggest concern for the Fido Float. It looks nice, and I even bought this one secondhand, but I don't think the orange material on the outside would hold up to that much action. It makes a great just-in-case safety device for a dog that just sits on a boat, but I would choose a sturdier personal flotation device for a pup that is going to party hard at the beach. The difference between the Fido Float and the Ruffwear Float Coat is like the difference between an inexpensive kids' life jacket and a serious fishing life vest.

Pros: Inexpensive. Brightly colored and easy to spot. Supportive and easy to put on older dogs. Design will still support a swimming dog even if the fastener fails.

Cons: Not durable enough for serious active dog use. Zipper is likely to fail under stress. Mesh bottom can irritate some dogs.

Bottom Line: For keeping a sedentary dog safe on the water, for occasional use, and for helping an old dog swim, this is an economical choice. I would not expect it to hold up to a whole lot of adventuring.

No comments:

Post a Comment