I use to water ski a Lot. Used wet suit early and late in the season and even though it fit skin tight I was still wet underneath but the trapped water would be warmed to body temp. No dog vest in the world is going to fit as tight and keep water out as a wet suit for people.
With my scientific background, I would be "driven" to avoid placing much evidence on anecdotal opinions. However, one might reach a few general conclusions from what you've gathered so far. First of all, the design of an all-inclusive tool is complicated. Secondly, common sense is not a universal commodity. And lastly, it is often easier (and necessary) to blame something else....besides yourself.
All my Labs are inside dogs. To me this means the "thick winter coat, dry between retrieves method" just isn't going to cut it.....late in the season. Therefore, I know when conditions dictate that my dogs need their vests. Secondly, I have different vests...so each wears one that fits. They generally required trimming to fit properly. And lastly, I know when "enough is enough" way before it becomes "too much".
Daisy "busting" ice - Northern, Illinois in December
Last edited by KwickLabs; 12-03-2013 at 08:50 AM.
Jim Boyer KwickLabsii.com
I used a neoprene vest on my golden bitch in temps as cold as -12F. As others have stated her coat and body were warm to the touch under the vest. As important, IMO, the vest helped protect her when climbing in and out of ice. (We hunted a few times on a river that was icy in the backwaters but open in the flow.) At first I would remove the vest occasionally and dry her off and give all her legs and torso a good rubdown, wring out the vest and put it back on. She'd shiver a bit until she had the vest warmed up. Last couple of hunts, when it got really cold, I just left the vest on and she seemed happier. I was ready to quit long before she was. My sympathies to those who lost a dog to hypothermia - or any reason - but IMO, a properly fitted vest is the way to go in cold water.
It would be cool if the dog vests would use a short sleeve versus a cut out hole for the dogs front legs similar to a shorty wet suit. This is always the hardest area to get the correct fit after modifications because no matter what you do, the dogs posture can open up a gap in this area. I hunt a lot of beaver ponds and stick ponds where the danger of getting hung up is a real issue and this area is always my biggest concern. It would also seem that this area would allow the most water intrusion that could defeat the insulation properties of the vest.
I use a PROPERLY FITTED vest on my CBR and when I take it off his fur under the vest isn't wet at all. We just spent a week hunting sea ducks in Maine and 3 of the mornings the outside of his vest was frozen after being in the salt water, but he was warm and dry under the vest. Once the temps drop below 40 degree's the vest is standard equipment.
Like I said earlier in the summer.
small sleeves like on mini pearls dress for the front legs and gusset ?? for neck and ab area.
not to keep all water out, but to keep snug.
and wide velcro on back instead of zipper so you can snug up vest as it tapers down dogs narrow hind end.
vests do keep dogs warm
loose sloppy fitted vests are to the dog like towing sea bags (those things you tow to slow your boat down for fishing) as they swim. just added drag
"So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold
"The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin
"Wetsuits slow heat loss in water by trapping a thin layer of water against a diver's body. While the diver still gets wet, his body rapidly heats up the thin layer of water trapped against his body to nearly body temperature. If the suit fits properly, the warm layer of water does not circulate away from the diver's body. The warm layer of body temperature water conducts less heat away from the diver than the cooler surrounding water, which keeps the diver warmer than he otherwise would be"
Any search on the topic of how neoprene works will offer the same description as accepted fact. (bold text was added by me) Being a diver and a surfer I can readily attest to the benefits of wearing a wetsuit as can any hunter standing in waist deep water wearing neoprene waders. To suggest that this does not work the same for a dog is a "touch" ill-informed.
That being said, there are limits to it's effectiveness due to fit, temps, and amount of time in the water. Bottom line, know your dog and recognize the early signs of hypo.
Best of luck with a new design. I would love to see a workable pullover type vest that would eliminate the zipper and the gaps around the neck and shoulders
I agree with the short sleeves. I hunt in northern NY in some pretty unforgiving weather and I always double-vest my Goldens - 5 mm first layer and a 3 mm vest for the top layer. It is very important to get a tight fit and most vested retrievers I observe do not have the proper fit. Also, I'm wondering if a layer of micro-foil to reflect heat back into the dog would work?
Tony C. Zappia
FTCH Adirondac Tea for Two WC, ** (Tea), 2009 GRCA National Specialty Derby win, Open Win
(Fireside) Field of Emeralds (Emme)
Heads Up Winter Storm Warning ** (Ice)