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Summer in my household means it’s time to escape the heat by going swimming or paddle boarding on a nearby lake. Rather than leave my dog Enzo at home, I wanted to be able to safely bring him along (and tire him out) during our water-related adventures—which is how I came to review Outward Hound’s Granby Splash Life Jacket for dogs.
Trying Out the Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket
Enzo is an extremely enthusiastic swimmer, sometimes to a fault. His Cattle Dog herding instincts and affinity for leaning over the side of the paddle board to chomp at waves make him an unpredictable and unwieldy passenger. To better rescue Enzo from his inevitable dunks, and to ensure his safety in the water generally, I decided we needed a dog life jacket.
Outward Hound is a well-respected pet brand offering three different life jacket designs, each of which targets different needs: the Granby Splash prioritizes maximum floatation, the Standley is all about performance, and the Dawson focuses on warmth and insulation.
I also considered a few other options, including the Ruffwear Float Coat and Kurgo Surf N Turf, both of which are highly rated. Since I was most concerned with Enzo’s floatation and having a solid way to lift him out of the water, I ultimately landed on the Outward Hound Granby Splash Life Jacket.
The Granby Splash life vest delivers on its promise of buoyancy—that was obvious upon initial testing. It has thick foam along the top to ensure your pup stays bobbing above the water and a neck support up front to cushion a dog’s chin. The jacket comes in a few high-visibility color options and has some very sturdy handles.
I was also impressed by the fit. One of the most important factors when measuring your dog for a floatation device is their girth (the widest part of the ribcage). That measurement, combined with their weight, is a great way to estimate which size will be the right fit. If your dog is between sizes, it’s recommended to size up.
When our medium-sized life vest arrived, I was worried that it might be a tiny bit too small for Enzo. But once he got wet and his fur shrunk down, it fit perfectly. The life jacket comes in sizes ranging from extra small to extra large (sizing chart below):
- XS: 11-15 in; 5-15 lbs
- SM: 16-20 in; 15-30 lbs
- MD: 21-27 in; 30-55 lbs
- LG: 28-32 in; 55-85 lbs
- XL: 33-44 in; 85-100 lbs
We put the jacket to the test on a sunny 85-degree day, and both Enzo and I were very pleased with its performance.
What we liked:
- Durable ripstop material, foam panels, and neoprene belly band
- Padding on the belly and chest area that ensures the straps don’t chafe while Enzo paddles furiously
- Sturdy, well-padded handles on the top that are comfortable to use (sizes extra-small and small have one handle, while sizes medium and up come with dual handles)
- Snug fit that doesn’t restrict any movement
- Four different bright colors and reflective strips for visibility
- Three adjustable straps (two under the belly and one in the front) with Velcro attachments at the end to ensure they’re not hanging loose
- Front neck float to help keep Enzo’s head above water
- No floatation on the underside, which means no capsizing pups
- No leash attachment. My dog wore his Wonder Walker harness underneath, which worked fine, but it was a bit awkward to attach the leash, and it had to be on the front since the back ring was fully covered.
- The straps required a fair amount of adjustment for the first use, which proved challenging when trying to wrangle an extremely excited dog. (We recommend getting it all set at home first!)
- Trailing straps. In Enzo’s case, the strap on the front had to be tightened down to the point where it was too long to attach the Velcro end to anything. I ended up tucking it into the life jacket, but I don’t think it stayed for very long.
- The handles felt sturdy to me, but my dog is 45 pounds. Some reviewers have stated the handles don’t hold up as well to dogs over 60 pounds.
Who Should Try the Outward Hound Granby Life Jacket?
We found this dog life jacket an excellent option for both strong swimmers and novice water dogs who need a little extra support. The front neck float is a great feature for enthusiastic dogs who struggle to keep their face out of the water—especially long and flat-faced breeds.
The large range of sizes and robust adjustability makes this life vest a good fit for dogs with unusual body types (with many positive reviews from Dachshund parents in particular).
The handles on top of the life jacket worked very well for retrieving Enzo after he launched himself off the end of my paddle board—handy for pups up to 50 pounds who are likely to need some help climbing back onto a boat, dock, or dry land.
We recommend the Granby Life Jacket for:
- Dogs who need plenty of buoyancy
- Pups who have trouble keeping their face out of the water
- Breeds with unusual body shapes
- Dogs likely to need assistance from a sturdy handle
Who Should Consider Other Dog Life Jackets?
Though the Granby Splash life vest is an excellent option for a wide range of dogs, there are some other great jackets for pups with specific needs. For example, dogs who get chilly in the water and need a little extra insulation may be better served by an option like Outward Hound’s Dawson jacket.
I like to keep Enzo on a leash so I can reel him back in when needed (I highly recommend investing in a waterproof leash, or a climbing rope leash if you want a lengthier option). Pet parents prioritizing a leash attachment may also want to try out other options with a D-ring. This was overall my biggest pain point with the Granby, though we did manage to find a workaround.
The Granby comes in a variety of sizes, but dogs at either end of the size spectrum may benefit from models more specific to their size. The EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device consistently gets high marks from parents of large dogs, while the Paws Aboard life jacket is a good fit for smaller breeds.
Try another dog life jacket for:
- Extra insulation against the cold
- Easy leash attachment
- Extra tiny or extra big dogs
Final Verdict: Four Soggy Paws Up for the Granby Splash!
Enzo and I had a great experience with the Outward Hound Granby Splash life jacket. Though it has thickest foam of their all their models, it didn’t restrict Enzo’s extremely enthusiastic playtime, and he barely seemed to notice he was wearing it. He seemed to feel much more confident venturing out for a swim—to his delight and to my occasional frustration.
I loved the peace of mind of knowing that I could easily hoist him back onto my paddle board if needed. We think this doggy life jacket is a great option for novice and experienced swimmers alike!Find on Amazon Find on Chewy Find on Petco
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