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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bus thinks it's appropriate to swim from about mid March until December unless directed otherwise, and usually about this time of year is impossible to keep out of the water, despite the fact that the water is still below 60 degrees! I decided last year that I was going to get him a neoprene vest to help him stay a little warmer, as sometimes he definitely gets too chilly. They also provide some buoyancy, which is nice even though he's a good swimmer. The vests are mostly used for duck hunting dogs, and an extensive search turned up vests for brittany sized dogs and larger, as well as several people who custom make vests in other sizes, for upwards of $80. My experience with custom sized dog items has been that no matter if I send various measurements and say "my Dachshund is really lean, and has a big tuck up", items still arrive in a tube shape which he gets his hind feet stuck in :) so I was pretty wary of paying that much money for a maybe fit. I ended up buying the smallest size premade vest I could find, hoping it would just be a little roomy and I could modify as needed- I may have been swayed by the fact that I got it at a steeply discounted price ($15 instead of $40).

Two Buses could have fit into it! I ended up spending a LOT of time reading about wetsuit repair (same material) and dismantled it, resized the pieces to Bus (he was not a fan of the fitting process), then used neoprene cement and also sewed it back together in a Bus appropriate size and pattern. It ended up working out ok. Some of the seams are ugly because I'm definitely not a seamstress, but it seems quite durable, and he's worn it for some dry runs just to make sure he's not going to get a leg out where it shouldn't be (would be very bad while swimming). I may have to cut a little more on the arm holes so he has better reach/ROM, but I'm reluctant to until I see how it does in water. The water has been pretty dirty due to recent rain, and he hasn't been in it, but I'm hoping he'll get to use it within the next week or two, and we'll see how it works out.









Hopefully I can update with some swimming pics soon :)
 

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Oh my god he looks amazing!
 

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This is so cool, can't wait to see the swimming pics!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, we've had two tests, and two post-test modification sessions, and we're zeroing in on perfection :) The leg holes actually needed to be way bigger, he could barely paddle as they were (oops), and as of today we seem to have a great fit, but his front end is sinking because there's now more neoprene (buoyancy) toward his back end, and he's already prone to swimming butt high I guess because his front end is heaver. Trying to decide now whether to cut up an old life jacket and repurpose the foam, or to purchase a new one to do the same so I know it has maximum flotation. I think I'm going to see what we have, and if I can find one with good foam, I'll just use that. He's only a little dog, so we won't need much. Probably going to put a piece in the neckline/chest, then one over his shoulders. The first day we tried it was around 60-65 degrees outside, water is maybe 60, it was not a good fit, so I just let him wade to get wet. I was a little disheartened when he felt only slightly warmer under the vest than on his skin outside the vest when I put my hand in it after he came out of the water. However, when I took him up to the house and removed it, there was water vapor rising up and he was toasty :)
 
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