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Dogs just wanna have fun, and that may mean doing wheelies in the mud, slopping through rain puddles, or demanding to play fetch in a downpour.
Of course, a dog’s fur can survive the rain, but do we humans always want to deal with it afterward in the house or the car, let alone on the couch or lap? OK, not always.
So we tried the Ruffwear Sunshower jacket on two very different dogs. One is a lean, mean 48-pound running machine, and hates to wear things, while the other is a slow-moving big ball o’ fur who has worn stuff all his life.
Reactions were way different from the two dogs:
>> Lean running dog tucked her tail down and glumly stepped off the front porch but at first refused to walk down the long driveway. No cajoling or begging could get her to do anything except stand and watch as her humans left her cemented on the spot like a statue. She tried the jacket a few more times and did eventually learn to walk or play catch while wearing it—but only if we immediately threw the ball to distract her. Even then, if we paused too long and she realized she had this…this THING on her back…she’d freeze again with the glum face and turn into a statue.
>> Fluff ball seemed OK with it on walks and other excursions. His owner (the female half) said he even liked wearing it (although the male half wasn’t convinced). He didn’t freeze like the other dog, or refuse to play with a ball or go on walks. And furry fluff balls really do need more than a little protection from soaking rains—for the sake of their owners.
The jacket did of course repel water and keep it out as it was supposed to with its water-repellent finish and taped seams. We loved the flashy red color since it also provided great visibility, as would the fern green color. The reflective piping was a super touch for even more visibility for your best friend.
Overall, the jacket provided pretty good coverage, and a flap extends along the dog’s chest for extra protection, which is a great touch for furry dogs and protection from splashes. Also, there are quick-release buckles located at each side of the waist area, and the buckles are tucked up inside a pocket on each side, which protects the dog from rubbing and gives the jacket an overall sleek look.
One problem with the fit however is the lack of ability to pull the buckles tighter or to loosen them depending on the dog’s fur or its overall fitness or general leanness. Our lean running dog could have used a tighter fit since she is so lean and narrow through the waist, while our furry tester would have benefited from a tad more room.
There were a couple of other issues:
>> The neck closure was a fixed diameter so a furry dog or large-headed dog might find it a squeeze to get on. A hook-and-loop closure or other mechanism could make is easier to widen the neck closure, and this would make the master’s life easier and the dog more comfortable.
>> The zip-off hood was a nice idea, but for our fur ball it was too long and fell over his eyes when he walked, although we loved the concept. For our active dog, the hood just sat on her head stiffly, but if she ran or jumped into the air to catch a ball it became somewhat useless—think how a stiff hood on your jacket stays in one place no matter how you turn your head. For the active mutt, the hood was zipped off and left off. Perhaps if there were a way to shorten it—with a pull-tab like those on the hood of a human’s jacket—the hood would be more viable. In addition, if we rolled the hood into the collar, the neck closure became all the more tight and impossible to pull over the dog’s head.
Overall the jacket does what it’s supposed to do—protect your best friend from inclement weather (for your sake), assuming he or she is the type to wear things. A few minor tweaks in fit would make the jacket nearly perfect.
SNEWS® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $74.95