It's Fathers Day here in the UK and it's coincided with a heatwave as temperatures soar to 32 degrees with warm air pushing up from Spain.
Albie & Kizzie are taking early morning walks to try and avoid the worst of the heat but by 9am it's already over 20 degrees and so the conditions are ideal for us to get out and test the brand new Ruffwear Jet Stream Cooling Vest 2017 in true Barks & Bunnies style!
Buy the Ruffwear Jet Stream Cooling Vest here or read on for our full product review.
The Ruffwear Jet Stream Cooling Vest is a new addition to the Ruffwear dog cooling coat range and was introduced as part of their Summer 2017 range. Available in two colours, Blue Lagoon and Salamander Orange and six sizes it's a cooling coat that almost breeds of dog will benefit from.
The Jet Stream is an active-fit cooling dog vest that uses a lightweight, stretchy and thin spandex top across your dogs back to provide shade from the sun while the chest and belly areas benefit from the same technical fabric as the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler which disperses heat from your dog's core.
We really liked how it fits close to Kizzie's body without any excess fabric meaning she gets maximum cooling effects without feeling restricted in her movement (she spends a lot of time playing with a ball and running about on her walks!).
Taking into account Kizzies high impact energy levels on walks we were really excited to find out how effective the Jet Stream would be at keeping her cool compared to a more traditionally styled dog cooling coat for hot weather which covers the whole back as well as chest and tummy.
The Spandex is super stretchy and very soft to the touch which we think will make it really comfortable to wear, it is also very lightweight and thin which is obviously essential to maximise the cooling effect but we think care of the fabric will be required to ensure it doesn't get snagged.
Kizzie is wearing a large which has a girth size starting at 32 inches and it appears to fit her perfectly.
Close to her body without being uncomfortably tight it became instantly clear that this is an athletically styled dog cooling coat and although on this occasion we didn't place her harness over the top we are confident she could wear her Ruffwear Front Range Harness if necessary.
It was really easy to put on, the leg holes are generously sized so we didn't have any tricky moments of bending and twisting her body to put it on, she stepped into it easily and fastening the zip was easy.
For Kizzie to get the full benefit from her new cooling coat we had to 'activate' the Jet Stream. This was really simple and far less complicated than it sounds!
Simply soak it in cold water (which we did by running it under our bath tap), wring it out and then it was ready for Kizzie to wear - it took us seconds.
Ruffwear describe the process of how their dog cooling coats for hot weather work in a really relatable way below;
"When you first step out of a swimming pool or a lake, you may notice a cool feeling when your skin hits the air. This is evaporative cooling. In fact, every human being performs the function of evaporative cooling each day through perspiration. When sweat evaporates, we cool down. If we move around, the air flow cools us down even quicker.
Ruffwear’s cooling gear works the same way. It’s built with three layers: a wicking outer layer that facilitates evaporation, an absorbent middle layer that holds water for evaporation,and a comfortable inner layer that transfers the cooling effect to your dog.
As the water evaporates, the heat around your dog is exchanged for cooler air. Continue re-wetting the cooling gear as needed to extend the cooling effect throughout your adventures".
So did it work?
Kizzie's nickname in our house isnt 'Wizzie' for nothing, she has two speeds, fast or faster and doesnt know how to have a meandering summer walk!
We soaked the vest in cold water before leaving home at 8.45am and then drove for a little less than 15 minutes before reaching our walk. It was still completely wet when we arrived and didn't require soaking again.
While walking our chosen route we checked the coat several times and it was always wet, sliding our hand underneath the coat to Kizzies chest, it was always cool even at the end of our 7km walk.
So what sort of walk did we do? The first 20 minutes were in direct sunshine, it was already approaching 25 degrees by 9am and possibly more when in direct sun.
We then walked along a shady path for around 10 minutes and a spent a further 10 minutes resting in the shady wooded area while taking photographs and enjoying the surroundings.
Returning to the car was another 20 minutes in direct sunshine and when we reached it the temperature gauge read 28 degrees in the shade. (To give you an idea of just how hot it is by 5pm at the time of completing writing this review and uploading the photos our garden thermometer now reads 33 degrees).
As expected the top spandex layer dried out reasonably quickly however that is designed to provide shade and although being wet will help keep her cool the underneath grey fabric is where the real magic happens.
The sporty fit and cut of the cooling vest allowed Kizzie to move freely and run around so we can easily see this vest being used for sporty dogs during high-intensity activities such as agility, gun dog work or when out with their owners who like to run or go on their mountain bike.
Overall the Ruffwear Jet Stream appeared to make a significant difference to Kizzie on her walk and perhaps even more importantly it appeared to significantly improve her recovery time after her walk.
You can see below from Ruffwear's own product testing using their Pointer Ellie, and an FLIR Thermal Imaging camera how effective their dog coats are in hot weather.
Their dog Ellie went out in temperatures of 31 degrees, very similar conditions to what we are currently experiencing and it's clear that there was a significant difference after using the Jet Stream bring her temperature down to the mid 20's from the high 40's.
It is worth noting that these were not laboratory tests, however, we without question noticed an improvement in Kizzie's activity levels when wearing the coat compared to the same walk the previous day in similar temperature's without her cooling vest. The amount of activity, type of activity and individual weather conditions from an overcast humid day to bright sunshine with a breeze will also affect the vests performance.
We loved how this looked and so did several other dog owners that we met on her walk who asked about it.
The athletic fit gives it a really sporty appearance and we loved the bright orange colour - it was well themed to a summers day but also kept her visible at a distance and in the undergrowth when playing hide and seek!
We chose the Ruffwar Jet Stream for Kizzie based on how active she is. Kizzie is also really good off lead and stays close by with a successful and reliable recall (we know, we are really lucky!) so we are able to walk her without a lead and didn't require the added harness hole that the Swamp Cooler provides.
Why doesn't our other dog Albie have a Jet Stream you might ask? Well we think he is more suited to a Swamp Cooler, he is less active on his walks and so the athletic fit isn't so important. He also has very thick, dense fur and we think will benefit from the maximum amount of evaporative cooling provided by the greater coverage of the Swamp Cooler.
Jet Stream Overview (Buy here)
Swamp Cooler Overview (Buy here)
Both Albie and Kizzie have previously used cooling coats but we found them cumbersome to use and look after when not in use. They were made of a chamois material and fastened with velcro which Albie HATES! Keeping them clean was almost impossible and they had to be kept sealed in a plastic bag when not in use to prevent them from cracking and inevitably they eventually smelt musty and damp.
We are delighted and really impressed at how good the Jet Stream performed, it really did appear to make a significant difference to keeping Kizzie cool and importantly improved her recovery rate too.
There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that it provided all the benefits Ruffwear promised and once home the fabric was still damp and still providing its cooling benefits.
At the time of writing this blog the temperature is set to stay warm well into next week with temperatures remaining at around 30 degrees. We are comfortable in the knowledge that Kizzie will be able to use her cooling vest out on walks and also around the house which was never really possible with our previous cooling coats due to the amount of water that dripped out of them, something the Jet Stream doesn't appear to do.
Although we would always advise caution walking your dog in hot weather or engaging in high-intensity activities the Jet Stream has given us confidence that we can do everything possible to keep Kizzie cool when temperatures are hot.
PLEASE NOTE You should continually monitor your dog and their cooling coat/vest to ensure the coat/vest remains wet, if allowed to dry out the cooling process will not take place which may result in your dog's temperature increasing.
Click here to buy the Ruffwear Jet Stream Cooling Vest for dogs.