Visit Outdoor Experience

Astral Bird Dog Lifejacket Review

- Wednesday June 26, 2013
Main Image

Last weekend, my wife and I took Willow, our lab/husky mix, out to Old Stone Fort in Manchester, TN. It is one of our favorite places to hike, wade and swim and is a perfect opportunity to test the Astral Bird Dog life jacket. Willow froliked in the water, climbed rocks, ran through undergrowth, etc and really put the Bird Dog through the ringer. Let's take a look at the jacket details and how Astral has made this work so well for your canine friends. 

The Bird Dog has a very durable CORDURA® shell for abrasion resistance. This is the same material as the Astral Green Jacket and should hold up very well over time. My wife and I previously bought a different brand of life jacket for Willow and it did not last very long at all for the rather intense activities that we do. The Bird Dog is a much much more durable jacket and will last you for quite a long time.

For swimming, which Willow loves to do, the pfd has ergonomic foam distribution that supports your dog in a natural position. Willow seemed to have no problem with the jacket while swimming and it seemed to boost his confidence in the water even more. He just about drove us crazy begging for us to throw him a stick out in the deeper pools so he could swim and retrieve them. 

Swimming Fetch
Click to see the gallery

For running around and jumping up small ledges, etc, the Bird Dog has hinged foam for added mobility and comfort. Astral changed the cut of the jacket a bit on this model compared to last year's model to give more freedom of movement and it seems to have worked very well. You can further get the fit just right by adjusting the neck and chest straps. 

One very important thing to me in a dog lifejacket is a handle. If you need to give your canine friend a helping hand up to the next ledge, lift him back into your boat or canoe after a swim or help rescue them from a tricky situation, a sturdy grab handle is clutch. Old Stone Fort's abundance of small staggered waterfall ledges gave us several opportunities to test the handle as Willow occasionally needed a helping hand to get to the next area. He weighs in around 50-55 lbs and the handle supported him with no problem. 

In addition to the above, the Astral Bird Dog has reflective piping to help make your dog more visible, especially at night in a flashlight beam. It also has a leash loop so you can attach his leash without removing the jacket. Willow wore his the whole time we were at the park, even when we were hiking away from the water. The jacket never hindered him and the leash loop worked great.

On top of everything else, the jacket is just straight up stylish. Willow looks great in it and as I've said before, isn't that half the battle? Seriously though, if you are looking for a great, durable lifejacket for your canine buddy, get yourself an Astral Bird Dog pfd. I trust my own life to Astral's lifejackets and my dog deserves the same quality of protection. 

Head on over to to check them out and buy one yourself. 


- Durable CORDURA® Shell for abrasion resistance.

- Ergonomic foam distribution supports your dog in a natural swimming position

- Hinged foam for added mobility and comfort

- Raised grab handle

- Reflective piping for visibility

- Leash loop

- Adjustable neck and chest straps

- Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large (Willow's size), X-Large

- Pricing: $49.95 - $79.95 depending on size

Categories: Review
comments powered by Disqus
Show the Full Site
Show the Mobile Site