What sizes are available?
The Critter’s Inflatable pet life jacket is provided in three models: small, medium, and large. Each model has an adjustable and repositionable harness to accommodate all shapes and size configurations.
- Small will provide approximately 8 lbs (3.5kgs) of buoyancy, which is enough for animals weighing up to 40 lbs (18kgs) with a chest range of 13 inches to 17 inches.
- Medium will provide approximately 20 lbs (9kgs) of buoyancy, which is enough for animals weighing up to 100 lbs (45kgs) with a chest range of 17 to 30 inches.
- Large will provide approximately 40 lbs (18kgs) of buoyancy, which is enough for animals weighing up to 200 lbs (90kgs) with a chest range of 27 to 48 inches.
What size do you recommend for my dog?
To find the right fit for your dog, weigh your dog and measure all the way around the widest part of your dog’s chest just behind the front legs to find the closest size that fits your dog. Be sure you can fit one finger under the measuring tape, not two. This is the minimum length for the harnesses. Each life jacket has an adjustable neck opening so that all you need to know is your dog’s weight and chest size to determine which model – small, medium, or large – is most appropriate.
The adjustable harness allows you to change the neck opening size by moving the forward harness into adjustable positions which allows the Critter’s Inflatable pet life jacket to better conform to your dog’s body shape. Also, the adjustable harness with neck strap allows for adjusting the life jacket to properly fit your dog’s chest size, within the range specified for that size. Note, we have limited the overall chest range for each size of the Critter’s Inflatable life jacket to improve the tailored fit and to eliminate excess straps hanging that could become a hazard to your companion animals.
This product is NOT recommended for animals with a chest size smaller than 13 inches and/or weighing less than 6 lbs (2.7kgs).
What size do you recommend for my cat?
Just like measuring for a dog, measure all the way around the widest part of its chest just behind the front legs to find the closest size that fits your cat. Be sure you can fit one finger under the measuring tape, not two. This is the minimum length for life jacket’s harnesses. Each life jacket has an adjustable neck opening so that all you need to know is your cat’s weight and chest sizes to determine which model. The small is most appropriate for most cats. To help you get started, we’ve included a handy guide for the approximate sizes of many cat breeds below.
Cats are generally less cooperative than other pets when it comes to placing something on their back. In fact, it may be a very bad idea to try to place a Critter’s Inflatable pet life jacket on many types of cats without proper behavior training. If you use behavior training, it should be done using positive reinforcement so that your cat will become comfortable wearing the life jacket. If your cat has never worn anything on their back such as a foam pet life jacket, a harness, a sweater, or similar device, then you need to pay close attention to your cat’s reaction to wearing this life jacket. It may take a while to get your cat used to wearing a Critter’s Inflatable life jacket, and never force your cat to wear it or any other device. If your cat appears to be unhappy or having a difficult time adjusting to wearing a Critter’s Inflatable life jacket, immediately remove it. You might also consider talking to a professional animal trainer to determine the best approach to take so that you do not traumatize your cat.
It is not in the best interest of your cat to put any life jacket on them and throw them into a pool of water. Cats tend not to like water whether they are supported or not. With dogs, we encourage owners to try their Critter’s Inflatable pet life jacket in the water to see how it floats their dog. But for cats, this is not such a good idea and could traumatize your cat unnecessarily. If your cat is willing to wear a pet life jacket, then our Critter’s Inflatable is the best choice because when uninflated is less intrusive than a foam life jacket and designed to stay on the squirmiest of animals.
Is it safe to inflate the life jacket out of water?
Inflating the life jacket out of water is safe but when inflated with the CO2 cylinder, it can be startling and scare your pet in non-emergency situations. This could lead your pet to panic and possibly harm your pet and/or the life jacket. When inflating a Critter’s Inflatable in non-emergency situations, it is recommended to inflate through oral inflation.
How do I orally inflate a Critter’s Inflatable?
- Separate the Velcro of the cover all the way around.
- Remove the CO2 cylinder from automatic inflator
- Remove transparent cap from the base of the inflator
- Remove yellow bobbin from inflator body
- Replace transparent cap (indicator should be red)
If CO2 cylinder and bobbin are in good (unused) condition, store together in a zip lock bag and save for later use.
- Remove the dust cap from the red oral inflation tube
- Orally inflate by blowing into the tube until the life jacket is fully inflated.
How do I know my Critter’s Inflatable PFD is operating properly?
There are two indicators on the inflator. The first is a green clip which pops off when the CO2 is activated using the pull cord, this can be found on the manual pull handle. The second indicator is on the bottom of the inflator which will be green if the bobbin is in place and unused. If the bobbin is missing or used, this lower indicator will be red, which means you need to insert or replace the bobbin.
If both areas are green, then the unit is ready for operation.
If the bottom indicator is green but the side is red, you should check the condition of the CO2 cylinder before use.
The side indicator is not required for the unit to operate correctly but you must verify that you have an unused CO2 cylinder in place before use.
Always make sure that the bottom indicator is green and the manual pull handle is in the upright position before inserting the CO2 cylinder or you will puncture the cylinder prematurely.
How do I rearm a Critter’s Inflatable PFD to operate as fully automatic?
- Open the left side of the life jacket so that the automatic inflator is visible
- If installed, unscrew the CO2 cylinder.
- Remove the transparent cap from the base of the inflator.
- Inspect the cap and base of the inflator body to ensure they are clean and dry. If the inside of the cap and base of the inflator body are wet, rinse them in fresh water and thoroughly dry them so they will not damage the bobbin and cause unwanted inflation. Let dry thoroughly before going to step 5
- Install a new bobbin into the base of the inflator. There are grooves on the outer edge of the bobbin so that it can only be put in one way
- Install the cap on the base of the inflator and hand-tighten. Verify the indicator is green before moving to the next step. If red, repeat steps 3 to 6
- Check the manual lever to ensure it is in the up and ready position.
- If available, install the green indicator clip. For a Critter’s Inflatable life jacket, this green indicator clip is not essential and the inflator system will function properly in the automatic CO2 inflation mode with or without the green indicator clip being installed
- Install a good CO2 cylinder by screwing it into the top of the inflator and hand-tighten. Do not over tighten as this can damage the internal gasket
- Fold the Critter’s Inflatable life jacket in accordance with the folding instructions
What is the proper way to repackage a Critter’s Inflatable PFD?
Before folding, make sure the inflation system is properly armed and all of the air is out of the inflation chamber. Lay the Critter’s Inflatable pet life jacket flat and face up.
- Fold the right side cover towards the center
- Fold the bottom of the inflation chamber under
- Fold the right side of the inflation chamber under, just to the edge of the inflation tube
- Fold the inflation chamber like an accordion in three equal sections
- Fold the right cover back to the right side and fasten the Velcro of the front and back covers together
- Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the left side of the life jacket and place “JERK TO INFLATE” lanyard just inside the cover but near the edge for quick access
- Fold down the top cover towards the center
- Fold the inflation chamber like an accordion in three equal sections
- Tuck in the top and side corners, fold up the top cover, and fasten the Velcro of the front and back covers together
Am I allowed to fly with a Critter’s Inflatable?
TSA allows for up to two small compressed gas cartridges in the life vest and 2 spares. You can place these in carry on or check in luggage however the spares must accompany the life jacket.
Even though TSA allows for this, individual airlines may have more strict regulations. Please check with your travel agent before packing.
What type of maintenance is required for a Critter’s Inflatable life jacket?
- The Critter’s Inflatable life jacket requires minimal maintenance, but you should check it regularly for rips, tears, or punctures
- Check the inflation chamber to ensure there are no leaks. To check for leaks, orally inflate the inflation chamber until it is firm and leave it for at least eight (8) hours to see if there is any deflation. If the inflation chamber is damaged do not use.
- You should check the CO2 cylinder and indicators between outings. Each model size uses a different size CO2 cylinder. A CO2 cylinder and bobbin may be used only once to inflate a Critter’s Inflatable life jacket and then they need to be removed and replaced with new ones. Make sure that the CO2 cylinder has not been spent by visual inspection of the threaded end. There should not be a hole in the threaded end cap of the cylinder or any other corrosion damage to the cylinder. Install a good CO2 cylinder into the inflator body and hand tighten
- Make sure the inflator lever is properly cocked by checking that the lever is in the up and locked position
- The lanyard should be tucked inside the cover so it is not exposed
- Inspect the bobbin for cracks and if damaged, replace
- If your Critter’s Inflatable life jacket is armed in the automatic CO2 inflation mode and the bobbin fails, the life jacket will immediately inflate. We recommend that you have a rearm kit available in the event the bobbin fails or your pet falls or jumps into the water and you need to rearm your life jacket
How can I clean my Critter’s Inflatable?
Before cleaning, remove the bobbin and CO2. Only use warm soapy water to clean the life jacket. Rinse with fresh water. Do not use harsh chemicals. Do not machine wash or dry clean.
How can I dry my Critter’s Inflatable?
To dry the life jacket, hang it up and let it dry naturally. Do not spin dry, or dry in front of a radiator or other source of direct heat.
How do I store my Critter’s Inflatable?
Store in a well-ventilated area. Do not store in direct sunlight or damp areas. Avoid exposure to chemicals.
Keep this life jacket away from fuels, oils, and acids.
DO NOT allow the Critter’s Inflatable chamber to come in contact with sharp or pointed objects.