Table of Contents
- The Best Dog Life Jackets
One of the best things about warm weather is all the water fun that we can partake in. Many dogs love water and swimming, but even the strongest swimmers can get tired or injured, causing a tragic accident. If your pet enjoys water, it's best to equip them with a good dog life jacket to keep them safe and give yourself the peace of mind.
Whether you're swimming, fishing, boating or hiking, being around water is always carries a certain amount of danger. Most pet owners believe that if their pet is a strong swimmer then he doesn't need a dog lifejacket, or any type of dog float coat or water vest. Experts disagree, and especially in open waters, safety precautions need to be taken.
You can't underestimate the combination of unpredictable nature and unpredictability of animals. So with that in mind, we discuss this further in the article below and review some of the best dog life jackets that we liked in the past.
Why Dogs Need Water Vests/Flotation Vests
Many of us are outdoors loving people and dog owners, and we must remember that safety comes first. Water conditions aren't always easy to judge by appearance. A stream may look calm on the surface, but the undercurrent may be too strong for dogs to swim against.
When your dog is hanging around a large body of water, experts suggest dressing him into a life jacket since you can never predict how your animal will behave. Dog water vests (or canine flotation vests) are becoming more popular for a reason.
Dog life vests can save a dog that becomes tired while swimming or falls into the water accidentally. We can never be 100% sure of our dog's endurance. Because dogs can't ask for help, we don't know when they're feeling especially tired or struggling to swim.
Not only water vests help dogs to swim and stay afloat, but some of the best dog life jackets will be equipped with safety handles that will allow you to pull your dog out of the water in the event of an emergency. Otherwise, it'd be quiet difficult.
How to Pick the Best Life Jackets for Dogs
Picking a water vest for your dog is similar to choosing one for yourself – it must fit very well. Not all dog life jackets are created equal, too. When you're shopping for a product to keep your pup safe in the water, there are a few key features that you should be looking for.
First, make sure you measure your dog to know what size of a canine flotation vest to buy. Here's a great guide (PDF) on how to pick your next dog life jacket.
Second, you also need to know how to put on dog life vest the right way onto your Fido. It's very similar to putting on a harness, and here's a video guide on how to do this.
Now, these are the five things to consider to buy the best lifejacket for dogs:
1) You need to make sure the life jacket fits very snug without making your dog feel uncomfortable. You don't want your canine to slip out of it while swimming.
2) The best dog life jackets should have durable top handles to assist in pulling your dog out of the water.
3) They should also be made with a bright colored material and reflective aspects to ensure your dog is easy to see.
4) Make sure a dog life jacket you pick offers flotation under the dog's head to keep his face above water in the event that he becomes incapacitated.
5) Likewise, there should be flotation material under your dog's belly, not just straps. This ensures that the jacket will be able to keep your pet afloat if he is unable to tread water for any reason.
With all of these in mind, we've picked seven best life jackets for dogs that should tick most or all of these check boxes. Make sure to measure your dog, read the full product description as well as dog life jacket reviews before buying one for your pet.
The Best Dog Life Jackets
1 Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat for Dogs
Pet flotation devices, or PFDs, are some of the items in the pet department and in boating gear shops that are selling very quickly. This isn’t surprising since humans love to be outdoors and be in the water with their furry friends.
- BUILT TO LAST: The K-9 Float...
- STRONG, LOW-PROFILE HANDLE:...
- ADJUSTABLE NECK CLOSURE AND...
- K-9 FLOAT COAT SIZING: The K-9...
Accidents – such as your dog gone overboard, or getting water-fatigued, or simply not taking to the water too well – shouldn’t take the fun away. This Ruffwear life jacket for dogs is just what your companion needs for added safety.
The closed-cell foam panels on the sides and underside aid in buoyancy and encourage your dog to stay in the water longer. The durable and reflective materials used and the sturdily constructed handle on the top of the jacket make dog-retrieval a much simpler matter. Six sizes are available from XX-small through X-large, and color choices include red currant and dandelion yellow.
Pet owners were definitely impressed by this jacket. They like that it keeps dogs buoyant without restricting their movement. There are no exposed or extra-long straps or buckles on the Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat for Dogs that could cause snagging accidents, and everything is securely tucked inside. The strap is well-designed and situated so that when lifted the pressure applied transfers to the midsection of the dog.
As with any of the best dog life jackets, not every owner was pleased with the way this product fit their pet. Every dog is built differently, so be sure to follow the measuring instructions closely. Other negative product reviews state that this PFD does not stay where it belongs. They say the chest flotation device moves while the dog is swimming, but they may be due to an improper fit.
2 EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device for Dogs
You can never tell when an accident can befall your dog while doing water activities with you, such as kayaking, fishing, or even just walking along the docks. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- BEST HIGH-PERFORMANCE...
- ADJUSTABLE DESIGN WITH 50%...
- ERGONOMIC INTEGRATED GRAB...
- HIGHLY REFLECTIVE INTEGRATED...
- CUSTOM SIZING FOR A PERFECT...
When engaging in water activities, make sure your dog has one of the best dog life jackets to keep him afloat in the event that an accident does happen. The EzyDog DFD is a great option for this purpose.
This flotation device covers the whole body length, with flotation material evenly distributed along that length. It comes in five sizes from X-small through X-large and colors of red, yellow, and green camouflage. Pet owners were pleased, saying this excellent life jacket boosts confidence, especially for dogs that are not the best swimming breeds. The buoyancy that this device provides makes water activities safer and more enjoyable.
Buyers say the canvas-like material is very durable. It’s quite easy to clean, too. In fact, it’s a breeze to hose dirt of this jacket. Reflective trim makes the wearer more visible under low-light conditions. Since it covers most parts of the body, the EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Dog Life Vest Jacket can protect against hypothermia, too. Tough neoprene straps are situated across two points along the torso and are wide enough to not hurt the midsection when the dog is grabbed and lifted off the water.
Some buyers were surprised at the quality of the handle on the top of this life jacket. They say the vest is of great quality, but the handle feels surprisingly weak. Some pet owners who purchased this product expecting one of the best dog life jackets were disappointed in the quality of the materials. One reviewer called it a “flat piece of foam with straps.”
3 Outward Hound Ripstop Dog LifeJacket
The important features to consider when buying one of the best dog life jackets are: buoyancy, durability, ease of lifting by the handle, comfort of the wearer, and overall safety.
- SIZING BASED ON GIRTH: Dogs...
- SPLASH WITH SAFETY: The...
- NOVICE & EXPERIENCED...
- MULTI-HANDLE DESIGN: Dual grab...
- PLAY IT SAFE: No pet accessory...
The Outward Hound Ripstop is made from lightweight yet durable material and has reflective strips incorporated into its design. It has two handles instead of one, sturdy straps and quick-release buckles, and flotation foam panels covering the torso and one in the front below the neck.
The double handle makes pulling the dog from the water much easier. It facilitates the person who does the pulling and it also distributes the pressure exerted by the straps onto the dog’s body. This lessens the trauma on your pet’s body especially during emergency rescues. The front float aids in keeping the dog’s head buoyant, which is especially important if your dog becomes exhausted while in the water.
There are five sizes available, ranging from X-small to X-large. The key to finding the life jacket that’s perfect for your dog is in the fit. Dogs differ in build – some have wide chest girth with a slim waist, while others may have a tubular torso – and the side straps and buckles of the Outward Hound Ripstop Dog Life Jacket will help a lot in attaining the desired fit. Sufficient belly padding keeps it comfortable underneath the straps as well.
Some buyers believe the sizing is off when ordering this life jacket. They say they stuck to the measuring guidelines very strictly, and the vest they received did not fit as they anticipated. Other unsatisfied customers say the stitching is not good quality and rips after just a few uses.
4 Kurgo Surf-N-Turf Life Jacket for Dogs
This life jacket is much shorter than other brands and models, making it more comfortable for the dog. Because of its shorter length, it also allows for greater mobility. This model from Kurgo is sold in five sizes – X-small, small, medium, large and X-large – and is available in red/grey and red/deep-red combinations.
- DOG LIFE JACKET: Lifejacket...
- 2 TRAVERSE CONTROL HANDLES:...
- BRIGHT COLOR & REFLECTIVE TRIM...
- SIZE & FIT: Medium fits dogs...
The purchase of this product is covered by a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defect. Dog owners are convinced that this life jacket is money well spent for the reasons that it is well-made, functional, aids in floating, and does not restrict movement whether the dog is swimming or walking. It has reflective strips, highly-visible contrasting color combinations, and two easy-clasp D-rings for a leash.
Dog owners like that the Kurgo Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket has two quick-grab handles to facilitate maneuvering the dog during rescues. The handles are oriented along the torso, not perpendicular to it, which most dog-owners and rescuers find to be more ergonomically correct. This is one of the best dog life jackets because the flotation panels are removable, and the jacket can then be used as raincoat, cold-weather jacket, or anxiety vest.
Unfortunately, not everyone was pleased with their purchase of this product. There were complaints about the support on the underside of the vest. Some buyers wished it offered more flotation panels under the dog's belly. As with all of the best dog life jackets, there were also buyers who were not pleased with the fit of this product. Most of the negative reviews you'll find complain about the improper fit of this life jacket. Buyers say it restricts their pet's range of motion and isn't as comfortable as some of the other best dog life jackets.
5 Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Dog Life Jacket
The Paws Aboard life jacket is made of red neoprene material on the floating part and durable net-like material on the belly part. It clasps for a secured fit on the side of the belly and on the front below the neck.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE -...
- KEEP YOUR FURRIEST MATE SAFE -...
- QUALITY MATERIALS - This Paws...
- FASHION FORWARD - Perfect for...
- ADVANCED, BREATHABLE MESH...
Underneath the clasps or buckles are Velcro fastenings. This jacket is bright red in color with reflective strips that make it easier to spot out in the water or when it’s dark. Six sizes are available, the smallest being XX-small and the largest being X-large. The Large size fits dogs weighing 50-90 pounds and measuring 30-37 inches in body girth.
Other dog owners who’ve bought this emphasized the importance of buying the correct size. The size must be determined based on the measurements; the weight is simply a guide. Body girth should be measured around the part right behind the front legs – you won’t be wrong that way.
Buyers say the Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Life Jacket floats nicely without being bulky. The handle makes it easy to grab the dog out of the water, and the two Velcro fastenings around the belly make the fit comfortably snug. Nylon straps and buckles lock it securely. This life jacket also features a D-ring near the handle for securing with a rope or leash.
Buyers noted that the XX-small has only one strap under the belly owing for the small space on that part for this size. It was also observed that the dog must be grabbed by the handle because it was designed that way. Improper handling, such as lifting the dog by the ends of the jacket, could cause some premature tearing. Other complaints were that the buoyancy of the jacket is less than expected and that the product is cheaply made and does not last.
6 Vivaglory Flotation Water Jacket for Dogs
When buying one of the best dog life jackets, it is always important to check on where the straps and fastenings touch your pet’s body. A dog wearing a life jacket that is lifted from the jacket’s handle, will feel the pressure against the points where the straps contact the body. For the Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket, it presses against two points across your dog’s belly and at another point on the lower front shoulder.
- MEASURE BEFORE PURCHASE:...
- FOR DOG'S SAFETY: Vivaglory...
- CONVENIENCE & FIT: durable...
- HIGH VISIBILITY: comes with...
- KINDLY REMINDER: this dog life...
Dog owners are very satisfied about their purchase and highly recommend the Vivaglory life jacket to others who may be shopping for a similar product. The three points of contact between the straps and the dog’s body distribute the dog’s weight over these points. The straps are cushioned underneath with padding. The front padding is about 2 inches wide. All these contribute to soften the impact to the dog when he is hoisted out of the water.
The life jacket’s underbelly is made of a flexible material that allows for a snug fit, even for dogs with a broad chest and slim waist. Because of the thinner flotation pads used, dogs can continue wearing the Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket even when they’re out of the water and play around unhampered. This is one of the best dog life jackets as it is sold in 5 sizes and in 7 exciting colors – quite a range to choose from. The bright colors and reflective strips provide added visibility.
Pet owners who purchased this product were happy overall, but some noted that the adjustable straps don't tend to stay in place. This is inconvenient, as you have to constantly check to make sure they are tightened so the jacket doesn't fall off your dog. Some reviewers were disappointed with the less than durable Velcro straps because they claim they would stay fastened.
7 Paws Aboard Pet Life Jacket
This Paws Aboard life jacket incorporates flotation foam panels on the dog’s back, sides, and over the front below the neck. Velcro straps fasten around the belly for a comfortable adjustable fit, with added straps that buckle on the side to secure the jacket in place. The front buckle settles low on the front shoulders below the neck for a snug and secure fit.
A handle that runs along the dog’s back provides an easy hold when the dog needs to be towed out of the water. Dog owners say that they now find swimming and playing out in the water with their dogs more enjoyable because their pets can stay longer and farther out. They now worry less about their dog getting tired or disoriented while swimming with the knowledge that he wears one of the best dog life jackets.
The material around the belly is not the same material used for the floating part. Instead, it is a durable mesh material that allows the dog’s body to cool and drain. It helps avoid overheating and chafing which can be very uncomfortable. The Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jacket is available in XX-Small size, which is quite unusual. It will fit dogs weighing less than 6 pounds and measuring 11-16 inches around the body. It's available in sizes up to X-Large as well.
As with other products on this list, some reviewers were not happy with the sizing of this life jacket. The consensus is that the sizing runs a bit small, which can be challenging for dogs that are in between sizes. The smaller size doesn't fit, and the larger size is a bit too big. A few reviews question the buoyancy of these life jackets, saying they are not suitable for heavier dogs.