Not all dogs are natural swimmers and even if your pup is a pro, they may still get tired and need some assistance when in deep water. You should make sure to pack a life jacket for your best friend when you take them along kayaking or on a beach day.
Dog life jackets can offer floatation and support to the dog. They also offer peace of mind to dog owners, who can know that their dog is safe. You should carefully select a good life jacket that offers all the necessary features like visibility stripes, adjustment straps, and security handles.
While researching some reliable brands for life jackets and vests, we came across some great options. Take a look at our recommendations for the highest quality dog life jackets of 2023.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Dog Life Jacket
You will need to keep the following considerations in mind:
Dogs come in a variety of sizes, body shapes, and coats. From big dogs to small pups, every canine will need a life jacket that properly fits them. You should properly measure your pet around the neck and chest area to make sure the life jacket won’t be too tight or too loose. A tight jacket will constrict movement while a loose one may slip off your dog in the water.
If your dog has trouble in the water, a safety handle can help you pull him out. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, you can use this handle to direct them or guide them out of the water.
Dog life vests and jackets should be in neon hues so they are easier to spot from a distance. They should be equipped with reflective strips to make the dog visible in water to the boats and people around them.
Consider a dog life jacket that surrounds the underbelly, back, and sides of the dog completely. You should also look for a life jacket with neck floatation that keeps the dog’s head above water.
Reasons for Getting a Life Jacket for Your Dog
Here are some benefits of a dog life jacket:
A dog life jacket keeps your fur baby safe in the open water.
Life jackets increase visibility in the water, so there are fewer chances of losing your beloved pet.
They aid in training your dog to swim.
They can give pet parents more peace of mind.
How to Measure Your Dog for a Life Jacket
You should take the following measurements:
Measure the junction between your dog’s body and the neck: that’s where most life jackets are designed to sit. Wrap a measuring tape around the neck near the shoulders and note the reading.
Measure around the chest by wrapping the tape around the rib cage or the widest area of your dog’s chest. Typically, the largest part is right behind the front legs.
The buoyancy of your dog’s life jacket can depend on their weight. Make sure you match your dog’s weight with the weight guidelines.
Measure your dog’s back length starting from below the neck to the base of the tail.
Safety Tips for Dog Life Jackets
Here are some useful tips to keep your dog safe in the water:
Always make sure the straps and handles are properly secured and adjusted.
Test the strength of the D-ring and the stitching before going into the water.
Make sure you’re getting the right life jacket for the right activity.
Instill a positive attitude toward wearing a life jacket with rewards and treats.
A dog life jacket is considered by many to be a necessity and they will help your pet in many ways. You need to consider a few important factors before getting one, including the right size, kinds of adjustments, handle, and reflective accents.
This guide covers some of the best dog life jackets in 2021 along with their pros, cons, and tips to getting the right fit.
Here is a short video from MarineMax with some more tips on choosing the right life vest for your dog!
The Kuoser Dog Life Jacket is a must-have for pet owners who want to ensure the safety and enjoyment of their furry friends during water activities. This life jacket is designed with durable materials and features that prioritize flotation, visibility, and ease of use. Crafted from high-quality five-cell PU Oxford cloth, this dog life jacket offers exceptional durability. The pearl cotton foam filling provides maximum floatation, keeping your dog safe and buoyant in the water. The Oxford fabric is not only ripstop but also waterproof, allowing for quick drying after water adventures.
Safety is a top priority with the Kuoser Dog Life Jacket. The bright colors, including pink, orange, and yellow, ensure high visibility, making it easy to spot your dog in any water condition. Reflective bands and straps enhance visibility even further, especially during low-light situations. The addition of a durable rescue handle enables you to quickly and easily retrieve your dog from the water, keeping them away from potential danger. The safe and durable design makes this dog life jacket the best overall on our list.
Durable material and maximum floatation for enhanced safety
High visibility features and reflective bands for added safety
Double D-ring buckles for leash attachment without a collar or harness
The Granby Splash life jacket from Outward Hound is a great floatation device for dogs that has been designed by experts. It has thick foam for exceptional buoyancy. It comes in vibrant colors and has reflective stripes to increase the visibility of your dog in the water. There is also a neck float and chin panel that helps to keep your dog’s head out of the water at all times.
There are two adjustable straps around the chest and belly area to ensure good support and a snug fit. The Outward Hound life jacket has been constructed with a ripstop material for maximum buoyancy. There is a neoprene belly band that supports the belly and chest area under the jacket. Sizing goes all the way up to XL, which accomodates large breed dogs. There is also a rescue handle at the top of this Outward Hound life vest to restrain and lift your dog.
This ripstop life jacket is designed with a round neck and extra padding for excellent buoyancy without restricting the dog’s activity. The dog life vest comes with a fastening system around the neck and the belly so the jacket stays secure and close to the dog’s body. The top portion of the jacket features a durable handle/life preserver that can be used to pull your dog out of the water in case of an emergency.
The adjustable straps on each side of the dog life jacket have quick-release buckles and can be fastened to snugly fit your dog. Moreover, reflective trims and strips ensure the dog is visible from a distance and in the water.
The ASENKU dog life jacket is made from a high-grade Oxford and nylon polyester material on the outside while the inside is lined with soft mesh fabric. The mesh fabric allows for proper drainage and is quick-drying. It is also very durable. There are quick-release buckles and adjustable belts that run all around the chest and belly area of the dog for maximum support.
When necessary, you can use the heavy-duty D-ring hook at the top to restrain, rescue, or guide your pet. The best thing about this life jacket is that it can be used as a simple winter dog coat as well. The ripstop polyester side is windproof and waterproof, which makes it ideal for extreme weather conditions.
Reflective accents for better visibility
Round neck style for a better fit
Quick-drying mesh lining
Not buoyant enough for dogs who cannot swim at all
You can count on this ZippyPaws life jacket to keep your dog afloat even in the deepest waters. The jacket is filled with dense foam panels that provide reliable floatation for your dog in ocean water, lakes, or rivers. The jacket is available in vibrant colors and has reflective stripes sewn on both sides so that your pup is visible to boats and people around them in the water.
There are built-in handles on the top of the jacket that allow you to easily retrieve your dog from the water. It’s super easy to put on and take off with simple quick-release buckles at the end of each adjustment belt.
Made from a combination of neoprene and nylon, this life vest is one of the best water jackets for dogs. The round boat neck design makes sure that the jacket is somewhat snug to the dog’s body so it can support them as they swim. The bright colors and reflective strips around the dog’s body make sure that it’s easy to locate your best friend in the water.
The floatation material is designed for supreme buoyancy and reduces fatigue. There is a rescue handle on top of the jacket for quick and easy access. Moreover, the design incorporates neoprene fabric, which is super flexible and adds no bulk to the jacket.
Lightweight and very buoyant
Rescue handle and reflective strips for safety
D-ring for leash at the back
Poor quality webbing attachment
People Also Asked
Q: What does the front flap do?
A: The front flap in a dog life jacket keeps the dog’s head out of water.
Q: Do dogs need life jackets on boats?
A: Yes, you should always have a life vest nearby when going around water.
Q: What do dog life jackets cost?
A: The price of a dog life jacket ranges from $20-$100.
Q: How does a dog wear a life jacket?
A: Unclip all straps and place the open jacket on your dog's back while they're standing up. Then, use the adjustable straps to ensure the perfect fit for your pooch. Make sure the belly panel is in place before you adjust other areas, like the straps around the neck area.
Q: Do dog life vests work properly?
A: Yes! Whether or not your dog is a strong swimmer, a properly fitted dog life jacket can keep your best friend afloat in the water.
Destin has experience working with dogs in the most high stress environments on earth. He currently is a canine handler as a security contractor, helping to keep US diplomats safe in some of the most dangerous regions of the world.