Whether your pooch is a swimming pro or a bit of a scared swimmer, he needs the right gear so that he can enjoy the water as much as possible! Even if you don’t intend to take him swimming it is still important to teach him how. It’s estimated that around 10,000 dogs die in America every year from drowning alone.
It doesn’t matter whether you like to go out on the water, either on your boat or paddleboard. Or, maybe you like a dip in your local lake every now and then. Perhaps you have a small swimming pool in your backyard. Trust us (and the figures!) when we say that your pooch needs a life jacket in his life!
There are a number of life jackets to choose from, which is why we have whittled them down to just a select few of our favorites. You’ll learn why we feel these models are the best around, as well as their benefits. You’ll also learn exactly what to look out for in a high-quality life jacket, so you’ll know you’ve found the perfect fit.
At a Glance: Our Favorite Dog Life Jackets
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This might be your first time buying a life jacket. Or, maybe you have already bought one but it just isn’t up to the job leaving you wondering what important features to look out for. The following features are the non-negotiables of a doggy life preserver. If the jacket you are considering doesn’t have the following, it’s time to move on!
Of course, this is the most important feature to consider, because without buoyancy a life jacket would be quite pointless! There are several different designs, and the flotation units are placed on different areas of the jacket; some jackets have under belly floatation, some have them on the back, and some have them on the sides. Some models also offer neck support which helps to support his head. Dependent on your dog’s ability or needs, an under-belly flotation design offers much more buoyancy.
It is important that the life jacket offers adjustable straps or points of some sort. While your pup might fall within a certain size bracket, obviously not all dogs are the same size or shape. If you cannot achieve a customizable fit, then your pup might not be able to move his legs freely to swim. This means it may just slip off while in the water, so adjustability is critical.
A handle is an important safety feature on a life safety jacket for two reasons. Firstly, it is important that you can grab hold of your dog in the water, just in case of an emergency. Secondly, if you are teaching your pooch to swim for the first time, or if he has never worn a jacket before, then holding the handle when you first take him into the water will give him that extra bit of stability. This will allow you to guide him to the exit points of the water. This will provide confidence and reassure your pup in a big way.
Most life jackets come in bright colors. Popular colors are yellow and orange. This is another important safety feature as it allows you to spot him easier against the dark color of water. Many models also have some sort of reflective material on them. That could be that in trimming, patches, or stitching. This will help your pup in the water when visibility is not that great. So, if you like early morning or late night swims, you will be able to see him clearly!
There are other important features to look out for as well. Features like security and durability, are normally found in high-quality products that are well made. Buying the most expensive life jacket doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best. But spending slightly more than the average life jacket generally means that it’s a higher quality product, and will last longer than a cheap and flimsy jacket.
Our Favorite Life Jackets
There are plenty of life jackets available on the market. But where exactly do you start and how do you know that you can trust them to keep your beloved pooch safe? Well, this is where we’ve done the heavy lifting. We’ve compiled our research to help you find the best dog life jacket for your pup, no matter their breed or size.
Not all dogs are created equal, and nor are all life jackets. So, let’s take a closer look at our favorites and exactly why they have made it onto our list of high-quality choices!
Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
No doggy product list would be complete without a Frisco option. Their products are always of premium standard, and this doggy life vest is no different! The buoyancy units are strategically placed on both the side panels. The closed-cell foam panels will flip your pooch to his natural swimming position should he find himself in any difficulty.
The thick neck panel is adjustable to suit all neck and chest shapes. It’s equipped with secure clips that slot into the jacket so that they remain covered throughout the swim. This means you can be sure that they will never be released on accident. The material is made from water-compatible webbing. This allows the vest to maintain its shape in the water. It’s also machine washable for easy cleaning.
It has a strong dual handle between his shoulder blades and back. This means you can lift your pup out of the water in emergency situations. This model also has a discreet leash attachment point for those who prefer to keep their pooch attached to them. Frisco’s doggy life jacket comes in orange, with reflective trim across the entire jacket.
There are zero negative points when we compare this life jacket to other brands. It comes in five different sizes and blends both quality, durability, and safety in a budget-friendly package.
We love that this jacket is a perfect blend of quality and durability without draining your bank account. Frisco is well known for specialty products in other areas, like longer harnesses for Corgis, amongst other high-quality doggy gear.
Vivaglory Sports Style Life Jacket
- Ten different color variations.
- High-visibility coloring.
- Four different sizes.
- Durable 600D ripstop cloth.
- Rear handle for additional control.
- Rear D-ring attachment.
- Uses additional floatation material.
Vivaglory have upgraded their original life jacket with a sports style design. This means that it enjoys a closer and more ergonomic fit, without restricting leg movement. The neck strap provides more space and natural movement for his neck and supports a natural swimming position. The jacket is made with a heavy-duty 600D ripstop Oxford cloth. This makes it very durable, but also lightweight so that it remains comfortable.
There are plenty of adjustment clips to achieve a perfect fit. The buckles are sturdy to keep it secure and in place. There is a strong handle situated between his shoulder blades for an easy grip, and there is a metal leash attachment point placed under the handle too.
This vest comes in 10 different colors that are all bright. It also has reflective trim and reflective panels, which are great for his safety and visibility. This dog vest can be a little heavy for lighter pooches, so this may be better suited to stronger dogs. However, with their guarantee, if you find that it is not suitable you can return it!
We love that this life jacket has the most color options. This means it’s a great fit for fashion-conscious pooches who love to make a statement by the pool.
Paws Aboard Boating Life Jacket
- Six different sizes.
- Eight different color combinations.
- Reflective straps for high visibility.
- Several fashion-forward designs.
- Made of quick-dry neoprene.
- Flexible materials for comfort.
- Mesh underbelly for mobility.
This life jacket is made from neoprene materials. This material is often used for wetsuits, which makes it quick drying and it insulates his body warmth well. It is also lightweight enough that it allows free range of movement, so your pooch can keep wearing this jacket for long periods of water fun! The underbelly material is also meshed, which makes it extra breathable. There are 2 sturdy clips placed around his chest and belly. It’s also equipped with an adjustable strap around his neck, which means you can find the perfect fit.
This vest has a grip handle situated between his shoulder blades. It also has a metal D ring attached to the neck area, which are both great safety features. There are also 2 reflective strips across his ribcage and back so that he can be seen in poor visibility. It also comes in 8 different colors and patterns, most of which are bright and wild.
We love that this life jacket is well suited to smaller pups, offering the smallest chest size. It also offers the longer length needed for Dachshunds, Corgis, and other similarly shaped dogs.
Outward Hound Splash Life Jacket
- Five different sizes.
- Dual handles for additional control.
- Adjustable side release buckles.
- Reflective accents for low-light conditions.
- Comfortable material for easier movement.
- Three secure attachment clips.
- Neck guard to prevent irritation.
This life jacket is made with neoprene material, which is not only durable, but it adds a layer of insulation for those smaller or shorter-haired breeds. It has side flotation panels that help to stabilize your pooch in the water. It also offers a neck flotation for those pooches who are less confident. It’s equipped with adjustable straps, with 2 across his underbelly, and one across his chest. This means you can find that customizable fit to make this jacket extra secure.
This life vest has 2 grip handles, situated along his spine, which offers greater opportunity for you to take hold of him in emergency situations. It also comes in 2 colors and it has a reflective trim around the edge of the jacket. It does not have a metal D ring leash attachment. This means it’s not well suited to owners who prefer to keep their pooch on a leash while in the water.
We love that this doggy life vest is the best option for those pooches who are just learning to swim in calmer conditions. Outward hound also makes some other great products, like toys for Labrador Retrievers.
EzyDog Dog Flotation Device
- High-performance vest.
- Five different sizes.
- Extremely durable materials.
- Thicker attachment straps vs. others.
- 50% more flotation material.
- Easy-grab handle for more control.
- Reflective trim for low light conditions.
This life jacket, or dog flotation device as the manufacturers call it, is made from heavy-duty polyester. This means it’s quite durable and strong. It has adjustable neoprene straps and buckles placed around his chest and neck which create a customizable fit for every pooch. It’s also quite secure. It also has a contoured neck strap that fits snugly against his chest. Other flotation units can be found along the side of the jacket. This is a great position to keep your dog upright in the water.
It has a strong grab handle placed across his back, and it also has a leash attachment ring so that you can keep him leashed while in the water. This life vest has reflective trim and stripes across the body. In conjunction with the 3 bright color options, it is a very visible jacket for those poor visibility swims.
We love that this life jacket offers the largest size for dogs. This makes it a great option for those extra-large swimmers. EzyDog also makes some great harnesses for running with your dog and smaller harness options for dogs like Pugs.
He & Ha Pet Life Jacket
- Budget-friendly choice.
- Durable handle for additional control.
- Breathable mesh underbelly.
- Reflective trim for low light conditions.
- Three secure clasp attachment points.
- Great for dogs with longer bodies.
- Belly foam for additional floatation.
This life jacket boasts under belly flotation units that offer extra support and buoyancy. This makes it a great option for those who lack confidence in the water or tire easily. It also has a chin float too, which is another great buoyant support feature for his neck and head.
There are three adjustable straps and buckles, all of which are sturdy and strong. The material is meshed throughout, which offers breathable fabric that dries quicker too. It has a metal D ring leash attachment so you can keep him close to you, your boat or your board.
This life vest has an extra-large grip handle placed across his shoulder blades, which allows for greater control in emergency situations. It also has reflective trimming and straps across the jacket, which offers visibility from any angle. It comes in one color, but this bright orange option ensures your pooch is extra visible.
We love that this life vest also has an inner ID tag, which means you can write your emergency contact details on just incase he swims a little bit too far.
Kurgo Surf ‘n’ Turf Life Jacket
No product list is complete without Kurgo making an appearance, as their products are well known for their quality. Their products are typically budget-friendly, and most of their products will last you and your canine companion for many years.
This life jacket is a multi-purpose jacket, and you can remove the floatation panels for a more slim-lined fit when using it as just a raincoat. It is made from ripstop material, which means that it is durable and can withstand pulling and tearing. It has 3 adjustment straps, 2 on his chest and 1 on his neck, which is great to find that tailored fit that is important for a secure life vest. It’s equipped with 2 transverse handles, so you have extra control when you need to take hold of Fido. It also has 2 metal D rings which can be used as a leash attachment point.
It also has a concealed bottle opener, which is great for those days out when you fancy a drink by the water, but just be sure not to give your pooch any! This jacket also comes with a lifetime warranty. Kurgo has a reputation as a durable product manufacturer. They are well known for their Pitbull harnesses as well, which can stand up to serious abuse!
We love that this life jacket doubles up as a raincoat too, so it is great for those pooches who love a walk in the rain and a dip in the lake. Kurgo also has other fantastic products, including escape-proof dog harnesses and no pull dog harnesses.
Hopefully, you are now convinced that whatever swimming ability your pooch is, he needs a life jacket in his life, if not just for your peace of mind! With one of these life vests, not only can you, and your pooch, enjoy the water all day long, but he will no longer feel like a fish out of water!
So, whichever float coat or doggy floatation device you chose (vest, jacket or otherwise), if you select one from our favorite list, know that you are getting one of the very best, and safest, for your beloved pooch.