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The 9 Best Dog Life Jackets

Whether you're going to a pool, river, lake, or the ocean, keep your pet's safety in mind. Although most dogs naturally know how to "doggy paddle," you should never overestimate your dog's swimming ability. A fearful or exhausted dog may struggle to keep afloat in the water, and even strong swimmers may be swept away by a strong current. Always use a life jacket when taking your dog on a boat or for dogs who aren't naturally strong swimmers, have movement limitations, or are becoming older.

The most crucial element to consider while selecting for a canine life jacket is the garment's size. Choose a life jacket that will enhance visibility by using a bright color and possibly even a variant with reflective strips. Another important element is a handle, which can assist you hold on to or retrieve your dog in an emergency.

The best dog life jackets are listed here by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) .

What to Look for in a Life Jacket for a Dog

  • Size

The most critical feature of a canine life jacket is that it is the correct size for your dog. A properly fitted life jacket can save your pet’s life. You’ll need your dog’s weight and chest measurement, but some jackets may also require you to measure his body length and neck circumference. To discover the correct size life jacket, use your dog’s weight and measurements, as well as the manufacturer’s size chart. Furthermore, most variants include adjustable buckles that will allow you to dial in the fit so that the jacket is neither too tight nor too loose. However, don’t imagine that adjustable buckles would compensate for getting the wrong size life jacket for your dog.

  • Visibility

For good reason, many dog life jackets are available in vibrant, eye-catching hues. If your dog is in the water, a brightly colored life vest might help you find him. If you will be using a life jacket on your dog in dusky or dark weather, you should seek for one with reflective strips.

  • D-ring and handle

Look for a canine life jacket that has a strong, solid handle on the back. In an emergency, the handle can be used to remove your dog from the water. Make certain that the handle is built and attached in such a way that it can sustain your pet’s weight. It’s a good idea to put it through its paces before taking it out on the lake for the first time.

Many dog life jackets include a leash attachment point in addition to a handle. This D-ring is normally situated around the base of the handle and provides a place to secure a leash if you remove your dog’s collar while wearing the life vest.

  • Floating Panels

The fundamental aim of a canine life jacket is buoyancy, thus pay attention to the positioning of floatation panels. Look for a jacket that allows for natural swimming motion and provides balanced flotation. Floatation panels should ideally run along the front, sides, and bottom of the jacket. Some models additionally incorporate a neck flotation panel to assist dogs in keeping their heads above water.


Do dogs require life jackets?

Any dog who spends time on, in, or near water should wear a life jacket. Though most dogs know how to swim naturally, they may become weary or scared, impairing their ability to continue swimming. Furthermore, most dog life jackets have a grip on the back that you can use to grab your dog in an emergency.

On boats, do dogs have to wear life jackets?

Laws may not compel your dog to wear a life jacket while on a boat, and the United States Coast Guard does not regulate canine floatation equipment. A life jacket, on the other hand, is a good idea for any dog on a boat. If your dog falls overboard (or jumps into the water), the life jacket can give buoyancy assistance as well as a handle to help you pull your dog back in.

How should I size my dog for a life jacket?

Most dog life jacket manufacturers provide detailed measuring instructions. In general, the size of your dog’s life jacket will be determined by his or her weight, chest size, and neck circumference. Place a tape measure behind the armpits and at the bottom of the rib cage to measure your dog’s chest—this should be the widest portion of the chest. Bring the tape over your dog’s back and down to the rib cage to determine the total girth of his chest. To select a life jacket that fits securely and pleasantly, you may need to measure your dog’s neck and body length.

Do dogs have the ability to wear human life jackets?

Instead of attempting to make a human life jacket suit your pet, you should always use a properly fitting canine life jacket. Accommodate panels and buckles are strategically placed on dog life jackets to support canine anatomy and provide a secure fit. Furthermore, most dog life jackets include a D-ring for a leash as well as a handle to retain a solid grip on your pet.

What size should a dog life jacket be?

A correctly fitting canine life jacket should be close to the body but not too tight. It should allow your dog to breathe freely and have a complete range of motion, including walking, running, and jumping.


Best Overall: Granby Dog Life Jacket by Outward Hound

The Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket is our top dog life jacket option. This low-cost jacket is available in a range of sizes and includes everything you need to keep your dog safe. Outward Hound is available in sizes ranging from x-small to x-large and can accommodate dogs with girths ranging from 11 inches to 44 inches. It is available in either plain orange or a playful fish pattern, and it has dual grab handles for simple rescue if your pooch needs a rapid lift to safety. Two belly buckles and a chest strap ensure a secure fit around your dog, while surrounding foam panels keep him afloat.

Outward Hound is a well-liked breed among dog owners. This low-cost life jacket withstands repeated use and isn’t too bulky or uncomfortable to wear all day. This dog life jacket is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-cost, high-quality option.

Best Budget: Ripstop Dog Life Jacket by Vivaglory

You don’t have to forsake quality for your pet just because you don’t have a lot of money to spend. The Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket is available in eight brilliant colors and five sizes, and it fits dogs with chests ranging from 12 to 38 inches. You can lift your pet out of the water with an easy-to-use grab handle, and luminous strips keep him visible even in low light. A comfy velcro and buckle mechanism keeps your dog comfortable during long periods of exercise.

The Vivaglory Jacket is simple to put on and remove from your dog. Keeping your dog safe is important regardless of your budget, and with a lower-cost solution like Vivaglory, you can still enjoy the dog days of summer.

Best for Large Dogs: Doggy Life Vest Jacket EzyDog

Many people wrongly believe that their large breed dogs, particularly working types like Labradors, do not require a life jacket. However, even your Olympic canine swimmer requires water protection. The EzyDog Doggy Life Vest is ideal for large breed dogs because its largest size accommodates pups weighing more than 90 pounds. The EzyDog is built with your huge dog’s safety in mind, with a safety grab handle and reflective bands. It comes in five sizes and three colors: yellow, red, and camo. It also has a robust D-ring for a leash and a zipped storage pocket where you can stash some post-swim snacks.

The EzyDog Life Vest is an excellent choice for large, athletic dogs who are a little harsher on their gear than usual. Many reviewers indicate that can withstand strong dogs and gives a snug, safe fit.

Best for Active Dogs: Dog Life Jacket RUFFWEAR

There are numerous reasons why you might buy a dog life jacket, however some watersports are more intense than others. If you and your dog like riding smashing waves or kayaking for hours, a tough garment like the Ruffwear K9 Life Jacket is the perfect option. Though it will cost a bit more, this life jacket is designed for energetic dogs, offering enough covering to keep him safe while allowing him to move freely in the water. It’s available in six sizes, from xx-small to x-large, and has shielded side buckles that won’t get in the way during use. Although the jacket has reflective strips for low-light settings, you can also add a Ruffwear light to keep your dog safe in the dark.

It costs significantly more than many of its competitors, but it is well worth the money. Whether you’re taking your dog paddleboarding or just want a little more protection, this jacket is a terrific choice.

Best Multipurpose: Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket by Kurgo

Kurgo Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket is ideal for beach days spent both on and off the water. This tough jacket serves as both a rain jacket and a life vest, giving protection from the elements on land and buoyancy on the water. It is available in five sizes, and its vivid red color makes it simple to identify your dog. Two traverse handles make it easy to get in and out of the water, and each device comes with a lifetime warranty against faults.

Because the Kurgo Jacket is so light, many owners wear it on rainy day walks as well as long boat journeys. Consider the Kurgo Surf N Turf Jacket if you want a product that will get a lot of use all year.

Final Decision

BestForPets‘s (bestforpets.org)  favorite pick is the Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket, which has dual grab handles, a neck float, and adjustable straps. It comes in a variety of sizes, making it an excellent choice for dogs of various sizes. You can’t put a price on safety, but the Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket is an affordable solution. It comes in eight different colors and five different sizes, and it still has important safety features like a grab handle and reflective strips for visibility.

After everything is said and done, we are grateful that, out of the dozens of websites available, you choose BestForPets to read evaluations of the best dog life jackets. It is my sincere hope that the information provided in this post has assisted you in selecting the best possible item for your pet.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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