Best Lifejackets for Dogs

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

To help you make the best choice for your pet’s safety, we compiled a list of best lifejackets for dogs.

You might be scratching your head at the idea of lifejackets for dogs. After all, canines are such good swimmers that a swimmings style is named after them! Well… That’s only partially true. While most dogs are good swimmers, there are actually some dog breeds that can’t swim. Bulldog, Boxer, Pekingese, Pugs, and Doxies are just a few from the lengthy list of non-swimmer dogs. Additionally, even dogs who can swim are not always safe doing so without a life vest or a personal flotation device. Senior pets and dogs with mobility issues should always wear a lifejacket when you take them out for a dip. So, how does one go about choosing the right life vest for their dog?

There are various types of lifejackets for dogs available, with different buoyancy levels, designs, and, maybe most importantly, sizes. Once you set your eyes on a particular lifejacket due to its features or price tag, it’s absolutely essential to correctly measure your pet’s body to ensure the life vest is a perfect fit, and with it, safe and secure to use. To help you make the best choice for your four-legged companion, we compiled a list of best lifejackets for dogs. The only thing you need to do is pick one and get your measuring tape ready!

1.Editor’s Pick: Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket

Thousands of pleased pet parents sing praise to this life vest, and with good reason. The whole design of the lifejacket is centered around the complete safety of the pet. It features two top grab handles for restraint easier rescue from sticky situations, as well as a front neck float to keep your dog’s head above water at all times. Sides are lined with foam panels, as well, to increase the overall buoyancy. The jacket stays snuggly on your pet no matter what, as the sturdy belly buckles and chest straps ensure a perfect fit. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the jacket comes in bright orange color with reflective piping- you’ll always be able to spot your pet in the water. When it comes to fit and sizing in general, the Outward Hound Granby comes in 5 different sizes, from X-Small to X-Large and six color options to choose from. A match for every pooch- but be sure to thoroughly compare measurements to get the right fit for your doggo.

2. Runner Up: Queenmore Dog Life Jacket

Why not go for a quality lifejacket with a fun twist? Contrary to popular belief, safe doesn’t equal boring, y’ all. The grey waterproof life vest features a unique detail- a shark-like fin that sits almost right above your pooch’s butt. It looks hilarious and adorable, honestly. But it’s not just about the humorous design when it comes to Queenmore dog life jacket. This life vest has all the traits any flotation device should have, such as a neck, belly and back float for supreme buoyancy. The rubber low-profile handle will give you a good grip on your four-legged swimmer, and there’s also a D- hook for attaching a leash if needed. The nylon straps with quick release clasps make sure that the fit is just right, down to the last inch. Additionally, you can further control the fit of all 6 sizes (from X-small to XX-large)
with a velcro fastening system placed around the belly and neck.

3. Best Nautical: Paws Aboard Nautical Dog Life Jacket

Ahoy, matey! The nautical print of this life jacket will help your furry sailor stand out in the crowd and, let’s be honest, make for an insanely adorable outfit. The vest itself is high-quality make, with plenty of design features to make sure your dog stays safe and comfortable when swimming. While the top and the sides are responsible for the buoyancy of the vest, this Paws Aboard life jacket features an advanced breathable mesh underbelly. This will help make sure your pooch dries up fast and won’t put them at risk for overheating. The vest fastens with heavy-duty fuzzy fastener straps with clasps. This cute life jacket will suit dogs that are up to 20 inches long 36 to 44 inches chest girth, which is the largest of the 5 sizes.

4. Best for Buoyancy: EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device

You won’t be wondering if your pooch is staying above the water with this bad boy- it has 50 percent more flotation material than most of its competitors. The EzyDog life vest uses ultra-buoyancy foam to keep dogs afloat, and it’s strategically placed all over the jacket so it keeps your dog in a swimming position that’s natural to them. It won’t make it more difficult for your pooch to paddle and it will give them that extra security that they need. The two color options, bright yellow and red, are both quite easy to spot on the water, but this life vest also boasts highly reflective trim for even better visibility. The Doggy Flotation Device comes in sizes from XS through to XL, and the fit will always be perfect thanks to adjustable wide neoprene straps.

5. Best Neoprene: Vivaglory Skin-Friendly Neoprene Dog Life Vest

Neoprene is the same material that’s used to make dry suits for divers, so it’s not surprising that it makes the perfect choice for a dog life vest. Owing to this glorious fabric, the Vivaglory lifejackets for dogs are less bulky than you’d expect, they have great breathability, and will conform to your pet’s own body shape. The built-in flotation layers on the sides of the vest won’t hamper your pooch while he swims, but will give plenty of support to keep them afloat. The life vest comes in 4 different sizes and 5 bright, vibrant colors: red, blue, pink, orange, and lemon yellow, all with reflective elements to boot.

6. Best Patterns: HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket Vest

Another fun and unique design, this life jackets gives your pooch the chance to look like an adorable mermaid. The pink scale print and the cute fin that goes right up to their tail will make them the talk of the beach- and you’ll easily visually locate your merman or mermaid paddling away in their pink attire. But just because the design of the vest makes it look like a toy rather than a life-saving device, it doesn’t mean it won’t do the job great. The WOpet Dog Life Jacket has thick foam lining for excellent flotation, and it stays snug and put on your pet. The nylon straps and quick-release clasps keep the jacket secure and help you modify the fit. This life vest comes in 7 sizes ranging from extra-extra small to extra-extra large and 9 color options to choose from.

7. Best for Non-Swimmers: Frisco Dog Life Jacket

If your dog is among the non-swimming breeds, this life jacket might be their best bet. Frisco really meant business with this flotation device, as it’s equipped for maximum buoyancy and safety in the water. The 20mm thick foam in the vest keep your pooch afloat and the special flotation flap on the front makes sure their head is always above water, no matter what. Dual grab handles are there to help you lift your dog or pull them away from danger. There are 5 available sizes to choose from, and each adapts to your dog’s unique body shape. The three adjustable straps with side-release buckles on neck, chest, and belly, are fully modifiable to accommodate for pooches with various proportions.

8. Best for Novices: Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket

This scarlet red neoprene flotation vest is ideal for novice swimmers. The material will act as a natural regulator of temperature, keeping your pet warm while they’re taking a dip in the cold waters. The sides have foam panels to maximize the buoyancy when your pro paddler gets tired of pawing at the waves. To boot, neoprene drys fairly quickly, so when your pooch goes out on the sand, they won’t be at risk for overheating in a damp bulky jacket. Their head will also always be above water as the Dawson Dog Life Jacket Has a front float.

9. Best Basic: Paws Aboard Lifeguard Neoprene Dog Life Jacket X-Large

Baywatch? Try Poochwatch. The cute lifeguard design makes this vibrant red life jacket an eye-catcher, which is an advantage when you plan on letting your pooch swim in a pool or the open waters. You’ll always be able to see where they are, both for the bright color and the reflective strips which improve night visibility, as well. While the buoyancy of this flotation device for dogs is excellent, it won’t be bulky to wear. It’s made from neoprene and won’t interfere with your dog’s natural swimming style. The fast-drying neoprene and mesh bottom make for a fast-drying and breathable vest that won’t bother your pooch when they make a short break on the land.

10. Best Patriotic: KING Pup Dog Life Jacket

If your vision of summer fun includes celebrating Fourth of July near a body of water, you should make sure this patriotic life vest is part of your pup’s attire. The stars and stripes pattern is perfect for the occasion – and beyond it. The extra padding gives your pooch perfect buoyancy to paddle around the pool while you fire up the grill! Another great feature of this flotation device (in addition to its design) is the fact it’s machine washable and super easy to clean. This life jacket comes in five size options from extra small to extra large.

What should I consider when choosing life jackets for my dog?

The fit of the life jacket is very important, so you’ll have to pay attention to available sizes and measure your pet for an exact match. Once you get the right size, consider buoyancy levels: if your dog can’t swim you have to get a more buoyant life jacket for them to stay afloat, but lighter life vests are okay for active dogs that just need a backup or a little help in case they get tired mid-swim. Carry handles are also an important detail to factor in- you want it to be effortless to take hold of your pet in case of an emergency. Designs of life jackets come in a variety of color options and patterns, but it’s best to pick something bright and vibrant so you can easily spot your pooch on a busy beach.

How to measure my dog for a life jacket?

Measuring a dog for a life jacket is not that different from taking their measures for a winter coat or a harness. Use a tape measure to measure their length, or the distance between the base of the tail and their shoulders- just be aware that for long-body breeds such as Dachshund or Corgi, the jacket won’t cover the whole back but that is perfectly fine. Chest girth is the next part to measure, and that is the widest part of your pet’s ribcage. Finally, measure the widest part of your dog’s neck but have in mind that the jacket shouldn’t be too snug as it could restrict breathing.

How to put a life jacket on my dog?

First, unbuckle all the straps and place the unbuckled life jacket on your pet’s back. It should sit near the dog’s neck before you buckle and fasten all the straps (the number of straps will depend on the model you’ve chosen). The life jacket should fit snugly- you shouldn’t be able to fit more than two fingers between the straps and your dog’s body- and be a couple inches above the dog’s tail.

Why do I need a life jacket for my dog?

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so most dogs would benefit from a life jacket- canines use their front legs to swim which can cause them to tire out mid-swim, and a life jacket will be there as a backup plan in case that happens. This can happen to any pooch, young or old, active or lazy, especially on open water or in strong currents, Some dog breeds can’t even swim in the first place, so a life jacket is the only way for them to enjoy summer fun while paddling around in the water.

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Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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