Does A Dog Need A Life Jacket?
Dogs are known to be good swimmers, and some breeds are better at it than others. If you are hanging out on the shore, a life jacket is most likely not necessary unless you are around fast-moving rivers or rough water. If you are going to take your dog out with you on a paddleboard, kayak, or boat, then you might want to consider it. No matter what kind of shape your dog is in if you are in the middle of a lake and you need to swim to shore, a life jacket is a good safety measure in case your buddy or you get tired out. You should both have the proper safety gear whenever going out onto the water.
There are some really cool slim life jackets for humans that are great for paddleboarding you can check out here.
All of the jackets on this list are for all types of dogs. They are all padded to keep any dogs head above water. Some life jackets are for different levels of swimmers and have different amounts of padding. I am focusing on life jackets that are good when taking your pet away from land.
All Life Jackets For Dogs On The Table
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A Closer Look At Each Life Jacket
The Granby is a bright orange jacket that comes in sizes ranging from x-small to x-large, 11-44 inch girth. It comes with handles on the top for easy rescue and control.
The bright orange makes it is easy to see your dog in the water and on land. It has two straps that go around the belly with velcro for comfort and a sure fit. It also has a padded strap that goes around the front with a neck float to keep your dogs head above water.
This vest is simple; if you want something to use for the occasional day at the lake, then it will do the job. The neck float is a nice feature if your pet is older or has a hard time swimming. I wouldn’t suggest this one if you are around water a lot, but this is still a good vest if your dog doesn’t need to wear one all the time.
- Neck float
- Rescue handles
- Less durable materials compared to others
- No D-link for a leash
The Vivaglory comes in a lot of different colors and has sizes from x-small to medium, 12.6-24.4 inch girth. It’s made with ripstop 600D oxford cloth, ripstop is nice to have if your dog happens to get caught on a branch and tears a hole in the fabric. The ripstop will keep the cloth from fraying and becoming more damaged.
There are velcro straps and buckles with a mesh liner for the belly to keep it securely fastened. They added a reflective trim for visibility at night. It has a neck float that is removable. This is a good choice if you are not sure if your dog needs a neck float or not. There is also a rescue handle on the top with a D-link for a leash.
This vest is great for smaller dogs that are around water a lot. The removable neck float is a very nice feature, and so is the D-link. It’s made of some durable material and will keep your dog safe no matter how much they’re moving around.
- Removable neck float
- D-link for a leash
- Velcro and buckles
- High visibility trim
- Durable material
- Only for small to medium-sized dogs
The Haocoo life jacket vests come in some amusing designs; they have a shark fin, fishtails, and even a lobster. They also have standard ones that look more traditional if that’s what you want. The vests themselves are made of the durable ripstop oxford and nylon fabric. They have sizes ranging from xx-small to xx-large, 11-48.8 inch girth.
The adjustable straps for the belly and neck are quick release with reflective stripes for visibility, velcro, and a mesh liner on the underside for comfort. There is a rescue handle on the top with a D-link attached for a leash. This jacket does not have an extra neck float, but the neck strap has padding, so your dog’s head will be kept above water.
HAOCOO has made some nice life jackets with durable material and good buckles to keep your dog in its vest and safe. The thing that makes them unique is all the cool designs you can choose from and a large number of sizes available, a good budget jacket with some fun features.
- Rescue handle
- D-link for leash
- Lots of design choices
- Durable materials
- Bulky limiting movement
The Paws Aboard is much like the other jackets but with a slimmer design. It’s still for all levels of swimmers but is a little less restricting. They use velcro and buckles for the belly and neck fasteners, making it very secure, safe from falling off, and also have reflecting material for high visibility. Much like the other jackets, this one has a mesh belly liner for comfort. The sizes range from xx-small to x-large, 11-44 inch girth. There is a rescue handle on the top as well.
If your dog is bothered by bulky life jackets, then this one might be a better fit. It will still keep your pup afloat while being a little cooler and easier to move in. This vest has a nice design and built with comfort in mind.
- Rescue handle
- Slim design
- Velcro and buckles
- Many design and size choices
- No D-link for leash
The EzyDog is 50% more buoyant than most other life jackets for dogs. If you have an active dog that is going to jump into any water or a dog that really can’t swim then this is a good choice. It has a heavy-duty design with large straps and buckles, a high strength D-link and a rescue handle for greater control of your pet, and reflective trim on the entire vest. They even added a storage pocket on the top back of the vest. They have a wide size range from x-small to x-large, 19-48 inch girth.
This is a vest for high adventure and extreme durability. It’s got a lot of padding for floatation, so it’s a little bulky. If you’re on cold water or around rapids and rough waves, this is going to be the safest jacket for your dog, no matter what level swimmer they are. Another thing about this vest is if you have a large, energetic dog who rips out of other vests it’s going to have a harder time getting out of this one.
- Many design and size choices
- High buoyancy
- Very durable
- Rescue handle
- No mesh underliner for comfort
The K-9 Float Coat is one of the best-designed life jackets I’ve ever seen. It has an open neck and shoulders for a comfortable, secure fit while allowing complete movement. The foam is positioned to let your dog swim naturally while the material is durable and abrasion-resistant.
The neck strap is telescoping instead of clipping together making it more comfortable and a custom fit. The entire jacket goes around the belly and is buckled together instead of a mesh liner, making it more buoyant and secure. The rescue handle is low profile with a D-link underneath and a loop behind it for an optional light beacon as well as high visibility trim. The sizes range from xx-small to x-large, 19-48 inch girth.
High quality, durable, optimized design, and a comfortable fit are all things you get with this jacket, it’s comfortable and built to last. If you spend a lot of time out on the water and want to buy something that will hold up over the years, then this is what you want.
- High-quality materials
- Comfortable design
- D-link for leash
- Superior neck strap
- Won’t dry as fast as other jackets
Good: Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket – This vest is an excellent all-around life jacket that will keep your dogs head above water and keep them safe. The neck float is a useful feature that some dogs will need more than others. It comes in a wide range of sizes, so it’s got options for everyone making it a good choice in general.
Better: Paws Aboard Double Designer Life Jacket – The slim design is nice with a mesh underbelly that dries quicker than other jackets and is more comfortable. They have a lot of sizes and a lot of color and print options; you’re sure to find a jacket that fits and looks right for your dog. They also combine velcro with buckles keeping it tight and stops the straps from sliding around. This is a good jacket that has the right amount of durability and design to be great.
Best: Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat – Just looking at this vest, you can see the openness around the neck and shoulder area. It won’t restrict your dog as much as other jackets. The safest life jacket is the one that won’t be ripped off 10 minutes after you put it on your dog. The Ruffwear is true to its name with its heavy-duty straps, buckles, and a telescoping neck strap that protects the strap and keeps the vest secured to the front. The foam is thoughtfully placed, and altogether this is one of the best dog life jackets out there.
What To Consider
Girth – Most life jackets are sized by the girth of your dog. The girth is the measurement around the widest part of the chest. Make sure you measure with a flexible tape and read about the sizing for each kind of jacket before purchasing.
Water Temperature – The ocean and mountain rivers can be cold. If your dog is not a very good swimmer and has a hard time in regular water, then you want to buy a jacket with more padding and higher floatation capabilities.
Use – Some of these jackets are more durable than others. If you are on the water almost every day, you want to buy something that will last.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring a dog on an inflatable stand up paddleboard (ISUP)?
Inflatable stand up paddleboards are super durable and are great for dogs. If you want to know which ones are the best for you and your dog check out this article here.
Do dog life jackets work?
Yes, they do. If you buy the proper kind of life jacket for your dog it will keep them afloat in water, which can be life-saving in certain cases.
Do dogs need life jackets?
Certain dog breeds are known to be good swimmers but even those dogs get tired. If you take your dog far away from land on a boat or a paddleboard there’s always the chance that something will go wrong and they will need to swim to shore. If the distance to the shore is long even a dog that’s a great swimmer can struggle. It’s better to be safe than sorry. The end choice is up to you but I would say if you are far away from land your dog does need a life jacket.
How do dog life jackets work?
Dog life jackets work exactly like human life jackets, they are even made with the same kind of foam for floatation.
How are dog life jackets supposed to fit?
Dog life jackets should fit snug but not so tight that their movement is totally restricted. Dog life jackets come in many different sizes. Make sure you measure their girth (the widest part of their chest) and buy the correct size of a life jacket.
To make sure the jacket is tight enough put your dog in the water and see if the jacket stays snug on their body or starts to slip off. Make sure to adjust accordingly so the jacket doesn’t go over their heads.
Are dog life jackets safe?
Dog life jackets are safe if you have bought the correct size, amount of flotation, and put the jacket on your dog correctly. There are different kinds of dog life jackets, some have more floatation capabilities than others. Make sure you buy the correct life jacket for your dog’s level of swimming and the water activity they will be doing.
Have any tips or questions about keeping your dog safe in the water? Leave a comment below or check out the FAQ Page.