The Best Dog Life Jackets 2020: Ensure Your Pet’s Safe Swimming
Author Robert Herrera Reading 1 min Published by
People think that dogs are good swimmers by nature. This is far not like that. Certain breeds are natural swimmers, but there are dogs that loathe the water, whilst others are simply afraid of it. They would freeze at the water’s end and refuse to go in. And the last thing a dog owner wants is to have his four-legged friend fall overboard. This could be a real nightmare for dogs who can’t swim. That’s why manufacturers offer life jackets designed for dogs. With the help of a life jacket, your natural swimmer will face rough waves safely, while dogs which are not natural swimmers can start enjoying and loving water. We have created this article to help you learn more about the practical equipment a dog’s life jacket, and find the best model your little friend will love.
Table of Contents:
What Life Jackets for Dogs Are
Benefits of Using a Dog Life Jacket
Best Dog Life Jacket Buying Guide
Size and Fit
How We Chose and Tested the Best Life Jackets for Dogs
The Best Life Jackets for Dogs 2018
1. Gooby Padded Cold Weather Vest for Small Dogs with Safe Fur Guard Zipper Closure
2. Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Windproof Reversible British style Plaid Dog
3. Dog Life Jacket - Outward Hound Kyjen - Granby Splash
4. Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket
5. Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets with Extra Padding for Dogs, Available in 5 Sizes & 7 Colors
6. Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Life Jacket, Dog or Cat Life Preserver
7. Outward Hound Dawson Swim Novice Swimmer Life Jacket Dogs
8. Kurgo Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket, Adjustable with Reflective Trim
9. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Dog Life Vest Jacket (DFD)
10. Swimways Sea Squirts Dog Life Vest w/ Fin for Doggie Swimming Safety
11. Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket Safety Vest with Superior Buoyancy & Rescue Handle
Interesting Facts About Dogs’ Life Jackets
How to Choose the Right Size of a Life Jacket for Your Dog
Recommendations for Washing Your Dogs' Life Jacket
Frequently Asked Questions
A dog’s life jacket is not an accessory, it’s a necessity. It’s a key element in a complete safety program every dog owner should have for his pet. Life jackets are available in most diverse colors. They are all bright and noticeable from afar. Some models feature neon stripes and accents to make your dog vivid in the water in the darkness.
Neoprene is the material most life jackets are made of. This amazingly lightweight synthetic rubber material is entirely resistant to water, weather (wind, heat, cold, etc.), and oil.
An important feature every quality dog’s life jacket should have is comfortability. The freedom of movements is crucial for every dog. Since these creatures are extremely active, no jacket should restrict a dog’s chasing, running, and swimming motions.
Today, there are different dog life jacket sizes you should be guided by.
Small dogs are not natural swimmers, they do not even seem to love water. And if you are planning to spend a day near the water, your dog can’t do without a dog life jacket. Life jackets of different sizes do not differ in structure, design or material. Representatives of Terrier, Papillon, Spaniel, Shih Tzu, Pomeranian, Maltese, and other breeds fit into this category and need pretty little life jackets.
If you have a puppy and you want him to learn swimming in a short period of time, an XXS dog life jacket is what you should get. These are tiny jackets. They are designed to provide comfort and safety to the smallest dogs and puppies.
Dogs having medium sizes (Akita, Foxhound, Staffordshire Terriers, Australian Shepherd) need well fitting life jackets that can provide a decent level of security in the water. A series of brands offer amazing products. They make medium-size jackets with velcro, fasteners, clips, and even zippers. Considering the fact these dogs are heavier than small ones, the firm fastening really matters a lot.
Bigger dogs need bigger and firmer jackets. It’s mandatory to check the manufacturer’s sizing guide to make the right choice. Only a perfectly-fitting life jacket can serve its purpose and save your dog in the event of an emergency. The seams should be firm, the straps should stay tight, and the structure of the jacket should not hamper the dog’s urinating. Take this into account.
If your pet is a healthy Boerboel, Anatolian Shepherd, Bullmastiff, Doberman, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Mastiff, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, you may need an XL dog life jacket or even an XXL dog life jacket. Everything depends on the dog’s age and weight.
|Gooby Padded Cold Weather Vest Small|
|Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Windproof|
|Dog Life Jacket - Outward |
|Paws Aboard Double Designer|
|Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets|
|Paws Aboard Red Neoprene|
|Outward Hound Dawson Swim Novice|
|Kurgo Surf N Turf Dog Life|
|EzyDog Doggy Flotation|
|Swimways Sea Squirts Dog|
Despite the widespread misinformation, far not all canines are good swimmers. Some breeds are simply not suited to swimming, puppies and old dogs are not strong enough to withstand water waves, and others have health issues. All these dogs are put at high risk when in water. A life jacket becomes a necessity in such cases. Whether you plan boating, spending the day on the beach or at the pool, if your dog is with you make certain he has a life jacket on. Here are the basic five reasons why your pet should have a vest on whenever exposed to water activities.
Not all dogs are swimmers by nature. Those with large chests and small hindquarters are very heavy and swim badly: Dachshunds, Boxers, and Bulldogs can’t succeed in staying afloat. Smaller dogs (Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Yorkshire Terrier) swim well but get chilled fast and don’t survive long in the water. Even if the dog has swimming abilities, he is still at risk if it becomes fatigued.
You can’t always control everything particularly appearing in the middle of the sea. A dog fallen or jumped off of a boat has little chances to swim back to the shore safely. But once he has a life jacket on, he will remain afloat even if he’s very tired to move on or is unconscious.
An ocean wave and you lose the sight of your dog fallen overboard. River currents, meanwhile, are even more dangerous. Wave actions make it nearly impossible to spot your pet fighting in the water for a grasp of breath. Life jackets are always brightly colored. Some even have reflective detailing to make the dog noticeable in the darkness.
If your pet has fallen off of the boat, you don’t have to jump into the water to get him in case he is in a life jacket with a handle. Thanks to the latter, you can haul him back to the boat and hold on until you approach the shore.
Life is unpredictable and even a few seconds are enough for something terrible to happen. To have the peace of mind that your beloved dog is safe if he runs into a trouble when swimming, falling off the boat or the deck, you should obtain a quality life vest.
It’s an overwhelming task to choose the best life jacket among such a diversity available on the market. There are several specifications and features to consider before making the final choice.
Life jackets for dogs are available in different buoyancy levels. Depending on your dog’s weight, size, and swimming skills, you may need to select something with more flotation and padding than others.
The next thing to consider is the material. Dogs’ life jackets are normally of the same materials as human jackets (neoprene, ripstop, synthetic, polyester). There is foam filling inside these jackets to keep the dog afloat and a soft nylon on the outer shell.
Durability and security are crucial. Choosing a life jacket, make certain the stitches are firm, the straps, zipper or whatever fastening system is used, are secure and reliable. Otherwise, your pet can appear in danger in water even with a life jacket on.
A dog’s life jacket should be easy to use and regulate. Best models have grab handles that allow you to hold on the dog fallen off the board and pull it in. Some life jackets have D-rings to connect dog leashes. Choose the model that suits your requirements best.
Dogs have different sizes and shapes and if one model may suit a dog perfectly, it may appear improper for another. Quality dog life jackets have a measurements chart that allows you to get a better idea about particularly which size will fit your pet the best. Remember, that a dog’s life jacket should fit a dog well to be efficient in the water.
Choosing a dog’s life jacket requires a high sense of responsibility. You do not want your sweetheart pet feel uncomfortable or hurt in a jacket. A good jacket is to fit your pet well, feature firm handles you can pull him out of the water if necessary. It must also be comfortable.
Having read a huge pile of reviews left by responsible pet owners, having interviewed life jacket manufacturers, our skillful staff has separated seven amazing models. We have written a dog life jacket review on each model to showcase all the advantages and disadvantages they have. A number of tests were carried out prior to demonstrating the jackets to your attention. Such aspects were paid special attention to as the material, the fastening system, the structure, the availability of a removable front float, the coloring, the sizes available, and the price.
If you wonder what is the best dog life jacket, we are ready to make you come to a logical conclusion yourself. Here are seven top-rated dog life jacket models reviewed in details.
A good quality small dog life jacket should be highly protective, comfortable just as this model by Gooby. Although the dog vest is available in several sizes, the jacket is best, particularly for small dogs. The vest will fit your pet and protect him in cold and wet weather. Cold winters are no longer an issue for walking your dog. The water-resistant fabric layer will protect the dog in low temperatures while the inside layer is made of fleece cushion fabric for comfortability. Thanks to the small safeguard, the zipper won’t pull the dog’s fur and hurt him.
This vest by Gooby can freely be considered as the best small dog life jacket and not only. It’s also very easily maintainable. A simple machine wash is enough for making the jacket look clean and new. Perhaps the only downside we noticed about this model is the inaccurate sizing. Quite often, the size you get doesn’t coincide with the one stated in the chart and is either tight or loose on your dog. This vest is perfect value for the cost it is sold at, as the features are superb.
Featuring a water-resistant outer layer and a polyester fiber filler, the Kuoser Cozy Jacket can also be accepted as a plaid. It’s really warm from one side, while the other side is made to repel water when it’s raining heavily. The manufacturer used velcro tabs here as a fastening system. Unfortunately, there are no grab handles and no front float, it isn’t suitable to use as a life jacket.
Available in several color options, this vest promises your beloved pet will feel warm, dry and comfortable even if it’s cold and rainy outdoors. The design of the jacket is really awesome with its exquisite stitching. It looks pretty in its vintage style.
Despite the multiple advantages of the windproof and waterproof jacket offered by Kuoser, there are also a couple of downsides. The dog life jacket size chart provided seems inaccurate. Quite often ordering the product guided by the chart you get smaller variants. Another disadvantage of this durable and stylish dog vest lies in the velcro fasteners – they have no adjustments.
This life jacket manufactured by Outward Hound features a dual rescue handle to grab and save the dog in case of an emergency. It is made of a highly durable ripstop material to ensure comfortable and enjoyable buoyancy for a dog. The dog’s head and neck will be kept above water. This is ensured by the unique front neck float. The neoprene belly band, meanwhile, stands for the secure support of the pet’s stomach and chest.
This dog water life jacket by the remarkable brand name was designed to provide your four-legged friend with safe swimming in calm waters. The jacket will restrict your pet’s movements neither in the water nor on the land. The sizes range from X-Small to X-large, so it promises to fit your pet irrespective of his size. And the price of this model is amazingly cheap!
Another amazing advantage of the jacket is the bright color options available. Be certain, you can’t lose your dog in the water when he is wearing a bright orange or pink vest.
Along with this series of advantages this dog life jacket reviews show, there are some downsides we noticed about it. Sizes ordered sometimes are inaccurate. And the jacket’s stitches start tearing off after several uses.
This life jacket by Paws Aboard is a budget-friendly canine water vest available in several sizes. The jacket’s belly is made of enhanced breathable mesh that stands for decent draining and drying. The velcro fasteners are 100% secure. The jacket is fastened around the dog’s belly and neck for extra security level. There is also a handle to pull the dog out of the water if necessary.
Available in several color options (all bright enough to notice your dog swimming even far in the water), the cheap dog life jacket produced by Paws Aboard was designed to ensure the safe buoyancy of your pet. If you are interested in purchasing the life jacket, remember that it is designed for small dogs rather than big ones. What we didn’t like about it, is that it doesn’t keep the dog upright but tilts him to the side. This might be a great issue if the dog gets easily frightened.
The pretty life jacket for dogs offered by an outstanding brand Vivaglory is securely designed to provide you little pet’s safe and enjoyable swimming. It features extra padding that stands for better flotation and a reliable fastening system (velcro). The latter is fastened around the dog’s belly and neck. A firm handle is sewn on the top to pull your dog out of the water when necessary. There is a removable front float that guarantees your dog’s head is always above the water and the reflective bands ensure you’ll always find out where your dog is in the water if it’s dark.
If the affordability is a major concern, Vivaglory life jacket has you covered. As the life jacket is offered in different sizes, you can get a dog life jacket medium, as well. Manufacturers encourage customers to be careful when picking up the size. If your dog’s measures are close to the top dimensions, you’d better select the size that comes next up.
This model is not a bad option at a cheap price. But there are downsides we ought to mention. After several uses, the vests rip at the seams, and the vest can potentially flip your pet over in the water if proper balancing and securing aren’t provided.
Ordering this big dog life jacket, you are ensuring the dog’s safety and comfortability in the water. The bright red coloring is totally enough to notice the pet from afar, yet, the manufacturers added reflective strips for good visibility in the darkness. This way you won’t lose your pet even at night. The firm velcro system that fastens around the dog’s belly and neck, the quick-releasing buckles and the adjustable nylon straps, ensure the firm fixation of the jacket on the pet. The life jacket also features a cloth handle on its back to get the dog out of the water in the event of an emergency.
We tested this model carefully. The red neoprene life jacket produced by Paws Aboard is one of the most secure models the modern market is filled with. It’s offered in different sizes and will fit your dog perfectly. It’s durable, safe, easily maintainable, feels comfortable, and looks stylish. Perhaps the only aspect we noticed about it is that the jacket is not designed for long or very big dogs (Daschund, English Cocker Spaniel, German Pinscher, and others).
The unique structure of the neoprene life jacket makes it an excellent choice for novice swimmers or those dogs, who are afraid/feel uncomfortable in the water. There are side foam panels that keep even big dogs afloat, and the neoprene material will keep your dog warm if the water is very cold. The life jacket’s front float supports the dog’s head and neck afloat. The firm handles were added to pull out your dog from the water if an emergency occurs. The quick release buckles and clips, meanwhile, are in charge of the firm and easy fastening of the jacket on the dog. It’s available in several sizes to perfectly fit any dog.
Among the best dog life jacket reviews, the one left about the Dawson Swim Novice offered by Outward Hound brand has its honorable place. We praise the durability, the excellent buoyancy, and the secure fastening systems. You can pick up either red or orange jacket being sure both will make your dog’s swimming visible from afar. Anyway, the high price can repel many customers.
This life jacket model by Kurgo has several functions and designs rolled into one. By merely removing the flotation layer, one can turn it from a life vest to a fully functioning raincoat. The model is made of rugged ripstop material. It comes with two control handles, a metal D-ring to connect a leash, an attached bottle opener, and a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. There are five sizes available to choose from.
This is an amazing life jacket that can be used as a raincoat if necessary. It’s a pity that the model is available only in one red color, though its trimming is entirely reflective and you’ll notice your pet in the darkest waters. This is a highly durable, quality and multifunctional model, yet priced expensively. Another disadvantage we found out is that in some rare cases, the buckles start to come undone. Pet owners can’t leave their dogs absolutely unattended in the water even with this jacket on.
This life jacket by EzyDog is known to have 50% more buoyancy compared to the vast majority of other models sold on the market. Available in six sizes and three colors, the jacket features adjustable neoprene straps to ensure a secure and ergonomic fit, reflective detailing, a pocket on the back. The grab handle allows to pull out the dog from the water in the event of an emergency.
We simply love this lightweight, quality and well-operating life jacket manufactured by EzyDog. It looks and fits the dog nicely thanks to the neoprene adjustable belly straps, and the reflective detailing will help you find your pet in the dark easily. The price of the jacket is quite high. If you can afford it, the mode won’t let down your pet, if not, there are many other options to consider.
This life jacket by SwimWays is targeted at small and medium size pets. It provides a full body water flotation and is made of heavy-duty fabrics. It features a grab handle and a metal D-ring to connect a dog leash, two straps to secure the vest under the pet’s belly, and one secured under the neck.
Not all life jackets can boast to be cute and original, and this model can. It really looks awesome with its shark fin and makes you forget about more important aspects of this affordable life vest. This SwimWays life jacket is more efficient in pools and calm lakes than big sea or ocean waves. Although its buoyancy is decent, you can’t leave your pet unattended in it in deep waters. The jacket is only targeted at small or medium dogs.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly dog life jacket with no compromise in quality, Vivaglory is a good option to consider. It is made of dense rip-resistant Oxford fabric and features double belly straps with strong buckles. The anatomic neck design supports the head in a natural and comfortable position during swimming. The jacket is available in ten bright colors.
This is a decent medium-priced life jacket for almost all dog breeds. It is lightweight and comfortable but tear- and wear-resistant. We love a rescue handle with a hidden D-ring for a leash attachment. That said, we’d like the handle to be a bit larger, as it can turn small for a large adult hand. Most complaints are about the size: many customers say it runs small.
Choosing a life jacket for your four-legged friend, it’s crucial to pay attention to the size chart offered by manufacturers. It must be neither small nor big. In both cases the life jacket won’t preserve its rescuing properties. Even the best dog life jacket will become useless if sized improperly. It’s important to consider the weight of your dog, cause a jacket designed for lighter dogs won’t provide the same security level of keeping the dog afloat if worn by a heavier dog. You will need to take some measures. Measure the chest of your pet behind the armpit, the dog’s back length and the neck circumference. Here is a size chart you need to be guided by when choosing a dog’s life jacket.
Dogs’ life jackets need proper care. They should be washed after each use. Most life jackets can be safely machine washed, just make sure the jacket is completely dry prior to storing it. This way it won’t have signs of mold and mildew, smell bad once you pull it out of the storage at the beginning of the next summer. If this happened, there are some tips to use. You can “save” your dog’s life jacket by submerging it into the solution of water and salt (1/2 cup of salt in 1 liter of water) a whole day. After you take it out of the solution, scrub the jacket accurately, wash it with a solution of water and dishwasher detergent, rinse with clean water, and dry it. Expose the jacket to much sun. Use it only after it gets completely dry.
Choosing a dog’s life jacket, most probably you have certain questions in mind. Here are the most often asked questions with appropriate answers you might be interested in.
A: A dog life jacket is a flotation device created to keep a dog afloat in the water. It fits around the canine’s torso and keeps it above water thanks to the flotation. Generally, a dog life vest is used in emergency situations, yet can be useful to the novice, old, or weak dog-swimmers who can’t stay afloat without some help.
A: Not all dogs are good swimmers notwithstanding the widespread misinformation: some bulky breeds are heavy and can’t stay afloat long, and others get chilled fast and can get drown. Puppies, old and sick dogs shouldn’t be left in the water unattended, either, so a life jacket can save your pet’s life.
A: A well-fitting life vest should sit close to the base of the dog’s neck with his chin left to float free. The belly bands or straps should be firmly fastened. A secure fit should let you slip two fingers between the dog and the vest.
A: A dog life vest is irreplaceable for boat trips in case your pet falls off of the board, yet they are useful in ensuring any kind of water adventures your pet loves. Whether he is fond of swimming in the local lake or is your beach companion this summer, a life vest should become a mandatory accessory.
A: Exactly like people, dogs do need life jackets when traveling by water transport. Though most dogs can swim, few of them can do it well. If a dog falls out of the boat, a rescue jacket will help him keep afloat much longer. Another reason to use a life jacket is its capability to protect from cold. Finally, life vests of bright (orange, pink, etc.) colors make it easier to find a pup on the water. No matter what type of water adventure you are planning, getting a dog life jacket is always a good idea.
A: Even though some breeds of dogs are known to be good swimmers, using life jackets is crucial for all dogs. Dogs need this equipment not only when swimming in rough currents or deep water, but also when boating. No matter what a good swimmer a dog is, he can quickly become exhausted in strong waves. Not having a life jacket on, a dog might get drown in such situations. Additionally, life jackets designed for dogs feature safety grab handles. And once the dog falls overboard, you can use the handles to pull him out of the water.
If you have undertaken the responsibility of keeping a pet, it’s your moral duty to ensure his safety both on the land and in the water. Having all this in mind, you will need to get a really trustworthy and quality life jacket – the one, that will keep your four-legged friend safe in the water giving you a peace of mind. To help you make your choice wisely, we carried out a survey. We tested the best jackets suggested and found out which is the best dog life jacket 2018!
And our choice is Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Life Jacket, Dog or Cat Life Preserver. It’s available in various sizes. The model is durable, safely secured, feels comfortable and is easily maintainable. The life jacket can’t be considered cheap with its approximately $35 cost, yet it’s not expensive, either. We recommend it to dogs with normal body length. With this life jacket, your beloved dog will learn to love the water, enjoy lots of exercises, and, which is the most significant, be safe in the water!