dog life jacket

The Best 6 Dog Life Jackets: Benefits, Reviews, and Safety Tips

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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What is the Best Dog Life Jacket?

Below is our best dog life jacket summary with top picks and reviews.

Are Dog Life Jackets Safe?

Yes,  the dog life jacket is safe. In fact, the life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is highly recommended when swimming or having activities around water.

Experts from the Center for Pet Safety recommend using life jackets to keep your dog safe in small and large water bodies. Life jackets keep your dog safe and warm and maintain their buoyancy in water.

Can a Dog Drown with a Life Jacket?

No, if used properly a dog cannot drown with a life jacket. Dog owners should use a high-quality jacket and make sure there is a proper fit of the jacket.

Life jackets come in various sizes, and it is extremely important to choose the size that perfectly fits your dog’s body size without gaps. It is also important to fasten the belly straps properly. This will guarantee total safety and wave off any chances of drowning.

Do Dogs Really Need Life Jackets?

Yes, your dog really needs a life jacket if they are going swimming.

Like humans, dogs may panic if faced with rough currents or uncomfortable water temperatures. This state of panic can render them incapable of swimming at their normal pace and put them at risk of drowning.

Also, certain dog breeds are poor swimmers. The group of dogs that cannot swim includes Corgis, Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, etc.

However, unlike humans, dogs do not know when and how to put on a life jacket or use a rope or life belt thrown at them, and this is exactly why pet parents need to take extra precautions before exposing their dogs to the water. A life jacket is the best precaution against water accidents.

The Best Dog Life Jackets Reviewed

To take the burden off your shoulders, we have done your research for you and listed the best life jackets for dogs on the market here-

RUFFWEAR Float Coat Dog Life Jacket

RUFFWEAR Float Coat Dog Life Jacket

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Summary: This life jacket has a heavy-duty build and a strategic design that allows dogs to move without any hindrance. It comes with a safety handle at the top and an adjustable neck strap. The jacket has water-compatible webbing that keeps it from getting wet or losing its shape under the water and reflective accents to improve visibility under low-light conditions. It fits both small dogs and large dogs and can be used while boating, kayaking, surfing, boarding, and more.

Sizes: Double extra-small (XXS) to extra-large (XL)

Color Options: Yes, 3

Handle: Yes

Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Adjustable neck and belly straps
  • Soft and comfortable PVC-free foam panels
  • With safety handle and reflective accents
  • Machine-washable for easy maintenance
  • Designed with dog safety in mind

Cons

  • So far, there are no reported issues

Review: This dog life jacket has a high average rating of 4.8 / 5 based on 729 customer reviews. Pet owners vouch for its durability, sturdiness, and comfort, making this the most trusted life jacket for dogs.

Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket

Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket

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Summary: A dog life jacket with a smart design fit for both novice learners and expert swimmers. It comes with an adjustable front neck float that keeps your dog’s head above water. The jacket is built with ripstop material that maintains buoyancy when in water. Plus, it features added accents and adjustable chest straps for an extra safety quotient. This life jacket comes in a variety of sizes and fits based on your dog’s girth measurement.

Sizes: X-small (XS) to x-large (XL)

Color Options: Yes, 7

Handle: Yes

Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Ripstop dog life jacket
  • Features adjustable straps
  • Front neck float for dog safety
  • Swimmer-friendly for novice and experts
  • Multi-handle design

Cons

  • Advised to keep out of the reach of unsupervised pets

Review: Based on 28,714 global ratings, this life jacket has an average rating of 4.6 / 5 on Amazon. Customers love its comfortable fit, lightweight, and easy-to-hold top handles.

Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Dog Life Jacket

Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Dog Life Jacket

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Summary: A life jacket that also functions as a raincoat when required, this product is built with water-resistant rugged ripstop material and has a strong build to endure rough use. It comes in two different bright colors that increase visibility in the dark and is added with two metal D- rings for leash connections. It can be used in pools or lakes. It is machine washable and easy to maintain.

Sizes: Extra-small (XS) to extra-large (XL)

Color Options: Yes, 2

Handle: Yes

Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Adjustable and water-resistant
  • 2-in-1 use (life jacket and raincoat)
  • Machine washable
  • Reflective strips for visibility
  • With two control handles

Cons

  • Lacks belly support material

Review: Based on 587 global ratings, this product has an average rating of 4.6 / 5. According to customers, durability, sturdiness, and ease of hold are the best aspects of this product.

Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Vest

Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Vest

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Summary: This life jacket is built with extra padding to help your dog move around at ease and maintain buoyancy when in water. Comes with adjustable straps, quick-release buckles, and an easy-to-grab handle for emergencies. Extra fastening features and the belly and neck areas keep your dog afloat at ease. It comes in bright color options for enhanced visibility through long distances and D rings for leash attachments.

Sizes: Double extra-small (XXS) to extra-large (XL)

Color Options: Yes, 13

Handle: Yes

Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Extra padding and grab handles
  • With bright colors and reflective strips
  • Quick-release buckles for the perfect fit
  • Proper belly and neck support
  • Available at an affordable price

Cons

  • Often out of stock due to high demand

Review: Based on 10,034 global ratings, this life jacket has an average rating of 4.7 /5. Customers highly recommend this product for its quality, fit, and comfort.

EMUST Dog Life Jacket with Rescue Handle

EMUST Dog Life Jacket with Rescue Handle

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Summary: A stylish life jacket for dogs that do not want to compromise on style when in water. Built with high-quality polyester oxford and nylon mesh and fabric, this product is water-resistant, dries off quickly, and provides optimum buoyancy. This jacket has a rescue handle on top for quick and easy grabbing. The shark fin design is not only fashionable but allows free movement. It can be used around the pool, beach, and boating activities.

Sizes: Extra-small (XS) to extra-large (XL)

Color Options: Yes, 13

Handle: Yes

Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Stylish design and high-quality materials
  • Lightweight and quick-drying
  • Reliable, heavy-duty rescue handle
  • Stylish and eye-catching look
  • Adjustable straps for added dog safety

Cons

  • Not lightweight

Review: Based on 1,404 customer feedback, this product has an average rating of 4.6 / 5. Customers appreciate its comfort quotient, fit, and design.

EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation Device

EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation Device

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Summary: A tested and tried high-performing life jacket suitable for sporty dogs who love to play in and around water. Built with 50% extra floatation material, this dog life jacket ensures complete freedom of movement while fitting comfortably. This jacket comes with a top handle and reflective detailing for maximum security. It is labeled as one of the best high-performance flotation devices for sporty dogs.

Sizes: Extra-small (XS) to extra-large (XL)

Color Options: Yes, 2

Handle: Yes

Adjustable: Yes

Pros

  • Adjustable neoprene straps
  • With extra floatation material
  • Convenient and reliable grab handle
  • High-strength D-buckle
  • Highly reflective integrated trim

Cons

  • Available in only two color options

Review: Based on 1,045 dog owner feedback, this product is one of the most highly recommended floatation devices with an average rating of 4.6 / 5, due to its durability and high buoyancy features.

How do I Choose a Life Jacket for My Dog?

Safety is the main consideration when choosing a dog life jacket. Here is a closer look at the factors you should consider when searching for your dog’s life jacket:

  • Safety Features. In terms of safety, the life jacket should be of premium quality and feature a grab handle for quick pick-ups, adjustable buckles for perfect fitting, and a heavy-duty D-ring for secure leash attachment. Reflective strips are a bonus.
  • Materials. Ideally, the dog life jacket should be made with water-resistant, heavy-duty, and lightweight materials. The material should be strong enough to keep the dog safe yet light enough not to construct its movements.
  • Brand. Finally, pay attention to the brand you are looking into. The right life jacket brand will be open about its products and feature reviews from previous customers. A reliable company confident in the quality of its products will offer a money-back guarantee and long warranty.
RUFFWEAR Float Coat Dog Life Jacket
  • Our new PVC-free GAIA foam panels are soft, comfortable, and designed to wrap around and move with your dog.
  • Our water-compatible webbing remains stable when wet, meaning it won’t stretch or loosen in the water.
  • The telescoping neck closure adjusts to fit a range of dog sizes.

How do I Measure My Dog for a Life Jacket?

Follow these steps to measure your dog and ensure the perfect life jacket fit:

  • Weigh your dog on a weighing scale
  • Measure your dog’s chest and neck sizes using a measuring tape or a string
  • Measure your dog’s length from their neck to their tail

This will give you all the necessary data to make an informed choice. Use your dog’s measurements and compare them to the ones provided in the life jacket’s size chart.

How Do You Put a Life Jacket on a Dog?

Follow these steps to put on a life jacket for your dog:

  1. Unbuckle all the straps of the life jacket
  2. Make sure your dog is standing, and place the life jacket over their back
  3. Center the life jacket’s position on your dog’s back
  4. Buckle the belly straps and all other straps and fastenings (not too tight or loose)
  5. Ensure there are 1-3 inches of space between the end of the life jacket and your dog’s tail
  6. Make your dog run around with the life jacket on to ensure it can move comfortably.

How Tight Should a Dog Life Jacket be?

Dog owners must not put the life jacket on the dog too tight or too loose. In case the life jacket is too tight, your dog will be unable to swim properly in the water or move its legs as required – this can put them at risk of drowning.

If the life jacket is loose on your dog’s body, it will not work. That is, your dog will not get adequate support. It is risky to let water deposit in the gap between the dog’s body and the life jacket.

Hence, always do some trials on your dog and check the fit of the life jacket. To ensure safe dog swimming time, the jacket fit must be right (similar to a dog harness).