Best Dog Life Jacket - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: July 2020​

Do you and your dog often go fishing or swimming? Or does your pup just love the water and run to explore it wherever it is? If so, your pooch needs a life jacket developed specifically for dogs.

English bulldogA life jacket helps your best friend stay afloat, keeping its head above water. It’s a useful aid and safety precaution for dogs who aren’t great swimmers, who tire easily while swimming, or who enjoy paddling around as long as possible.

But since all doggie life jackets aren’t made equal – and there are a lot of them out there – you might have a hard time picking the best one for your dog. That’s why we reviewed 10 of the leading designs and put together a list of the best life jackets to protect your pooch.

Of all the life jackets for dogs we tried, we rank the Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket as the best overall. It’s durable, comfortable, and has all the necessary features to keep your dog safe, regardless of swimming ability.

Read on for more about the Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket and nine others that made our list.

Best Dog Life Jacket 2020 - Reviews

1. Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket

When it comes to comfort, safety, durability, and secure fit, the Outward Hound Granby dog life vest scores the most points.

This canine vest’s durability comes from its high-quality neoprene material. The jacket has a lightweight design and adjustable straps for a secure fit across your pup’s belly and chest, to ensure that your dog can wear it for long hours without discomfort.

Your dog will love wearing it because its lightweight and comfortable design won’t chafe or impede movement. After a while, your dog probably won’t even notice it.

For buoyancy, this dog life jacket gets top ratings, thanks to its foam panels and neck float that keep your dog’s body and head above water.

Outward Hound Granby Splash Ripstop Dog Life Jacket, Large, Orange

Pros

  • Comes in sizes for small, medium, and large dogs
  • Excellent buoyancy and highly durable build
  • High rating from most reviewers
  • Includes safety features, like reflective piping, to keep your dog visible, even in low light
  • Adjustable straps for the perfect fit
  • Quick-release buckles for easy wearing and removing
  • Convenient, durable dual handles for controlling your dog or helping it out of the water
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • You need proper measurements to get the right size
  • Large or strong dogs may damage the handle if they pull a lot

2. Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Jackets

The Vivaglory Ripstop is an excellent choice for dog parents who want an excellent doggy life jacket but don’t want to overspend.

In addition to its affordable price, you’ll love that this life jacket is available in seven bright colors and various sizes for all dog breeds. It’s also comfortable to wear, as long as you accurately measure your dog to get the right fit before purchasing it.

When it comes to safety, the Vivaglory Ripstop is no slouch, with extra padding and enhanced buoyancy. The vest also has a durable rescue handle for assisting your dog and reflective piping to keep your pooch visible in all lighting conditions.

Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket, Ripstop & Reflective Dog Life Preserver with Enhanced Buoyancy & Rescue Handle, Bright Yellow, XS

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Made with a durable vinyl material that dries quickly
  • Adjustable Velcro straps and a quick-release buckle system for easy wearing and a secure fit
  • High ratings from buyers
  • Comes with a tough D-ring for attaching a dog leash
  • Durable handle for assisting and controlling your dog, in and out of the water
  • Comes with a 90-day warranty
  • There’s a size for all dog breeds

Cons

  • The adjustable straps tend to loosen and require retightening
  • The Velcro strap can come loose when pulling your dog

3. RUFFWEAR – Float Coat Dog Life Jacket

Your dog can use this jacket for years without you having to worry about needing a replacement.

If not for its super-high price, this might have been our overall best dog life jacket. At the same time, it’s worth the high price when you consider this canine vest’s safety features and quality materials.

The RUFFWEAR Float Coat is ideal for dogs who love to spend lots of time on and in the water. Your dog can wear it for a full day without any discomfort or chafing, and it will keep your dog safe the entire time.

Its design is simple yet effective at ensuring your dog is never at risk of going underwater. You also can get it in various sizes for all dog breeds, and its adjustable straps and buckles ensure a secure fit.

RUFFWEAR, Float Coat Dog Life Jacket for Swimming, Adjustable and Reflective, Sockeye Red, Small

Pros

  • Available in various bright colors, including red, to keep your dog visible at all times
  • Quick-release buckles around the belly for quick wearing and removing
  • A comfortable fit around the belly and chest
  • Made with highly durable abrasion-resistant materials that prevent chafing and keep your dog cool
  • Well-positioned foam panels that won’t impede your dog’s walking, running, or swimming
  • Sturdy top handle for controlling or helping your dog
  • A high rating in buyer reviews

Cons

  • Very pricey
  • No neck support to keep your canine companion’s head above water
  • You need to take proper measurements to get the right size

4. Paws Aboard Pet Life Jacket

The streamlined design and lightweight build of this canine jacket minimize the amount of weight your dog has to handle. This feature makes it the best option for small dogs. And because it’s not bulky, a little dog can stay active in it for hours, without impediments.

That said, the Paws Aboard Pet Life Jacket also is available in sizes for medium to large dogs.

The heavy-duty neoprene material of this doggy life jacket ensures its durability. It also features a breathable mesh underbelly that prevents chafing, keeps your dog cool, and ensures quick water drainage.

This jacket also features a D-ring leash attachment and grab handle to ensure you can keep your dog at your side or assist it.

It’s not the most affordable option on our list, but it’s still far less expensive than the RUFFWEAR Float Coat.

Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket,  Neoprene Dog Life Vest for Swimming and Boating - Red

Pros

  • Reflective trim for optimal visibility in all lighting conditions
  • Its design and material ensures your dog comfort
  • Velcro straps and quick-release buckles for quick and easy wearing
  •  Adjustable nylon straps for a proper fit
  • High rating in buyer reviews
  • Dries quickly once out of the water, which keeps your dog comfy and healthy
  • Optimal buoyancy for small dogs that spend a lot of time in the water

Cons

  • You need proper measurements before you can get the right size
  • May not offer enough buoyancy for large dogs
  • The handle isn’t sturdy enough for heavy dogs
  • The Velcro straps may be unideal for dogs with long fur

5. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Dog Life Vest Jacket (DFD)

If your pet is a particularly lousy swimmer, the EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device may be the best life vest for you. It contains 50 percent more floatation material than most pet vests, which makes it ideal for keeping any sized dog afloat in any water.

In addition to its fabulous floatation features, this life jacket also boasts safety and comfort features to keep your dog cozy and safe on the water. For instance, it comprises high-performance materials that are durable yet deliver optimal comfort.

There are also adjustable neoprene straps for a comfortable fit. But the integrated handle gives you a firm hold on your dog, while its reflective trim keeps your dog visible day or night.

EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation Device (DFD) - Adjustable Dog Life Jacket Preserver with Reflective Trim - Durable Grab Handle for Safety and Protection - 50% More Flotation Material (Small, Red)

Pros

  • Keeps your dog afloat with minimal effort
  • Built with highly durable heavy-duty materials
  • Fully adjustable neck and chest straps for the perfect fit
  • Quick-release buckles for fast wearing and removing
  • D-ring leash attachment and grab handle for keeping your dog at your side
  • Made from a quick-dry, easy-to-clean material
  • Available in five sizes to fit various breeds

Cons

  • The design is a bit bulky
  • It’s a bit pricey

6. ASENKU Dog Life Jacket – Ripstop Pet Floatation Vest

Pet owners love to show off their dogs in this fashion-forward floatation jacket. Its design is one-of-a-kind and definitely will draw the attention of bystanders at the beach or waterpark.

Besides being attractive, the ASENKU Dog Life Jacket is also tough. It’s made from high-grade polyester oxford and nylon. It also features a mesh fabric on the inside that’s quick-dry and keeps your dog cool and comfy.

When it comes to safety, this life jacket has enough buoyancy to keep your small- or medium-sized pet afloat. Its other safety features include reflective strips to keep your dog visible at all times and adjustable straps for a proper fit.

ASENKU Ripstop Dog Life Jacket Pet Life Water Vest with Rescue Handle Life Safety Saver Preserver for Small Medium Large Dogs

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Quick-release buckles for easy wearing and removing
  • Features a heavy-duty D-ring for attaching a dog leash
  • A sturdy top handle for handling your canine companion
  • Waterproof material keeps your dog dry out of the water
  • Can double as a cold-weather dog jacket
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not the most buoyant life jacket on this list
  • Available in sizes for only small and medium-sized dogs

7. Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket

Here’s another top product from Outward Hound, with various floatation and safety features. Judging by its bounteous high ratings, dog owners love this product.

It does a great job providing maximum buoyancy via its side foam panels. It also has a neck-float feature to keep your dog’s head out of the water.

The belly straps offer a comfortable yet secure fit, and the grab handle on the back lets you support or restrain your best friend with ease.

Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket, Medium, Red

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Warming insulation within the jacket to keep your dog warm and prevent hypothermia
  • Available in bright red and has reflective strips to keep your dog visible in all lighting conditions
  • A high rating in buyer reviews
  • Attractive design
  • Available in various sizes for all dog breeds

Cons

  • No provisions for leash attachment
  • You need to take proper measurements before you can get the right size

8. HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket Vest

The brand might not be popular, but its product features are amazing enough to go toe-to-toe with pet life jackets from leading brands.

It comprises high-grade ripstop polyester oxford nylon fabric, a highly durable material that can last for years. But it’s also lightweight enough to keep your dog comfy. On the inside, you’ll find a Pearl Cotton Foam mesh fabric to prevent chafing and ensure quick drying.

When it comes to buoyancy, this jacket features foam panels at the sides and around the neck to keep your dog’s head and chest above water. Its buoyancy features make this vest ideal for use, even in choppy water.

HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket Vest Saver Safety Swimsuit Preserver with Reflective Stripes/Adjustable Belt Dogs?Pink Bone,S

Pros

  • Available in various sizes for small to extra-large dogs
  • Comes in 10 different colors and designs to suit your dog’s unique style
  • Reflective strips for optimal visibility in low lighting
  • High rating from buyers
  • Top grab handle for easy dog control
  • Heavy-duty D-ring for a dog leash
  • Adjustable straps for a secure fit
  • Quick-release buckles for quick wearing and removing
  • Very attractive price

Cons

  • Its grab handles aren’t very durable
  • Getting the right size for your dog can be tricky

9. Premium Neoprene Dog Life Jackets

Here’s another exciting product from Vivaglory. It’s a premium product at an affordable price that can keep your dog safe in the water.

It is made from premium neoprene and has multiple flotation layers for advanced buoyancy. Regardless of whether your dog is a strong or clumsy swimmer, this vest lets it safely have fun in the water without impeding movements.

Besides its buoyancy features, this dog vest is lovely. Its unique design isn’t bulky, and it features adjustable straps for a perfect fit.

Your dog can comfortably wear it in or out of the water without issue, and its thick material can keep your pet warm when the temperature drops.

Vivaglory Dog Life Vest, Skin-Friendly Neoprene Dog Safety Vest with Superior Buoyancy and Rescue Handle, Adjustable & Reflective, Blue, Medium

Pros

  • Available in five sizes, for small to extra-large dogs
  • Offers superior buoyancy without restricting your dog’s movement
  • Can be used for years without losing its comfort or buoyancy
  • Attractive design
  • Reasonable price
  • Available in five bright and attractive colors to keep your dog stylish and visible at all times
  • Sturdy, comfortable grab handles on the back
  • Quick-release buckles for easy wearing and removing
  • Comes with a 90-day warranty

Cons

  • The jacket offers minimal neck support
  • Getting the perfect size for your dog requires accurate measurements

10. Kurgo Dog Water Life Jacket

Unlike the other life jacket for dogs in this review, the Kurgo Dog Water Life Jacket is an inflatable vest.

To use it as a life jacket, you have to pump its flotation layer and insert it. The air-filled floatation layer will give your dog the support it needs in the water.

But what makes this vest a great-value product is its multipurpose attribute. When you take out the floatation layer, you can use this waterproof Kurgo life jacket as a raincoat or winter jacket. That’s three dog jackets for the price of one!

This jacket features two grab handles on the back, for maximum control of your dog and to help it out of the water. The jacket also features two metal D-rings for attaching a leash and a built-in bottle opener. Clearly, this jacket is made for the convenience of both dogs and their owners.

Kurgo Surf N’ Turf Dog Life Jacket | Lifejacket for Dogs | Dog Water Life Vest | Kayak Life Jacket for Pets | Dog Rain Jacket | for Pool Or Lake | Reflective | Machine Washable | Chili Red | 5 Sizes

Pros

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Reflective piping for optimal visibility in all lighting conditions
  • Can serve as a life jacket, raincoat, and cold-weather jacket
  • Available in small to extra-large sizes for most dog breeds
  • Reasonable price for a multipurpose dog jacket
  • Convenient handles for assisting your dog, in and out of the water
  • High rating from several buyers
  • Adjustable straps for the perfect fit
  • Quick-release buckle for easy wearing and removing

Cons

  • Comes in only one color
  • Getting the ideal size for your dog requires taking accurate measurements

How to choose the best Life Jacket for Dogs.

There are loads of doggy life vests from various brands out on the market, and it can be challenging to determine which is the best for your dog.

The best doggy life jacket for your canine companion isn’t one that simply keeps him afloat. The jacket also must have features to keep your dog safe and comfortable. Just as important, the vest must be worth its price – oh, and your dog must look good in it!

Best Dog Life Jacket 1

What Features to Look for in a Dog Life Jacket

Rescue Handles

A dog life jacket without a grab or rescue handle makes it difficult to help your dog out of the water. It’s an especially useful feature for times when you are on a boat or need to get your dog out quickly.

Rescue handles are also useful on land for keeping your dog under control. Some life vests – including our top pick, the Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket – come with two handles for optimal control.

Buoyancy

A dog life jacket with inadequate or zero buoyancy is not just a bad product but a danger to you and your dog.

The best dog life jackets have buoyancy features that keep all essential parts of your dog’s body above water. Doggy life vests with neck support are highly recommended because they keep your dog’s head above water, even after your pooch is too tired to do so itself.

High Visibility Color

When you’re outdoors with your dog, you must be able to keep an eye on him at all times. Doing so is especially important when you are in rough weather or low light. The best dog life jacket will be in a bright reflective color that keeps your dog visible even when he’s not by your side.

The jacket may also have reflective trimming that catches and reflects even the smallest amount of light to keep your dog visible.

Getting a dog vest with a high visibility color also is useful for keeping your dog out of hunters’ sights. For instance, if you’re out in a hunting area, your dog’s reflective vest will let hunters quickly identify that he’s not prey.

Size

If a dog life jacket is too loose on your dog, it might slip off accidentally in the water. If it’s too tight, it’ll chafe and impede your pet’s movements.

The better a dog life vest fits, the more amenable your dog will be to wearing it. It’s also essential that you get a vest with adjustable straps, thus allowing you to give your dog the most comfortable fit.

Ripstop vs. Neoprene Material

Ripstop nylon and neoprene are the most commonly used materials in dog life vests. Both do a good job, but they also have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

For example, Ripstop nylon is cheaper yet very durable. It’s not the most comfortable, but the best dog life vests that use them have a breathable mesh on the inside for comfort and anti-chafing.

Neoprene life jackets, on the other hand, are more comfortable and sleeker. They also are lighter-weight. On the downside, they aren’t as durable as ripstop and typically cost more.

Novice vs. Experienced Swimmers

Your dog’s swimming proficiency plays a significant role in determining the best life jacket. For instance, an experienced dog requires minimum buoyancy. On the other hand, a novice swimmer will need all the help possible in the form of optimal buoyancy.

In time, and with practice, a novice swimmer will require less assistance and advance to a life jacket with less buoyancy.

Warranty

Many of the best dog life jackets come with a lifetime warranty – or at least a 90-day one. A warranty is a solid indication that the producer is confident in the quality of its product. For buyers, it’s useful for getting a free replacement if the life jacket develops a fault during the warranty period.

FAQs

Can all dogs swim?

Like humans, not all dogs can swim, and some swim better than others. If your dog doesn’t know how to swim or is not good at it, a life jacket offers the opportunity for safe practice to become a stronger swimmer.

How do you measure a dog for a life jacket?

If you don’t measure your dog correctly, you’ll have a hard time getting a life jacket that’s the right fit, especially if you are shopping online.

A life jacket that’s a perfect fit is one in which your dog can swim and move around without impediments – including the full range of let motions and no stifling or chafing around the neck, belly, or chest.

To measure your dog correctly for a life jacket, follow these steps:

  • Measure the length of your dog – the distance from the base of the tail to the base of the neck.
  • Measure the girth of your dog, which is the widest part of your dog’s ribcage. This is important because, like a human, the jacket must fit closely over the chest for proper flotation to occur.
  • Quantify the width of your dog’s neck – measuring the broadest part of its neck. The jacket must not be too tight over this part, or it will restrict your dog’s breathing.

Should my dog wear a life jacket?

Any time you are taking your dog along on an adventure in or near water, your dog should wear a life jacket, just like a human. This is crucial, even if your dog is an excellent swimmer. In the unlikely – but devastating – event of an accident, the life jacket will keep your dog afloat even when it’s too tired to swim.

The right jacket can also keep your dog insulated and minimize the risk of developing a cold-related illness.

How do dog life jackets fit?

Dog life jackets come in various sizes to fit small- to large-sized dogs. The fit must be snug enough for the jacket not to slip off but roomy enough for your dog to have a full range of motion. It is why you must get a jacket with adjustable straps that you can modify to suit your dog’s needs.

Are old life jackets safe?

With years of use, a life jacket will lose its buoyancy. What’s more, its buckles, Velcro strap, or other locking mechanisms will begin to wear, making the life jacket unreliable at ensuring the safety of your dog in the water.

If you notice that certain features on a dog life jacket are no longer functioning correctly, it’s time to invest in a new one.

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