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Your pet will require a life vest regardless of the water activity you intend to engage in. That’s because some dogs can’t swim, and they might accidentally tumble overboard if they were on a boat! Even a skilled swimmer like your dog will tire out attempting to paddle back to you against the swiftly moving water.

These eight best dog life jackets can help your pup stay afloat and keep their head above the water.

1. Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket

A well-liked option is the Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket, constructed of sturdy ripstop polyester. It has thick foam side panels to provide excellent buoyancy and a neck float to keep your dog’s head above the water. This will help keep your dog safe. The jacket also has a neoprene belly band for optimal comfort and adjustable chest and belly straps to achieve a snug fit.

This life jacket also has dual grab handles, making it easier for you to pull your dog out of the water. The reflective piping will help keep your furry friend visible at all times.

PROS

  • Its design won’t restrict your dog’s movement
  • It has dual grab handles for easy rescue
  • It comes with a floating neck panel
  • Also suitable for dogs with long torsos

CONS

  • Some dog owners stated that the sizing runs small
  • No leash clip

2. Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

The Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is a fantastic choice if you’re searching for a dog life jacket. This coat is fashionable and made of durable materials. Its unique neck design keeps your dog in a natural swimming position so that it won’t restrict your dog’s movements.

This life jacket for dogs has a rescue handle and a heavy-duty fastening system around the belly and neck to keep your pet safe. It also has reflective trims to provide visibility in and out of the water.

PROS

  • It features additional flotation material to aid in keeping your dog aloft.
  • A smart neck design keeps your puppy in a natural swimming position
  • Comfortable for most dogs to put on

CONS

  • A bit bulky for small dogs

3. Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

Because it is sturdy and composed of ripstop fabric, the Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Jacket offers good value for your money. It also has extra padding to provide strong buoyancy. The smallest size costs less than $15, and the largest costs less than $30.

This dog safety harness is perfect for keeping your furry friend safe. It comes with a grab handle in an emergency and adjustable straps that fit securely around your dog’s neck, chest, and belly. Plus, there’s a built-in D-ring to attach the leash easily.

The reflective stripes on this canine flotation device make your dog visible in and out of the water and come in various colors.

PROS

  • additional cushioning for buoyancy
  • Simple to put on and remove
  • pretty rapidly dries

CONS

  • Some owners have complained that the grab handle’s stitching isn’t very strong.

4. Ruffwear Float Coat Dog Life Jacket

Do you have a dog who loves swimming, rafting, boating, surfing, and kayaking? If so, you’ll need the Ruffwear Float Coat Dog Life Jacket to keep your furry friend comfortable for long hours and ensure it can handle rough use.

This life jacket is made of high-quality water-resistant webbing. It is designed to keep your dog stable in a wet environment. The closed-cell foam panels let your dog swim naturally and keep them in an upright position. Plus, the strong, low-profile handle on the back allows you to pull your dog out of the water.

This life vest is designed to fit dogs of all shapes. You can easily adjust it to fit them by using the telescoping neck closure. It also has reflective trims and an integrated light loop so you can attach a beacon light for enhanced visibility.

PROS

  • Best for avid swimmers
  • By far the highest-rated canine life vest
  • Top-notch quality
  • Has additional flotation underneath
  • Enables your dog to swim naturally
  • It has a unique telescoping neck design

CONS

  • It comes at a higher price point

5. Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket

If you have a large dog, the Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket can fit them. The largest size fits dogs that weigh 85-100 pounds and have a girth size between 33-44 inches. The jacket comprises high-quality, extra-thick neoprene side panels to increase buoyancy and provide thermal insulation. This will keep your dog comfortable swimming in cold weather conditions. Plus, a front float chin panel keeps your dog’s head above the surface.

The jacket also has reflective accents for better visibility and dual rescue handles for easy retrieval of your dog in emergencies.

PROS

  • It has an in-built insulation system for chilly days on the water
  • It comes with front float support to keep your dog’s head above the water
  • It has dual grab handles for easy rescue

CONS

  • No leash clip

6. Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket

You’re looking for a little dog life jacket. Look into the XS and XXS-sized Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket, which can accommodate toy breeds with neck sizes of 10 to 18 inches, such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies.

Don’t forget to consider the size and materials when selecting a life jacket for your tiny dog. It shouldn’t be too heavy for your adorable little companion!

This floatation vest is very lightweight and made of quick-dry and breathable materials. It is also flexible and has an advanced breathable mesh underbelly to prevent heat exhaustion. The straps are adjustable, and the velcro closures are ventilated to help achieve a snug fit.

The top rescue handle on these life jackets makes it easy for you to pull your dog out of the water if needed. The bright color and reflective strips on both sides also make it easy for you to find them if they get lost or fall into the water.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Great for small dogs
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Reasonable price

CONS

  • Not durable enough for large dogs

7. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device (DFD)

Does your dog require a life jacket? If so, check out the EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device (DFD). It has up to 50% more flotation material than other life jackets, which helps keep your furry friend afloat and in the water for a little longer. Plus, it features high-quality Cordura fabric and advanced manufacturing techniques to provide a comfortable and secure fit.

The handle is designed to make it easier for you to pull your dog out of the water in an emergency.

PROS

  • Has up to 50% more buoyant material
  • High-quality
  • Ergonomic grab handle
  • Durable yet flexible
  • A popular option for pit bull owners

CONS

  • It costs a little more money.
  • Due to its weight, it is not the ideal choice for little dogs.

8. Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Life Jacket

A canine flotation gear known as the Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Life Jacket doubles as a raincoat and a life jacket. It can be made into a raincoat by removing the floating layer. It has fluorescent trim, two metal D-rings for attaching a leash, and two transverse handles for quick and simple rescue. Additionally, a hassle-free lifetime warranty is included!

PROS

  • It can function as a life vest, three-season coat, and raincoat
  • Durable
  • It comes with two transverse handles for easy control
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty

CONS

  • A bit pricey
  • It may only be suitable for use in shallow waters

Why Do You Need a Life Jacket for Your Dog?

Dogs are incapable of swimming by nature. They must study and exercise. Therefore, getting a life jacket for them becomes sensitive before they set sail. If your dog can’t swim, you need a life jacket for them when you’re on a boat. Accidents can happen on boats, and your dog could fall overboard or get excited and jump into the water. Without a life jacket, it will be harder to return to safety.

Swimming in a river, lake, or ocean may be riskier than in a pool. Because they must work harder against strong currents to get where they are, your dogs may become very weary. When dogs get fatigued, a canine life jacket can help them maintain buoyancy and keep their heads above water, ultimately saving them from drowning.

How Do I Pick the Best Dog Life Jacket?

Buoyancy

Buoyancy is an essential feature to consider when choosing a dog life jacket. You should look for a jacket with more flotation material, like the EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device (DFD), to keep your pooch afloat. This is crucial if your dog is large and heavy.

Rescue Handle

A top rescue handle is an important feature to look for when buying a life jacket for your furry friend. This allows you to pull your dog out of the water if something happens and they end up in the water. Some life jackets come with only one handle, while others have two. If you want an easier time retrieving your dog, you may consider a life jacket with two handles, like the Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Life Jacket or the Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket.

Size and Fit

Your dog might be unable to stay safe in a life jacket that is too tiny. Additionally, it could irritate their skin by rubbing against it. So be sure to measure your dog correctly and choose the appropriate size. You would also require a life jacket with adjustable straps to ensure a tight fit.

High Visibility

To help you notice your dog in the water, it is best to purchase a life jacket that is brightly colored. A life jacket with fluorescent trim will also make it easier to spot your dog at night.

Tips for Using Dog Life Jackets Safely

Teach your dog to appreciate the life jacket

You must first teach your dog to adore the vest. Before engaging in any water activities, you should get them used to wear it. Although you can make them put on the life jacket, training them with positive reinforcement, which includes rewarding and praising them, is preferable. They won’t feel as uncomfortable inside the floating gadget and will instead enjoy their time on the water rather than attempting to escape from it.

Secure Properly

If you don’t fasten all the straps on your dog’s life jacket, it’s not a good idea to let them jump into the water. The water can move the jacket away from where it should be, making it hard for your dog to swim. Your dog may drown as a result of this.

Practice in a Pool

It is a better idea to let your dog wear a floating device and practice swimming in a pool first. This is crucial if your dog isn’t a strong swimmer. Swimming in open water can be dangerous for dogs if they don’t have enough strength to handle the waves and conditions.

Match the Activity

Not all life jackets are created equal. Some have more flotation material to protect dogs in deep water, while others have less buoyant material but are more adorable and designed for use in shallow waters only. So, choose the appropriate safety dog life vests for the water activity your four-legged friend will participate in.

Don’t Let Your Dog Swim Unsupervised

Even though life jackets can save your dog’s life, you should never let them swim without supervision. This is especially important for swimming in the ocean, rivers, and lakes because you can’t predict what will happen.

Reasons Why Your Dog Needs a Dog Life Jacket

If you’re going on an adventure, your best friend wants to come along. Just like you need a seat belt in the car when you have a dog, dogs need life jackets for swimming. That way, both of you can have a worry-free good time.

Dogs that like to swim will often show off in the water. It’s an excellent opportunity for you and your dog to spend time outside together and have fun.

If you’re a dog owner, you can make swimming safe every time by packing a life jacket for your dog. Read on for five reasons why your dog needs a life jacket.

1. Some dogs just aren’t built to swim

All dogs can swim. WRONG. Not all dogs are good swimmers. Some dogs have trouble staying afloat. It is because the dog’s body might not be very buoyant. Swimming ability also depends on a dog’s health problems.

Breeds like Greyhounds have low body fat, so they are not likely to float. Other species like Bulldogs and Pugs have large chests that make them top-heavy in the water. Additionally, extra small dog breeds like Yorkshire Terriers or Shih Tzus often start as strong swimmers but get tired quickly.

2. Even the best dog swimmers get tired

Some breeds of dogs are better suited for swimming in the water. Examples of canines with webbed feet include the Labrador Retriever, developed to be an excellent swimmer, and the Portuguese Water Dog.

However, most dogs get tired quickly and can run into trouble if they don’t have a supportive life jacket on while swimming.

If your dog is a good swimmer, the Standley Sport Experienced Swimmer Dog Life Jacket will help them stay afloat. The open design with adjustable straps will help them move around quickly, and the top floatation-assisted performance will keep them safe in the water. The jacket also has a heavy-duty D-ring for clipping on a leash attachment and an adjustable chest strap to ensure it fits well.

3. Accidents happen

No matter what, accidents and emergencies can happen. They’re especially dangerous if there’s deep water involved. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a life jacket for your dog, like the Outward Hound Granby dog life jacket. This life jacket has neck closure fastenings to keep your pup safe on land or a boat.

4. There may be unseen hazards in the water

Although it seems safe for your dog to swim, there are some hidden dangers in the water. Swimming pools are usually safe, but lakes may have things like branches and leaves underwater that can get your dog stuck. Plus, swimming against the current can quickly make your dog tired. If your dog is swimming in the ocean, the strong wind could push him out to sea. In any of these situations, a life jacket can help keep your dog’s head above water and potentially save his life.

5. Life jackets keep your dog warm

Dogs with thick coats can still suffer from hypothermia in cold water. According to veterinarians Malcolm Weir and Lynn Buzhardt, a dog’s average body temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Suppose their body temperature falls below 99 degrees Fahrenheit. In that case, they will not be able to function correctly, and hypothermia will set in.

6. Spot your dog in the water more easily

Some dogs always want to stay by your side, but others like to explore independently. If your dog likes to explore, be careful when you’re in the water. It can be easy to lose sight of them, but not if they wear a life jacket with reflective strips!

The best dog life jackets are brightly colored so you can find your dog quickly if an accident occurs. If your dog falls into the water or gets swept away by the current, it will be easier to find him if he wears a float coat with reflective trim.

7. Life jackets have convenient handles

Doggie life vests come with a grab handle on top. This handle makes it easier to help your dog if he swims into trouble. If your dog falls overboard while you are on a boat, use the handle to pull him close until you can lift him out of the water.

8. Swimming Lessons Are More Accessible With a Dog Life Vest

A life jacket can help dogs feel more confident when swimming and have more fun. Dog life jackets, like the Granby, are great for keeping dogs afloat and helping them use all four legs when swimming. When dogs only use their front legs to swim, they often get tired quickly. Life jackets help keep dogs buoyant and encourage them to use all four legs.

  1. Peace of mind

A day out on the water should be fun for the whole family. But it can be difficult to relax if you are worried about your dog’s safety. One way to ease your mind is by having a life jacket on your dog. It will help keep him afloat, even if he gets into trouble while swimming. Get a vest with top handles for your dog’s safety. It could save his life if something happens in the water.

10. Dogs Look Adorable in Life Jackets

Fashion meets function. There’s no denying that ripstop dog life jackets are both fashionable and functional. They are designed to keep your pup safe in the water and look cute. Ripstop fabric, high-visibility colors, reflective accents, adjustable quick-release buckles, and dual grab handles make these jackets perfect for any pup!

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Dog Life Jacket

Should dogs wear life jackets?

Dog life jackets are suitable for boating and other water activities. They cover more of your dog and provide both buoyancy and visibility. If your dog swims primarily in a pool, on the other hand, you might be OK with a life vest.

Can you drown with a life jacket?

The main reasons why people wearing life jackets drown is because they get trapped, they become unconscious and can’t keep their head up, or they drown from repeatedly getting their head underwater.

How do you size a life jacket?

Life jackets come in many different sizes. You need to find the size that fits you best. To do this, measure your chest around the thickest part and find a life jacket that matches those specifications.

Do golden retrievers need life jackets?

A dog life vest is essential for your golden retriever, even if they know how to swim. This is because you don’t know what the water conditions will be like and how long they will be in the water before you can get to them.

Do dogs like life vests?

A life vest is an excellent option if a dog spends time near water. This is crucial if the dog isn’t a strong swimmer when the boat docks close to deep water or with currents. It is best to be safe because you can never predict when your animal buddy will require something.

What Size Life Vest Does My Dog Need?

You will need to measure your dog’s chest and neck sizes to find out the size of the life vest you will need. You should also measure the circumference of your dog’s neck, so you know how large the opening on the life vest should be.

Does My German Shepherd Need a Life Jacket?

Some German Shepherds love swimming, but others are not as comfortable around water. Even a confident swimmer should wear a life jacket in larger bodies of water.

How Long Are Life Jackets Good for?

A personal floatation device and lifejacket never expire, but it becomes void if it is repaired or altered. It means the device can no longer be used and must be replaced and recycled.

Do Labrador Retrievers Need Life Jackets?

Swimming is an excellent way for large dogs to get exercise. The water takes the pressure off their legs and hip joints when they swim. It is a common problem area for breeds like Labradors. However, big dogs need oversized jackets to stay warm in the water. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from.

How Do I Choose a Life Vest for My Dog?

When purchasing a dog life vest, ensure you get one that is the right size for your dog. The vest should fit comfortably and not be too tight or too loose. The dog should also be able to sit and lie down comfortably in the vest and should be able to relieve himself without difficulty. To find the right size, measure your dog’s girth and torso (from the base of its neck to just in front of its hind legs).

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