The dog days of summer signify sultry, lazy days spent at the beach or the park. Not only do humans enjoy these days, pups do too! If you’re spending time at the beach or on the lake, make sure that you protect your dog with a life jacket!
Safety should always come first when you are with your dog outdoors. If you’re on the water, having a life jacket can mean the difference between rescuing your dog from a scary situation or losing him.
Life jackets for dogs are sturdy, valuable additions to your pet accessories. In this article, we share some of our favorites along with recommendations for the best ones on the market today.
Top 8 Best Dog Life Jackets 2020
Outward Hound Granby Splash
Not Restrict Dog’s Movements
Good for the Brain & Body
AOFITEE Pet Safety Vest
Effective Yet Fashionable
RUFFWEAR – Float Coat
Paws Aboard Vest
HOLDOOR Sport Jacket
Best for Small Dogs
Ultrafun 2 in 1 Vest
1. Best Overall – Outward Hound Granby Splash
Outward Hound’s Granby Splash dog life jacket is easily one of the best ones on the market today. The combination of safety features and sizes makes this a valuable addition to your pet’s accessories.
Safety should always be a priority when considering a life jacket. The striking orange color and reflective piping increase your dog’s visibility whether they’re splashing about in a pool or hanging out on your pontoon. Keep sight of your dog at all times!
Whether you have a pug, a poodle, or a Pyrenean mastiff, Outward Hound has you covered! This dog jacket boasts sizes from extra small to extra large for a secure fit on your pup.
Dual handles allow you to restrain your dog or pull them out of dangerous situations. The handles are thick and sturdy to withstand a large amount of weight. Please note the handles are only available on the medium, large, and extra large sizes.
- Safety is a priority with striking orange coloring and reflective piping
- Dual handles enable easy rescue or restraint
- Numerous sizes to suit any dog
- Sizing chart appears to be small for some dogs
2. Not Restrict Dog’s Movements – Premium Neoprene Jackets
Vivaglory offers another great dog jacket that doesn’t restrict your dog’s movements. Perfect for the active pup, this jacket keeps them afloat while still allowing them to doggy paddle.
This jacket will last a long time due to its sturdy and durable construction. The premium neoprene material keeps your dog comfortable. It’s also less bulky than other jackets.
Vivaglory makes this jacket in four bright colors for maximum reflectivity. Choose from blue, yellow, pink, or orange to match your style while also keeping your dog highly visible!
This jacket comes with additional built-in flotation layers to keep your dog afloat. This extra buoyancy keeps your dog in sight while still maintaining your dog’s freedom of movement.
- Comes in four highly reflective colors
- Extra flotation layers for superior buoyancy
- Premium neoprene keeps your dog comfortable
- Keeps your dog’s freedom of movement
- Chin strap doesn’t always stay in place
3. Effective Yet Fashionable – AOFITEE Dog Life Jacket Pet Safety Vest
Check out AOFITEE’s dog life jacket if you’re searching for something a little different while still maintaining all of the safety benefits!
Want your dog to look like a shark or a mermaid? AOFITEE has you covered! This jacket comes in two fantastic styles: Grey Shark and Pink Mermaid.
The handle on top of the life jacket helps you restrain or rescue your dog in any situation if they’re feeling nervous, anxious, or if they’re just tired of swimming in the water. It also features a D-ring if you choose to use this as a harness when your dog is not in the water.
Five sizes fits (almost) all! With sizes ranging from extra small to extra large, this life jacket will surely fit your dog. It’s important to get the most accurate measurement prior to buying, however.
- Two different styles for the fashion-conscious dog owner
- Features a D-ring so the jacket doubles as a harness
- Five sizes to choose from
- Not as durable as others
- Shark fin doesn’t always stay up
4. Most Durable – RUFFWEAR – Float Coat Dog Life Jacket
The Ruffwear Float Coat Dog Life Jacket is one of the most durable life jackets on the market. Constructed with durable webbing and strategically placed closed-foam panels, this jacket helps your dog stay above the water’s surface while also keeping him free to move.
This dog life jacket comes in six sizes for any dog breed. You’re sure to find the appropriate size for your pup!
Something that really sets this jacket apart are the Float Coat supports. If your dog flips over in the water, these will right him so your dog can keep on swimming safely.
This jacket utilizes easy on and off buckles to secure it to your dog. It also makes it easy to take it off with little to no problems. The low profile handle keeps your dog within grasp at all times if you need to draw him out of the water.
- Comes in six sizes
- Float Coat supports keep your dog right side up if they tip over in the water
- Constructed with durable webbing and foam panels
5. Most Comfortable – Paws Aboard Vest for Swimming and Boating
Comfort in a life jacket should be of utmost importance for your dog. Uncomfortable life jackets can cause chafing or rubbing against their tender fur and skin. Fortunately, the Paws Aboard dog life jacket addresses this concern with their product!
The Paws Aboard vest boasts a breathable mesh underbelly that allows for better water drainage and drying for your dog. This keeps them more comfortable and healthier.
Neoprene and other lightweight materials make this a flexible vest that gives your canine companion ample room for movement. It’s suitable for active dogs who love to play, run, and swim all day!
A D-ring and a handle on the back not only allow this vest to become a harness on land, but it also enables dog owners to keep tabs and control of their dog at any time.
- Comfortable with a breathable mesh underbelly
- A D-ring and a handle on the back give you enhanced control
- Flexible to allow your dog to easily move
- Sizing is not always accurate
6. Best Value-Friendly – HOLDOOR Sport Jacket with Rescue Handle and Reflective Trim
Check out this life jacket if you’re searching for your first one. It’s a budget-friendly option that still works well for your dog!
This is a great basic life jacket that comes in three sizes and colors. The bright coloring and reflective piping keep your dog visible even from a distance. If something happens, you’ll easily be able to get them out of harm’s way.
The Holdoor vest also doubles as a harness. Clip the leash on the D-ring and take your dog for a walk before letting them loose in the water! It’s great for any active dog on land or water.
The soft jacket contours to your dog’s body and helps to keep them afloat while in the water with increased buoyancy.
- Comes in three sizes and colors
- Standard safety features in bright coloring and reflective piping
- Doubles as a harness
- The three sizes may not fit all dogs
7. Best for Small Dogs – CheeseandU Shark, Pet Swimming Vest Jacket
Dress up your small dog or puppy in this adorable shark fin life jacket! The sturdy design keeps your dog’s head above water while allowing him to swim freely!
CheeseandU designed this jacket with the highest quality materials. The high density, abrasion-resistant, and dirt-proof dacron Oxford cloth and polyethylene foam form a lightweight, flexible vest to keep your pup afloat.
Get this design in either orange or blue! No matter what, the shark fin will make your dog the talk of the beach or the doggy park! It even comes with a cute set of goggles for those perfect summer pictures!
The adjustable magic sticker strap tailors the vest’s fit to your dog’s exact specifications. It will also not restrain your dog’s neck or chest.
- Adjustable sticker strap allows you to adjust the jacket to your dog’s specifications
- Cute design with a shark fin
- High quality materials
- The design keeps your dog’s head above water
- Not as sturdy as other jackets with thicker material
8. Best Multipurpose – Ultrafun 2 in 1 Jacket and Backpack Vest
Active dog owners will love this multipurpose life jacket from Ultrafun! Not only does it keep your dog safe in water, it also keeps your dog close by when you’re hiking, biking, or simply going for a walk!
Made with nylon and pearl cotton foam padding, this life jacket is waterproof, comfortable, and lightweight. Your dog won’t even know it’s wearing it!
The dog saddlebags on each side allow you to keep treats, waste bags, toys, or other small accessories on your dog. Keep your necessities close at hand!
Ultrafun’s life jacket is easily the most versatile option on this list. You really can’t go wrong – it’s the perfect accompaniment for any outdoor activities!
- Bags on each side hold accessories, leashes, food, toys, and more!
- Not suitable for small dogs
When Should You Have a Dog Life Jacket
Even though most dogs are good swimmers, they are bound to get tired after paddling or running all day. They might also have a hard time keeping their heads above water or staying buoyant. Having a life jacket for your dog allows you to help them out if they tire and keeps them above water.
Any number of factors can cause concern when you’re on the water. Passing motorists might spook your dog. Rough waters might overwhelm them. Or, you might become distracted or encounter rough weather. No matter the reason, a life jacket is a good thing to have to keep your dog safe.
Additionally, not all dogs are suited for watery life. Older dogs might not have the energy to sustain long periods of swimming. Puppies might get easily distracted, and it only takes a few moments for them to disappear.
We aren’t trying to scare you! But there are plenty of opportunities where a life jacket can save your dog. We want your pup to be safe, happy, and healthy no matter where they are.
How to Choose a Dog Life Jacket
Here are some features to keep in mind when you’re looking at life jackets for your dog:
1. Reflective material
Most life jackets come in bright colors such as pink, green, blue, and orange. This makes them much easier to see in low light, when obscured by a translucent barrier, or at a distance. Reflective piping also increases visibility.All good life jackets will have some form of reflective material so you and others can see your dog no matter what.
2. Durable materials
Manufacturers usually construct life jackets with either neoprene or Oxford cloth. Not only are these durable and lightweight, they provide enough flexibility for your dog to move around naturally. They do not hinder movement whether on land or in water.
Most life jackets contain some sort of foam padding to increase your dog’s buoyancy, helping them float and keeping their heads above water.
4. Handles and D-rings
Almost all life jackets have both a handle and a D-ring on the back. Use these to secure your dog to something, take them out of the water, or restrain them.
5. Vest versus jacket
It’s tempting to use the terms vest and jacket interchangeably. But they’re not exactly the same.Vests tend to be thinner than a life jacket, and they cover less of your dog. They’re suitable for contained bodies of water such as a pond or a pool. Jackets are a little thicker, offer more protection, and are great for days at the beach or the lake.
Tips on Using Dog Life Jackets
First and foremost, make sure to measure your dog when you’re looking to purchase a life jacket. Many complaints stem from a jacket being too large or small. Most jackets contain adjustable straps so you can tailor the size for your dog.
Next, we recommend purchasing a jacket with both a D-ring and a handle. Almost all jackets have both, but just keep an eye. It’s better to have more methods of containing your dog than none at all.
Don’t be afraid to use your life jacket or vest as a harness as well. Simply clip a leash on the D-ring, and you’re set to take your dog for a walk along the beach, in the woods, on a trail, or anywhere else you want to go!
Purchasing a life jacket or vest for your dog might not strike you right away. After all, dogs are great swimmers, right? However, life jackets can literally save your dog’s life. They help a dog swim, stay afloat, remain visible, and enables you to rescue them from dangerous situations.
In this article we provided some of our recommendations along with tips and things to consider when purchasing. We wish you the best of luck in your search!