The hot months of the year are around the corner, and you contemplate the thought of spending more time near the water with your family and pets. You have probably realized that the last thing you want to do during your vacation is to worry about the safety of your dog. It is a good thing that you are considering getting your four-legged friend the best dog life jacket as the ultimate solution for any worries you might have.
Now it is time to choose, and you have found out that there are various life vests on the market. Moreover, you have discovered that making a decision on the type of jacket requires consideration of size, durability, and buoyancy. Don’t worry – we are here to help! We have made a list of 6 dog life jacket reviews that you can choose from. Read our helpful guide to make the right decision and to satisfy your and your dog’s needs.
Best Dog Life Jackets Comparison Chart
Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket
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Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jacket
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Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket Adjustable Safety Reflective Vest
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Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket
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Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
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WOpet Dog Life Jacket
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Get the Right Dog Life Jacket
This is our list of top 6 dog life jackets out there. These are the frontrunners when it comes to quality and functionality. TheMarineMag hasn’t ordered them in any way. We know that you will pick the one suiting you and your pet best.
1. Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket
Our first product on the list is impressive for the safety it provides for your dog. Its main advantage is that it comes with not one, but two handles that make it easy to take the dog out of the water. The bright color and reflective piping secure clear visibility. The quality completely corresponds to the price. The neoprene belly band and Velcro tabs ensure a comfortable and untroubled swim. The front neck float helps keep the head above the water and, hence, provides buoyancy and stability.
The product is excellent for average swimmers because the material dries well and stays clean. Comes in five sizes. However, careful consideration is needed as the chart does not portray standard sizing, and the jacket usually runs small. When choosing an extent, it is advisable to measure the dog’s height along with its weight when seated.
- Dual handles for easy rescue and restraint
- Bright color for higher visibility
- Great for average swimmers and dogs who need help to recover after a surgery
- Good price
- Ensures buoyancy
- Doesn’t come with a D-ring Leash Clip
- The sizing chart is not standard, and jackets tend to run small
2. Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jacket
Тhis life vest is perfect for making sure your dog is safe in the water. At the same time, though, safety doesn’t have to discount comfort, and that’s precisely the case here. You can choose from 6 sizes and a variety of fun patterns that show off sleek design and personality. The colors and reflective strips make it easy to spot your dog from a distance.
What is more important is that the vest secures the buoyancy to keep the dog’s head above the water and helps build confidence in novice swimmers. The fabric is breathable, but also fits the body in a way that provides ultimate support and flotation. It is advisable that the dog is carefully measured before purchasing the product as the sizes vary from product to product. An advantage is that adjustments are possible around the waist and chest areas.
- Provides safety and buoyancy
- Bright colors and reflective strips for high visibility
- Recommended for water therapy after injuries
- Perfect for new swimmers
- Doesn’t come with a leash
- The fabric wears out with time
- Stitching rips easily with regular use
3. Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket Adjustable Safety Reflective Vest
This life vest by “Vivaglory” allows your dog to move freely in and out of the water. It enables strong buoyancy thanks to the extra padding. On top of the vest, there is a well-stitched handle that allows you to take your dog out of the water. Moreover, the system includes a D-ring if you want to attach a leash. The vest comes in 8 vibrant colors for better visibility.
Keep in mind that they have a tendency to fade with time due to sun exposure. Unfortunately, the size chart occasionally does not coincide with the actual size of the dog. If in doubt, it would be better to get the bigger size, because the jacket runs small. Also, it has adjustable straps for better fitting. A significant advantage of this life vest is that it offers a guarantee of up to 90 days after purchase in the event of material defects. Overall, it is a great vest for the price.
- High visibility
- Handle with reliable stitching
- D-ring for a leash
- Adjustable straps
- 90 days of guarantee
- Actual size and size chart don’t coincide completely
- Color fades due to sun exposure
4. Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket
The Outward Hound Dawson Jacket impressed us because warming insulation is part of the design. Thus, you can rely on the vest to keep your dog warm during cold swims. Concerning swimming, the jacket allows freedom of movement and does not interfere with the dog’s ability to swim. It is important to note that the product is designed to assist flotation.
Although it provides buoyancy, it is not made to hold up a non-swimming dog. The foam panels make it easier for the dog to keep its head above the water, without getting tired. The jacket comes in a bright red color so that you can never lose sight of your dog. The sizes (from XS to XL) usually coincide with real measurements. However, the straps need to be frequently tightened. The jacket doesn’t offer a D-ring or a buckle to attach a leash. Nevertheless, it has handles that allow you to ensure the safety of your dog.
- Warming insulation
- High visibility
- Rescue handles
- Reduces fatigue during longer swims
- The jump between small and medium is too big
- The straps tend to get loose
- Not suitable for novice swimmers
- Doesn’t have a D-ring or a buckle
5. Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
This new style “Vivaglory” life vest impressed us because it is both stylish and comfortable. The sports-style design compliments your pet’s natural movements. The jacket is constructed in a way that provides more space around the neck. At the same time, though, it fits well to maintain the natural swimming position. A high-quality fastening system ensures that the dog feels safe and comfortable in the water.
Although the jacket is pricier, the quality of the extra floating material provides ultimate buoyancy. The variety of bright colors, in addition to the reflective trim, makes it easier for you to keep an eye on your dog. A good tip is to pay attention to the chest girth of your dog when choosing a size. However, the jump between sizes is too big, which means that the scales in the chart might not coincide with actual measurements.
- More flotation material for extra buoyancy
- The materials pass standard tests for safety
- Does not hinder natural movement
- Reflective trim
- The size chart can be deceiving
- More expensive
6. WOpet Dog Life Jacket
The last item on the list comes in a fun and innovative style. There is a shark fin at the back of the jacket which transforms the look. Unfortunately, the fin is floppy and cannot stand up straight. The gray color is less visible when the dog is in the water. The pink style would be more suitable for better discernibility.
There are reflective accents that help you keep an eye on your dog from a distance. The jacket is constructed with a handle on top for quick and easy grabbing. Thus, the owner can quickly take his/her pet out of the water in case of an emergency. There are four sizes available to dogs of all shapes. The perfect fit is further ensured by the adjustable nylon straps and the quick-release buckles that come with the jacket. However, the straps are not easily tightened, which makes the product less comfortable to use. Overall, it is an affordable life vest that will support your dog during swims in pools, lakes, and the sea.
- Reflective trims for high visibility
- Adjustable nylon straps
- The straps don’t tighten easily
- The fin fails to stand up
Why Is the Dog Life Jacket the Hero of the Day?
Of course, a life jacket is always a necessity even for the most experienced swimmers. But while people can look after themselves, your pet cannot always foresee the dangers of swimming and jumping in the water. This is why your dog needs a life jacket. Such a life vest is the perfect solution for anytime you want to relax on your boat, near the lake or in the sea without continually holding your dog on a leash.
- The life vest will keep your friend afloat and allow him/her to enjoy a refreshing swim.
- Hydrotherapy and swimming will significantly benefit your dog, whether it is for fitness or recovery. A life jacket will provide comfort for any dog that has difficulty swimming.
- There are plenty of dog life vests that can be purchased for a reasonable price so that you can save money for other top life jackets.
- The life jacket will reduce fatigue during a swim.
Like anything on Earth, the dog life jacket is not flawless. Sometimes, you might get confused with the sizes, or the chart provided might not coincide with the actual measurements of the breeds. However, there is an easy solution to this problem.
- Always measure your dog before purchasing a life vest.
- Use the straps and buckles to adjust the jacket for it to fit your pet perfectly.
How to Find the Ideal Life Jacket Size?
It is tricky choosing the right size of clothes for people, let alone choosing the right fit for another species. Things can get a lot easier if you know what to look for when measuring your dog. We are sure that these tips will help you find just the right life vest for your four-legged friend:
- Channel your inner tailor and prepare yourself with a soft measuring tape.
- Measure the length of your dog by placing the tape from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.
- For coats and jackets, you should measure the lower neck instead of the upper neck.
- Measure the circumference by wrapping the tape around your dog’s chest at the widest point.
Keep in mind that knowing your dog’s weight and breed is not enough criteria for choosing the most appropriate life jacket. Just like us, dogs come in different sizes and shapes so use the measurements instead.
The Size Fits! Is There Anything Else…?
The answer is, “yes.” Have you purchased the right size? That is great! However, there is more you need to do as a pet parent to make sure your dog feels safe and confident in the water. Think of it this way – if you were to choose the best swim floaty for a toddler, you would have gone above and beyond to see your child happy and perfectly snug in the vest.
Both your toddler and your dog walk on four legs, so why not go that necessary extra mile to protect your pet from their vulnerabilities?
After you have placed the vest over your dog’s neck, it is time to close the buckles. Then, adjust the straps for the most secure fit. Bear in mind that there should be enough space between the straps and your dog’s body for you to put your fingers.
With a supported neck and comfortably moving body, your dog is ready for all the adventures that the water offers!
The Ins and Outs of Dog Life Jackets
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘the devil is in the detail’? With the dog life jacket, things are different. It is precisely the details that offer more peace and security. Here are some appendages you can look for that will improve the safety of the life jacket even more.
- Reflective trims in addition to a bright color are a must, and they provide high visibility in and out of the water, in sunny and in foggy weather, and from a distance. Even the small dogs will protrude dark waters and bad weather with a vibrantly colored vest.
- Handles – they are usually positioned on top of the vest and allow you to pull your dog out of the water quickly. It would be sound to choose a jacket that has two handles, but even one handle will do the job in case there is an emergency situation.
- If your pet struggles with hyperactivity when you need him/her to stand still, you might want to check out life vests that come with a D-ring. This way you can attach a leash to the jacket and hold your dog close to you whenever you are chilling on a boat in motion or having fun on a quality towable tube.
- The materials of dog life jackets are critical as well. They are designed to ensure that the body floats untroubled. Neoprene paddings have tested positive for impeccable buoyancy. Usually, manufacturers place more padding around the neck so that dogs can keep their heads above the water without getting tired through a prolonged time.
- Adjustable straps are an absolutely necessary detail, as we have already mentioned. They will allow the pet owner to provide the most comfortable and secure fit for his/her playful dog.
Don’t worry about ruining your dog’s fashionable looks! There are plenty of dog life jacket styles to choose from. In the end, it will turn out that your dog has a life vest trendier than yours.
This or That Life Jacket?
The choice is always, so let’s dive into the types of products you have at your disposal:
Buckles In and Buckles Out
Most dog life jackets are designed with visible buckles that are stitched to the outer part of the vest. These are easily accessible for the dog owner to open and close.
On the other hand, there are other jackets with pockets that contain the buckles. No straps or buckles are exposed to the outside and, hence, no objects can get caught and knotted in the jacket. This is an advantage since it prevents the jacket from being ripped by foreign objects.
One Handle vs. Dual Handles
A handle is always a must when it comes to dog life jackets. It is your tool for when you need to take your dog out of the water or save him/her from any danger. The one handle will do the job, but jackets with dual handles are definitely more convenient.
It is logical that you will have a better grip when you use both hands, especially if your dog is on the larger end of the specter. Just be careful that you do not fall in the water together with the dog instead of pulling him/her up.
Colors and Patterns
In the department of designs, there is a sea of styles that the dog owner could drown in. The variety of colors and patterns is satisfying. However, sometimes, there is a split between fashion and security. Some of the more exciting life jackets are in colors that are not as eye-catching as other vests that come in a single bright color.
That does not mean that your dog will be less safe in a patterned jacket, but bright colors provide higher visibility from a distance.
Experienced and Novice Swimmers
Is your furry friend a professional swimmer or does he/she avoid water at all costs? Any dog can use a life jacket, but some vests are more appropriate for advanced swimmers. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to the description of the jacket. In case your pet is about to swim for the first or second time, opt for a more novice-friendly jacket that will allow more time for adaptation.
The Perfect Care for the Perfect Life Jacket
No matter whether your dog was born to be wild and adventurous around the water or if he/she prefers relaxing on the bow of the boat, any life jacket will wear out with time. You can slow down the process by maintaining the vest the way you would take care of any life jacket. Here are some useful tips:
- Wash the jacket with clean water after usage.
- Get rid of any mud and sand.
- Make sure there are no stains left as they attract mold. If there are stains, you can wash the jacket in a bucket with vinegar and a bit of detergent. Use a sponge to clean any stubborn stains.
- Do not use a clothes dryer or a hairdryer – let the jacket dry naturally. Check for water in the interior parts of the jacket.
- Before you put the jacket away, check carefully for any holes or loose stitching. This is particularly important because certain rips can prevent the jacket from performing its task – keeping your dog safe.
- Do not leave the jacket outside when it is not being used. Sunlight exposure will contribute to the natural fading of colors.
- Store in a cool, dry place and avoid covering it with heavy objects as this might cause the bending of the inner paddings.
- Contemplate the next time you will enjoy the company of your dog in the water!
If you follow these simple tips, your dog will use the life jacket for as long as possible, and you will not have to buy another one in the long term.
FAQs (and Their Answers)
You walk on the beach, and you see so many dogs wearing their favorite life jackets, but you still have questions about the nature, use, and safety of the vest. This is why we have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions that pet owners face before taking the final decision to purchase a dog life jacket.
Q: What Breeds Need a Life Jacket?
A: There is not a classification of breeds that need a life jacket more than others. There is a danger for every dog, no matter the traits. The number of dogs drowning because of fatigue, currents, or lack of swimming experience can be significantly reduced with a life jacket. A sudden turn or fast speed can cause your dog to fall off the boat. This is one of the crucial things to consider when getting a life jacket to your dog.
Q: Will My Dog Gain More Confidence With a Life Jacket?
A: Although it might feel weird at first, your dog will get used to wearing a life jacket. Soon the vest will become his/her favorite companion when gaining more experience in swimming. Without the jacket, your dog might be too scared to enter the water.
Q: Will It Keep My Dog’s Head Above the Water?
A: The jacket may need your dog’s assistance to keep the neck straight above the water, but it will 100% improve the swimming posture. Moreover, as a drowning prevention tool, the jacket is designed to reduce fatigue.
Q: Can the Jacket Slip Off?
A: As long as you close all the buckles, adjust the straps and, most importantly, put the jacket the right way round, your dog will be dressed and safe the whole way through a wet day.
Q: How Long Will a Dog Life Jacket Last?
A: There is not an expiration date to the life jacket. It depends on the frequency of usage, durability, quality, and amount of sun exposure. However, if you follow the tips we gave you earlier, you will prolong the lifespan of your dog’s jacket.
We hope that you will find these tips and dog life jacket reviews useful when choosing the best dog life jacket for your four-legged friend. Keep an eye on all the details that can help you make the most appropriate pick. If your dog is new to the swimming or clothes department, it might take some time for him/her to get used to a life vest.
Remember that a life jacket is not a luxury, but a necessity that will keep your dog safe. If you choose the right life jacket, you will kill two birds with one bullet – a secure vest, but that does not impede your dog’s natural swimming instincts and abilities. Let your furry loved one enjoy the refreshing waters and rock that cool life jacket. Safety first, fashion next!
If your friends also have dogs and you would want to see your pets compete in the water and be safe, don’t forget to share this guide with them. We are open to any questions and comments you might have. Thanks so much for reading, and as always- stay put!