Although dogs can paddle and float on water, some breeds just find it difficult to do so due to their physical limitations.
Breeds such as Dachshund, Pug, Bulldog, and Basset Hound are susceptible to drowning, especially in large bodies of water, because they are unable to support their massive frames.
That doesn’t mean that your furballs cannot join the fun activities in the water.
Keeping them safe? Not an issue.
Whether they can’t swim well or you just want to give them a boost, it’s a good idea put on your dog a dog life jacket, also known as a dog life vest.
However, with so many options out there, which dog life vest is the best for your pooch?
We had the same exact question in mind when preparing this guide. In this article we will cover how to choose the best dog life jacket, what to watch out for to avoid costly mistakes.
In a hurry? Here are the top 3 dog life jackets our experts choose:
Our top picks
Best Dog Life Jackets In the UK
Before we dive into the details of how to pick a dog life jacket and tips, we present you the top 5:
The RUFFWear Float Coat is currently one of the favourite dog life jackets in the market.
It has 3 bright colour options that will help you quickly see your pooch in the water thanks to its reflective features. The colour options are cute, too, so that’s an added bonus.
This life jacket is inclusive of different sizes of dog breeds. Their size options range from double XX-small to X-large. So you can surely find a jacket that fits your dogs in the right way.
The buoyancy of this jacket is also great, so you know your dogs are safe in deep water.
Aside from that, this dog life jacket is sure to stay on your dog’s body no matter how active they are. It has 2 pieces of clip fastenings under the belly and neck closures. This life jacket is also thin, so it will not affect your dog’s mobility.
Furthermore, it has a grab handle you can use to help your pooch get off the water. The handle is made out of materials similar to mountaineering equipment, so they are abrasion-resistant. It has a leash attachment feature as well.
Another feature you might like with this one is that it is easy to clean. The fabric layer can quickly be taken off and washed in the washing machine, and the padding dries off quickly without leaving any funky smell.
- Six size options
- Fastening clips
- Neck closure
- Reflective rim
- Abrasion-resistant material
- Dog leash attachment
- It is not difficult to find the perfect fit for your dog
- It provides plenty of buoyancy aid
- Good quality material
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Dog leash attachment is made out of plastic
- It is on the expensive side of the price point
If you are looking for a jacket with high visibility, then you might want to consider Outward Hound Kyjen dog life jacket. It has a bright orange colour with reflective trim, which makes it easy to spot your dog in the water.
Aside from that, this dog life jacket has 5 size options that can fit dogs who are 13kg to 25kg.
One of the notable features of this dog life jacket is its double handle. It has a grab handle and grab-top handle, which makes it easy to carry your dog or lift them out of the water.
This feature also makes it easier for you to save your dogs in case they go overboard unintentionally, or they are trying to jump off the boat.
Aside from that, the Outward Kyjen hound dog life jacket has a unique neck strap. This neck flap supports your dog’s chin so that it doesn’t dip down to the water and cause them to drown. It also has a chest flat which provides additional buoyancy as well.
In terms of fitting, this life jacket has adjustable straps made out of neoprene. Neoprene is a soft yet durable material so that it would feel comfortable and secure for your pup.
It also has a quick-release buckle to help you put it on and remove it on your dog without any problem.
Overall, if you are looking for a budget-friendly yet reliable dog life jacket, then this should be on your list of options.
- Grab-top Handle
- Adjustable Straps
- Neoprene bands
- Reflective trim
- Adjustable neck and chest flap
- Quick Release buckles
- Not too bulky
- Great buoyancy support
- Reasonably priced
- The sizing chart could be better
- The leash attachment ring is made out of plastic
Here’s a dog life jacket that will not only help your dog’s buoyancy but their style as well.
There are plenty of fun colours to choose from, which also have reflective trims to make it easier to see your dog. It also has 5 size options starting from x-small to x-large for all types of dog breeds.
What sets this dog life jacket apart among other options out there is that it has 50% more additional padding.
This extra padding provides additional buoyancy to your pooch, which helps them stay afloat on the water. This also means that it can sufficiently support dogs who are on the heavier side.
Aside from that, this dog life jacket also has added security features found in its straps. It has neck and belly straps that are adjustable.
The straps are also locked by quick-release buckles that don’t easily dislodge or corrode over time.
Another good thing about Vivaglory dog life jacket is the commitment from the brand. They offer a 365 days guarantee on the quality and material of the product. This means that if you encounter defects on the items that you will be receiving, you can easily have it replaced or refunded.
If you are looking for both buoyancy aid and style, then this is an excellent choice for you. This dog life jacket is also affordable, which makes it an excellent choice for budget-conscious dog parents.
- Extra padding
- Grab handle
- Adjustable Straps
- Quick-release buckles
- D-ring attachment
- Reflective trims
- One-year warranty
- Secure body and neck buckles
- Extra paddings for added buoyancy
- Nine colour options
- Value for money
- Efficient customer service
- It could be less bulky on the neck area
- The sizing is confusing
The EzyDog dog life jacket is made out of oxford nylon and neoprene, which is a very durable material and compatible with water.
Both oxford nylon and neoprene are waterproof, and they don’t feel heavy when wet with water. These materials quickly dry too.
The materials on this life jacket are easy to clean. You can simply hand wash it with a mild detergent, and it is good to be used again. The maintenance extremely easy.
The padding for this life jacket is filled with EPE Foam. This type of foam is a kind of plastic material that is non-toxic, lightweight, and flexible. It is also resistant to many different types of chemicals, oil, and water.
Furthermore, this dog life jacket has 50% more padding to provide more buoyancy for your furry friend. Although this makes it look a little bulkier, it does help your dog float steadily.
This dog life has 5 different size options inclusive to the majority of breed sizes.
Aside from that, you can also customise the sizes thanks to its adjustable straps. If your dog is medium but thin on the belly, you can simply tighten the belt so that it fits your dog comfortably.
The price of this dog life jacket can be considered in the mid-range. However, its quality and features are worth it in terms of value.
- Additional flotation padding
- Made out of neoprene and oxford nylon
- Quick-release buckles
- Grab handles
- Stainless D-ring
- The fit can be adjusted through the straps
- Ergonomic handle
- It has extra padding
- Informative size charting
- The handles need improvement
The Ruffwear F9 Float Coat is a premium quality dog life jacket for dog owners who like taking their pooch kayaking, paddle boarding or surfing on a family vacation.
It can make swimming for your pooch easier by providing a natural swimming position to your reluctant swimmer thanks to strategically-placed foam panels.
The large size of this float coat is perfect for dogs who are at least 2 to 4 years old or have grown taller. Just make sure that your dog’s girth is 32 to 36 inches.
The telescoping neck closure can be adjusted to fit a variety of sizes. Even though it’s adjustable, it is also permanently attached and secure.
It’s designed with 3M Scotchlite reflective trim for better visibility in or out of the water to give you peace of mind. The high quality material it’s made out of is also abrasion resistant.
Sheltered buckles enable easy one-handed clipping which is an added convenience. The clips and straps are strong, robust, and yet adjustable. Even the pull-out handle is strong and sturdy.
Overall, The Ruffwear K9 is a good option for water sports enthusiastic dog owners and pooches.
- Telescoping neck closure
- 3M Scotchlite reflective trim
- Strong pull out handle
- Abrasion-proof material
- Can fit dogs with girth ranging from 32 to 36 inches
- Well designed for buoyancy
- Supports natural swimming position
- Premium quality handles
- Better visibility with reflective trim
- Not ideal for smaller dogs
How to Choose a Dog Life Jacket?
What is a Dog Life Jacket?
A dog life jacket is a flotation device specially designed for dogs. They come in many different sizes and designs, but they usually strap on the belly and they are lightweight.
When in water, it helps keep your pup float and still stay mobile to steer to any direction they might want to venture.
Dog life jackets are ideal for dogs with large bodies and short legs when it comes to water safety.
However, even dogs who are serious swimmers such as retrievers are recommended to wear a dog life jacket when doing boating activities in deep waters for extra added security.
Wait..Can’t all dogs swim?
Well, as surprising as it may sound, not all dogs take to swimming well. Some dogs might just be afraid of water and can panic which can be fatal without a flotation device.
Some breeds with very low body fat would struggle to keep afloat and others with short legs might get tired too quickly.
Older dogs might also get tired quicker. And some breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia can find it difficult to swim.
Even if your pooch is a water dog, it’s a good idea to use one of these jackets in deep water areas such as open seas, large lakes or when you’re on a boat.
What to Consider When Buying a Dog Life Vest
Not all dog life jackets are made equal, so you need to know what to look out for.
This will help you find the most suitable dog life jacket for the kind of breed of your dog.
Here is the list of considerations when buying a dog life jacket:
Designed for safety
When selecting a dog life jacket, you must first check whether it has a good design.
A dog life vest with good design has a neck closure and buckle straps on the belly. If possible, the buckle straps must be adjustable so that you can adjust it to your dog’s body.
Should be a good fit
It is crucial to get a snug and right fit so that the life jacket sufficiently aids your dog’s buoyancy and helps keep their mobility.
Even if your dog is a small breed, the size for them may be medium for some brand. So, take extra precaution on sizing.
How to measure your dog for a life jacket?
You’ll come across different sizing charts and measurements from each manufacturer. However, mostly they rely on a combination of chest, neck and length measurements.
You’d also need to keep in mind your pooch’s weight to ensure the life jacket is strong enough to support him.
Got your tape measure? Let’s start it.
You’ll be measuring the girth of your dog’s chest around the rib cage.
So, let’s keep him calm with a favourite treat and use the measuring tape by wrapping it around the largest part of his rib cage. Usually, it’ll be right behind your dog’s front legs.
Life jackets usually rest where your dog’s neck and body connects. Measure the lower portion of the next close to the shoulders where it’s the widest.
Measuring your dog’s length
Usually, manufacturers would want you to measure from the base of the neck to the tail base.
For a safe level of buoyancy, you’ll usually need to also use your dog’s weight to choose the correct size.
Are float pad positioned correctly?
Float pads are what will help your dogs float.
Incorrectly positioned pads will hinder natural swimming and may not keep your dog’s head above the water.
This is why when choosing a dog life jacket, you must pick one with correctly placed float pads.
Ideally, dogs with a large body and short legs must have a front float pad so that their heads will not submerge into the water.
Choose bright colours
The colour of the life vest is critical, especially when you are out at the open waters. The ideal colour for a dog life vest must be bright and easy to see.
Avoid colours such as green, white, or blue as they tend to merge into the environment making it difficult for you to keep an eye to your pup.
Dog life jackets with reflective trims can also be considered. They help with visibility even when the sun goes down.
An essential feature you must look out for on dog life jackets is the handles. They will help to easily pull your dogs out of the water or hold them securely on a boat.
Some dog life jackets have attachments for other accessories.
It is okay not to have a fully decked out jacket, but it needs to have a dog leash attachment.
Also, as much as possible, the attachment should be made out of stainless metal for durability instead of plastic.
If your dog is swimming in any kind of deep water such as open sea or ocean, large lakes or if he’s on a boat, it may be necessary to have a life jacket.
Since dog life jackets come with handles on top, you can easily pull your dog out of water. A dog life jacket is especially useful for dogs who are afraid of water or have short legs such as corgis or daschund.
These jackets are designed to keep your dog safe in deep water. When it comes to product quality and safety, best to choose reputable manufacturers as the float pads need to be positioned correctly.
If it’s a poor quality product where the pads are wrongly positioned, it can do more damage such as pushing chin under water.
Due to their vastly different anatomical differences, a human life jacket probably would not be the best bet to keep your dog safe.
As all the dog life vests reviewed in this article are of high quality, we’re hard pressed to pick a favourite. However, if we have to, we’d go with the RUFFWEAR life jacket for dogs due to its proven quality and features.
However, Outward Houng Kyjen dog life jacket is also a good choice for the budget conscious dog parents.
Haven’t decided yet? Here is the top 5 in a nutshell:
Our Top Picks
- High quality life jacket for keeping dogs safe in and around water, Full...
- Size Medium: 69-81 cm (27-32 in) – measurement of dog’s girth around...
- Easy to put on with 2 clip fastenings under the belly and secure neck...
- SPLASH WITH SAFETY: The Outward Hound Granby Splash Life Jacket is designed...
- NOVICE & EXPERIENCED SWIMMER FRIENDLY: The Granby Splash dog life jacket is...
- MULTI-HANDLE DESIGN: Dual grab handles provide easy access to rescue and...
- MEASURE BEFORE PURCHASE: before choosing a size, please measure your dog's...
- FOR DOG'S SAFETY: Pet life jacket by Vivaglory is constructed with extra...
- CONVENIENCE & FIT: Durable grab handle of the dog life preserver makes it...
- ADJUSTABLE DOG LIFEJACKET – Our Dog Flotation Device is designed and...
- HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL – We use the highest quality materials, our...
- INTEGRATED GRAB HANDLE – Gives you a quick and easy way to guide your dog...
- Confidence-inspiring canine life jacket built with time proven, abrasion...
- Natural swimming position made possible by strategically to placed closed...
- Strong, low profile handle is optimally positioned to help dogs out of...
Which one did you like the most?
You’re a pawfect dog parent for taking your time and reading our guide to take care of pooch.
If you know the one you’re leaning towards, why not share with us in the comments section below.
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Go on then, be a responsible dog friend and share this article with your friends, so their pooches can swim safely!