If you have a dog who loves participating in water activities but is not a champion swimmer, investing in a top-quality life jacket is a wise decision. Even excellent swimmers get tired, and strapping a life jacket on your dog will ensure they stay above water. Water safety is a top priority, regardless of whether it’s a backyard swimming pool, pond, ocean, or lake. Dog life jackets are essential to ensure your dog stays safe while giving you peace of mind during water outings.
With all the choices on the market for dog life jackets, how do you know which one is right for your pooch? What should you look for? If you’re in this dilemma, worry not, as we have listed some of the best dog life jackets based on consumer reviews to provide insight into what you need.
A Quick Glance at Our Favorites (2024)
|Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
|OUTWARD HOUND Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket
|EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket
|GILI Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
|FRISCO Shark Dog Life Jacket
The 10 Best Dog Life Jackets
1. Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket – Best Overall
|X-Small to X-Large
|Synthetic fabric, polyester
The Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is made with durable materials to withstand the normal wear and tear that comes with water activities. It has foam side panels and a flotation flap at the neck that keeps your dog’s head above water, and the life jacket will not prevent your dog from splashing and having fun. It has hook and loop straps with buckles for a secured yet unconfined fit that snaps around the belly and neck, with grab handles at the top in case you need to grab your pup out of the water quickly. It also comes with a D-ring for leash attachment. This life jacket comes in multiple sizes to accommodate any canine size, and it is priced reasonably for its features.
A common complaint is the incorrect size chart in which the life jacket is either too big or too small. The floatation flap at the neck may also be too bulky for some breeds. However, given the features and price, we feel this life jacket is the best overall dog life jacket you can buy today.
2. Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket – Best Value
|X-Small to X-Large
|Nylon, synthetic fabric
For the best dog life jacket for the money, we chose the Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket. It has two rescue handles at the top and adjustable quick-release side buckles for a perfect fit. This one also comes with front flotation support to keep your pup’s head above water. For added safety, it has reflective accents and bright colors to visibly spot your dog while in the water, and the jacket allows unrestricted mobility. It comes in sizes x-small to x-large to accommodate any breed, including dogs up to 100 pounds.
A drawback is that it does not come with a D-ring for leash attachment, and the thin material prohibits the jacket from lasting a long time.
3. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket – Premium Choice
|X-Small to X-Large
The EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket is made from heavy-duty, thick material and is made to last. The belly straps are adjustable and made of padded neoprene for added comfort, and the neck strap is also adjustable. This life jacket provides 50% more buoyancy than other brands that allow your dog to be upright in the water, and it also comes with two handles on the top for emergencies. It also has a D-ring for your dog’s leash and is easy to take on and off. For colors, you have the choice of red or yellow.
Even though it’s the most expensive life jacket on our list, it’s also the safest and very well-made. However, the handles on the top could be larger for easier grabs. And, depending on the dog’s size, the belly straps may rub, adding discomfort.
4. GILI Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
|X-Small to XX-Large
Puppies should have a life jacket for beginners and one with a sufficient amount of buoyancy, which the GILI Ripstop Dog Life Jacket provides. This life jacket is made from durable, neoprene material for maximum buoyancy. The clip-in straps run underneath and along the full length of the vest to ensure it doesn’t come off, and it has adjustable neck straps. This life jacket comes in bigger sizes for larger puppy breeds, and you can choose from blue, camo, or yellow.
It also has a D-ring and a zippered pocket to secure your pup’s ID tags to prevent getting lost during fun adventures. It even has reflective accents so you can keep a watchful eye on your puppy and a single handle on top to grab your puppy quickly.
This jacket runs small, so keep this in mind when measuring your puppy. Depending on your puppy’s build,
the jacket may also be chunky and awkward.
5. Frisco Shark Dog Life Jacket
|X-Small to X-Large
|Synthetic fabric, polyester
The Frisco Shark Dog Life Jacket offers a sleek and adjustable design. It also comes with a shark dorsal fin for cuteness, but you can remove this if desired. It has Velcro and buckle snaps, a D-ring, reflective accents for increased visibility, and sturdy handles on top. This jacket has a floatation flap at the neck, a strap to keep the head above water, and two belly quick-release buckle straps for a secure fit.
This life jacket may be too restrictive for some dogs, decreasing mobility, but it does provide extra buoyancy.
6. Frisco Neoprene Dog Life Jacket
|X-Small to X-Large
The Frisco Neoprene Dog Life Jacket is different from other life jackets on our list thus far due to the neoprene 30-millimeter foam side panels that allow for extra buoyancy, warmth, and insulation while your dog swims. It comes with four reflector accents and a bright red color to easily spot your dog both in and out of the water, and the front panel has a flotation flap to support the head. It has three adjustable straps with side-release buckles for a perfect fit, as well as dual-grab handles to retrieve your dog quickly from the water if necessary. It also has a D-ring for a leash.
This life jacket comes in all sizes ranging from x-small to x-large; however, it may not provide sufficient flotation for larger dogs.
7. Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket
|X-Small to X-Large
|Nylon, synthetic fabric
The Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket comes in x-small up to x-large and has three adjustment points for the perfect fit to accommodate your dog’s size. Reflective piping for visibility is not lacking in this life jacket, and it’s well-made with rip-stop exterior material and closed-cell foam on the interior. What’s more, you can use it as a raincoat by simply removing the flotation insert. It’s machine-washable to keep it clean and odor-free and comes in bright red or yellow/blue for visibility. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, which is a nice feature. It has an athletic cut, meaning it allows for more mobility and a better range of movement.
It does not come with a flap at the neck for flotation to keep your dog’s head out of the water, but it should work for experienced swimmers. It may be too bulky for smaller dogs, and it is pricey. However, it keeps dogs afloat well.
8. VIVAGLORY Sports Style Dog Life Jacket
|Small and Medium
If you’re looking for more of a variety in colors in a dog life jacket, look no further than the VIVAGLORY Sports Style Dog Life Jacket. This life jacket comes in an array of colors besides standard red, including blue, bright green, bright orange, bright pink, bright yellow, and more, all of which provide excellent visibility to easily spot your dog. It has a “bio fit” neck design secured with Velcro to provide more comfort and space in that area, and it has double adjustable straps with sturdy quick-release buckles to keep your dog safe. It even has reflective trim, a D-ring for a leash, a grab handle, and Oxford cloth material.
This life jacket comes only in sizes small and medium, and it does not support the head with a flotation flap. Some buyers do not like the Velcro strap because it causes continual tightening of the straps. The Velcro may also be scratchy for some dogs.
9. ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket
|XX-small to X Large
|Polyester, synthetic fabric
For small breeds, the ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket may be an excellent choice to keep your petite dog safe in the water. Some life jackets may be difficult to fit a petite dog snugly, but this life jacket is made with this in mind. It has dense foam panels for flotation and reflective strips, and it’s red in color for easy visibility. It’s easy to secure with adjustable straps and sturdy quick-release buckles, and it’s available in medium and large sizes for bigger canine fur babies. It also has a front flap near the neck to keep your dog’s head above water, and the entire jacket is machine washable.
The biggest con we see is it does not have a D-ring for leash attachment.
10. Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket
|XX-Small to XX-Large
The Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket uses the hook-and-loop fastening system around the belly and neck to keep your dog secure while participating in water activities. It has breathable mesh for the belly area for comfort, and its design is sturdy with adjustable quick-release straps. It has a one-piece side-release adjustable collar for the neck and reflective strips all around. It includes a D-ring, rescue handle, and insulated Velcro closures, and it comes in sizes ranging from xx-small to x-large. This well-made life jacket is robust and adorable, with the lifeguard logo on the side. The company also offers varying designs and colors if the lifeguard logo isn’t your pup’s style, such as grey camo, nautical, pink polka dot, and more.
It’s a little more expensive compared to others on our list, but with the increased price comes a quality, durable life jacket for your dog. A common complaint, despite the sturdiness of the jacket, is that the stitching doesn’t seem to hold up well.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Life Jacket for Your Dog
As you can see, there are many dog life jackets to choose from, but it’s not as easy as picking a design or color you like. Dog life jackets should have particular safety measures in place, as well as comfort for your dog while wearing them. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll explain what factors to consider so you can make the best buying decision for you and, more importantly, your pet’s needs.
Features to Look for in a Dog Life Jacket
Grab handles are an excellent safety feature for grabbing your dog out of the water quickly in an emergency or simply pulling your dog onto a paddleboard, boat, or kayak. The handle will be on top of the life jacket and should be sturdy and secured to the life jacket itself. It should also be durable and made of high-quality material. Consumer reviews will give you an idea of the sturdiness of the grab handle of the jacket you’re interested in.
A D-ring is a handy feature on a life jacket because you can attach your dog’s leash for guidance while on a boat or simply walking to the boat dock. A D-ring is typically made of metal and should be secured to the jacket. Only a few life jackets omit this feature, but given that some do include it, we highly recommend buying a life jacket with it rather than without.
Adjustable straps are a must on a life jacket to ensure a proper and snug fit. The straps should be strong with quick-release buckles for getting your dog out of the jacket quickly and easily. These straps should be easy to adjust and allow for properly fitting your dog’s size.
Reflective Strips and Bright Colors
You’ll want to have your eyes on your dog at all times, and having reflective strips and bright colors will help you know exactly where your dog is, whether in water or on land. Some life jackets offer many colors, and we recommend going with the brightest colors available, such as red, bright orange, bright green, etc.
Neck Flotation Flap
Neck flotation flaps help keep your dog’s head above water while they swim. Even if your dog is an experienced swimmer, they can still become tired, and having this feature will make your dog much more comfortable.
The life jacket should provide ample buoyancy to keep your dog afloat. It’s wise to look for life jackets with extra flotation material, such as foam or padded side panels, which will also provide extra warmth. If your dog is on a boat and falls overboard, you’ll be happy to know your dog’s life jacket is buoyant enough to keep them afloat without effort on your dog’s part.
Size Options/Size Chart
After reading consumer reviews, sizing a life jacket is a challenge for some (more on this later). The jacket should not be restrictive, but it shouldn’t be too loose either, which defeats the purpose. It’s vital to measure your dog properly and choose the correct size according to the manufacturer’s measurement chart. Speaking of size charts, any company you’re considering buying from should include a size chart with measurements, along with how to measure your dog correctly.
How to Measure Your Dog for a Life Jacket
You’ll need to know how to measure your dog for a proper fit, which is a crucial aspect before purchasing and to avoid headaches and even disasters in the future. For starters, your dog’s chest circumference (girth) will be the most important element in measuring proper buoyancy, especially since dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Let’s break it all down.
- With measuring tape, measure the widest and largest part of your dog’s chest. Ensure the tape is snug but not too tight.
- In the same fashion, measure the thickest part of your dog’s neck, typically where the collar sits. This measurement ensures the life jacket doesn’t choke your dog.
- Measure the length of your dog, starting from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.
- For broad-chested dogs, it may prove beneficial to measure the width of the chest. To do this, measure the chest from shoulder to shoulder and across the breastbone.
- Lastly, ensure you have your dog’s correct weight, as life jackets are often categorized by weight ranges.
Ensure Proper Fitting Before Heading Out
It is an excellent idea (and possibly a lifesaver) to test the life jacket before entering a large body of water. Sometimes, it takes further adjusting to confirm the jacket fits as it should without restricting your dog’s mobility. An ideal way to do this is to start in shallow water. If you have a swimming pool, allow your dog to swim with the life jacket on to observe how it fits. Limbs should move freely with no restrictions, and the jacket should not slip off. You’ll want to adjust the straps for a snug but not too tight fit. You’ll also want to observe the jacket’s buoyancy to ensure it keeps your dog afloat.
We hope our reviews of the 10 best dog life jackets help you choose the best and most suitable jacket for your pooch. For the best overall dog life jacket, the Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket has foam side panels, a neck flotation flap, grab handles, and a D-ring for a reasonable price. For the best value, the Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket has two grab handles, quick-release buckles, and reflective accents for visibility. Regardless of which you choose, we know that any of the products on this list will be a solid option.
Featured Image Credit: Darinmarch, Shutterstock
- A Quick Glance at Our Favorites (2024)
- The 10 Best Dog Life Jackets
- 1. Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket – Best Overall
- 2. Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket – Best Value
- 3. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket – Premium Choice
- 4. GILI Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
- 5. Frisco Shark Dog Life Jacket
- 6. Frisco Neoprene Dog Life Jacket
- 7. Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket
- 8. VIVAGLORY Sports Style Dog Life Jacket
- 9. ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket
- 10. Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Life Jacket for Your Dog
- Features to Look for in a Dog Life Jacket
- How to Measure Your Dog for a Life Jacket
- Ensure Proper Fitting Before Heading Out