Best dog life vest: Be water smart

Best dog life vest

Whether you’re lazing by the pool, strolling by the sea, or off on a sailing or kayaking adventure, keeping your dog safe around water is a must.

Even though many dogs enjoy the water and are excellent swimmers, they can still find themselves in trouble. Fatigue, strong currents, and cold water can all affect your dog’s ability to stay afloat. Investing in a dog life jacket will give you peace of mind and protect your dog from getting into difficulties while in the water. Our top pick for the best dog life vest is the No products found. but for more options, read below.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best dog life vests

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Do dogs need a life vest?

It’s never a good idea to assume that your dog can swim. While many are perfectly happy in the water, others struggle to stay afloat. Some breeds of dogs are just not well-designed for water activities. Short legs, heavy heads, and dense bones all make swimming a struggle.

Boxers, pugs, and Boston terriers, for example, are top-heavy, which makes keeping their head above water difficult. Meanwhile, Dachshunds and Bassett Hounds have such short legs and must work exceptionally hard to stay afloat. All brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs and Pekingese find it challenging to keep their muzzles out of the water.

Besides the breed limitations, some dogs just don’t like the water. It’s not uncommon for dogs to panic if they find themselves in a pool or open water, and that can lead to disaster. But even if your dog is a good swimmer, it’s worth investing in a life vest if you are spending any time in or around water.

Not only do dogs tire much more quickly in water than they do on land, but they get chilled too. This is especially true of small dogs, puppies, and seniors that need extra care in water. Getting your dog to wear a life jacket will help your dog safe in the water. Not only that, but many dog life jackets feature reflective trim, which makes it easier to see your dog if the worse happens and they fall overboard.

Supervised swimming

While a dog life vest dramatically reduces the dangers linked with swimming, they are no substitute for a watchful eye.

Whether your dog swims in a pool, lake, stream, or even open water, they can quickly get into trouble. Strong currents, fatigue, underwater hazards, choking, panic, and low temperatures are all potential dangers that make it difficult for your dog to keep its head above water. Never leave your dog unsupervised while they are in the water, even if they are wearing a life vest.

Dog life jacket – Sizing

Getting a dog life vest that fits well is vital to keep your dog safe in the water. Manufacturer’s sizes vary. So while many brands offer small, medium, and large sizes, it’s important to measure your dog carefully based on the measuring instructions of the vest that you choose.

However, there are some standard measurements that you’ll almost certainly need;

  • Neck: Measure around where your dog’s collar would usually sit
  • Chest circumference: Measure your dog’s chest, usually just behind the front legs and all the way round
  • Length: This is from your dog’s collar to the base of their tail
  • Weight: Some manufacturers provide a recommended weight for their life vests. This ensures adequate buoyancy, so essential to get it right.

If you find that your dog is between sizes, always opt for the larger size and adjust down. A well-fitting life vest should be snug without being tight. You should be able to slip two fingers between your dog and the jacket. Your dog should still have a good range of motion once they are wearing a jacket. Look for any areas of chafing or discomfort.

Also, check that the jacket looks balanced. Is it sitting too far forward or back? Does it ride up around the neck, for example? Once you’re satisfied with the fit, you’re ready to take the life vest for a test run.

What to look for in the best dog life vest

There is a wide range of choices when it comes to life jackets. But there are few key features to look for when picking one for your dog.

Fit – This is probably the most important consideration when picking a life vest. The fit should be snug but not tight. Your dog should still have a full range of motion without chafing.

Visibility – While not quite as important if you’re sticking to a pool, if you’re taking your dog out in open water, good visibility is a must. Look for bright colors and reflective trim as it can make the difference between rescue and disaster.

Buoyancy – It may seem obvious, but buoyancy is critical. Vests vary in how much and where they place flotation materials. For instance, some may have additional flotation pads under the chin, which help keep a dog’s head above water and is perfect for top-heavy dogs.

Handles – Top handles provide an easy way to lift your dog out of the water. These should be durable and positioned so that as you lift, your dog’s head doesn’t drop down into the water. For bigger or top-heavy dogs, double handles are ideal.

Leash attachment ring — If it’s impossible to lift your dog out of the water for some reason, for example, your dog’s size or strong current, a leash attachment ring or loop can prove invaluable. It enables you to keep your dog close until you can get help.

The best dog life vest

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With six sizes and five color choices, this Granby life jacket from Outward Hound is a sound choice.

The brightly colored ripstop material also has multiple reflective strips, making it much easier to spot your dog in the water. Not only that, but it has two grab handles on the top handily placed over the shoulders and belly, which makes lifting your dog out of the water-a lot simpler.

The vest has both belly and chest adjustable straps and a handy neck flotation pad that helps keep your dog’s head out of the water. What’s more, each size has a four-inch adjustment range which means the chances of getting a vest to fit your dog well is high.


  • This life vest is light and easy to put on and take off
  • Good adjustability
  • The neoprene belly band is soft and comfortable
  • Colors are vivid, and the reflective strips add additional visibility


  • It could do with a leash hook up, You can attach a carabiner to the top handle, but it isn’t ideal.
  • There’s no reinforced stitching around the grab handles – not much of an issue for a small dog, but larger dogs’ weight is likely to rip the fabric.
  • Measure your dog’s girth carefully as sizing is tricky

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Available in five sizes and eight colors, there’s a lot of versatility in this flotation device from Vivaglory. Made from durable ripstop fabric with additional material underneath to protect your dog’s belly. This life vest also has extra padding for improved buoyancy.

The Vivaglory life jacket for dogs is easy to put on and take off as it features quick-release buckles, and there’s a grab handle on top to help get your dog in and out of the water. Not only that, but this life jacket comes with a leash clip if you need more control of your dog while they are swimming. All the color options have reflective trim making it easier to spot your dog in low light.


  • The additional material over the tummy area provides extra security and stops straps from rubbing.
  • As the range of sizes and adjustability is good, it means there’s a decent chance of getting a vest that fits well.


  • This jacket is well-padded. However, the vest’s rear is as padded as the front, which means top-heavy dogs will struggle to keep their heads above water.
  • The leash clip is plastic and won’t stand much wear and tear

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This heavy-duty polyester vest from EzyDog is durable and has extra-wide neoprene belly straps with quick-release adjustable straps.

What we particularly like is that this dog life jacket comes with additional buoyancy around the contoured neck that not only offers a comfortable fit but also helps keep your dog in a natural swimming position.

With six sizes and three bright colors, it offers a lot of versatility. Each of the colors comes with reflective strips, an integral grab handle so that you can help your dog in and out of the water, and a sturdy D ring for when you need to attach a leash. There are also three sizing points, girth, length, and weight, that help get the perfect fit.


  • Well-constructed
  • The extra-wide straps are perfect for heavier dogs
  • The buoyancy is excellent, so no need to worry about your dog staying afloat


  • The grab handle is low profile, so it’s not easy to grasp in an emergency
  • Bulky, especially the neck strap

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This Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket features quick-dry, breathable neoprene fabrics. With a mesh belly, it keeps your dog cool and offers all-day comfort. Lightweight and flexible, it won’t restrict your dog in any way. What’s more, the collar is adjustable so that you can get the perfect fit.

Not only that, but this coat has a durable grab handle, adjustable straps, and quick-release buckles that tuck away to prevent them from getting caught accidentally.

It comes in is eight bright colors, all with reflective trim, so that your dog is easily visible even in poor light. What’s more, it’s also available in six sizes, so you’re bound to find the right size and design for your dog.


  • Lightweight and well-padded without being bulky
  • The top handle holds up well when lifting your dog in and out of the water
  • The mesh belly strap is perfect for warmer days and allows airflow, and reduces the drying time.


  • The D ring for a leash is a bit flimsy
  • The jacket seems a bit unbalanced – long-bodied dogs may find it difficult to stay upright.

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This Surf N Turf dog life vest from Kurgo has a trick up its sleeve. You can remove the flotation layer, and it doubles as a raincoat. This two-season coat is perfect for both the spring and the summer, as well as daily walks when it’s wet.

The life vest comes with two grab handles, one standard one that runs along the top from head to tail and another that runs from side to side, offering greater flexibility when lifting your dog from the water. It’s also made from tough ripstop fabric and has two D-rings enabling secure leash connections.

This dog life jacket comes in five sizes and measured using three sizing points – girth, neck, and back to ensure the perfect fit. The velcro fastening system is supported by adjustable straps adding additional security, and it comes in bright red with reflective trim, so your dog is always visible.


  • Three sizing points make getting the perfect fit simple
  • Sturdy, durable, and comfortable, it’s tapered, which makes it less bulky than some other brands
  • It’s great to have the option of using it as a weatherproof jacket as well as a life vest


  • As with most life vests, if you have a large dog, it can be very uncomfortable for your dog if you need to lift them out of the water as there is no padding under the belly.
  • It’s a small pint, but it’s only available in red
  • The belly straps run through loops that are intended to hold the straps in place. However, these are single stitched and rip easily

Best dog life vest conclusion

When it comes to your dog’s safety, you need a life jacket that is reliable, well-made, and durable. And we love the No products found. for those very reasons.

The Paws Aboard jacket is worth the investment if you and your dog spend any time in and around water. This vest is constructed to last, and we particularly like the tuck-away straps as they minimize the chances of your dog getting caught on anything as they swim.

Last update on 2024-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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