Spring and summer are right around the corner and that means visits to lakes, rivers, and the ocean for swimming or boating. If you’re an avid boater or paddler, you probably already have a life jacket for yourself and your kids. You might even have an extra for guests. Even at that, you might not have considered having one for the family dog.
Despite the fact that dogs are usually relatively strong swimmers, in any sufficiently deep body of water, it’s a risk you shouldn’t take. Dogs can sometimes get excited and leap off the side of a boat into the water. Life jackets are especially good for smaller dogs who might not be able swim back to shore.
With water weather fast approaching, consider our picks for the top five best dog life jackets to keep your pooch safe while boating.
1. Guardian Gear Aquatic Dog Preserver
This model is a fairly straight-forward example that is an excellent starter choice. It features quick-lock clips around the belly, high-visibility material including reflective strips, a handle, and a leash attachment hook. It’s available in nine sizes from teacup to XXL and in both pink and orange.
Need more options? Browse more Guardian products here.
Price: $23.33 (33 percent off MSRP)
- Simple design
- Two layers of flotation material
- Tear-resistant fabric
- Lacks front float of other models
- Some units might tear along seam
2. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device
This jacket is a higher performance model. It features the front float to keep your dog’s head above the water while they swim. The neoprene straps will comfortably provide support should you need to use the handle to life your dog out of the water. The design details are reflective, so your pup will be safe in low-light situations. It’s available in five sizes from extra small to extra large in three colors: red, yellow, and green camouflage.
Need more options? Browse more EzyDog products here.
- Front float
- 50% more flotation material than many others on the market
- Neoprene straps
- Floating balance might be off for some breeds
3. Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket
Available in five different colors (blue, brown, green, pink, yellow), this jacket is cheaper than the last, but still offers a full compliment of features. The front float on this one is a flap that goes under your dog’s head to ensure it doesn’t sink below the water. Reviewers remarked on the high quality of the workmanship. It’s available in five sizes from extra small to extra large.
Need more options? Browse more Vivaglory products here.
Price: $16.98 (50 percent off MSRP)
- Excellent price
- Reflective trim
- Front float flap may annoy some dogs
- Measure carefully — the next size up might be better
4. Outward Hound Kyjen Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
As of this writing, the small size of this life jacket was selling for an extreme deal. Even the medium size was below $20. For that price, you get a fully-featured dog life vest with yet another style of front float. It also uses bright colors and reflective details to increase visibility. The neoprene belly strap is adjustable.
Need more options? Browse more Outward Hound products here.
Price: $7.52 (75 percent off MSRP)
- Excellent price
- Two lifting handles
- Low profile
- Limited color selection
- Stitching not as rugged as other models
- Some units have buckles that don’t stay closed
5. Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Life Jacket
This model falls in the middle of the road price-wise, but offers a fun design. The belly strap uses heavy-duty Velcro to comfortably secure it to your dog. The strap is made of a breathable mesh that allows for better draining than some other models. It’s also lower profile, so your dog won’t get fatigued while swimming with it. Comes in six sizes from extra-extra small to extra large.
Need more options? Browse more Paws Aboard products here.
- Improved reflective strips
- Breathable mesh belly strap
- Flimsy handle
- Might not be the best choice for wider dogs