7 Best Dog Life Jackets: Your Buyer’s Guide

dog life jacket

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 best dog life jackets to keep your pooch safe while boating.

What's the best dog life jacket?

Ruffwear k9 float coat dog life jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Durable, abrasion-resistant materials
  • Leash and light attachment points
  • Simple, straighforward adjustments
Price: $79.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Kurgo dog life jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Convertible two-in-one use
  • Transverse handles
  • Two leash attachment points
Price: $50.36 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Guardian Gear dog life jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Simple design
  • Two layers of flotation material
  • Tear-resistant fabric
Price: $34.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
EzyDog dog life jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Front float
  • 50% more flotation material
  • Neoprene straps
Price: $55.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Vivaglory dog life jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent price
  • Reflective trim
  • Eight virbrant colors
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Outward Hound dog life jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent price
  • Two lifting handles
  • Low profile
Price: $22.18 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Paws aboard dog life jacket Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Improved reflective strips
  • Breathable mesh belly strap
  • Neoprene construction
Price: $26.75 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Ruffwear K9 Float Coat Dog Life Jacket

    Pros:
    • Durable, abrasion-resistant materials
    • Leash and light attachment points
    • Simple, straighforward adjustments
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Front-focused flotation might not suit all dog shapes
    • Chest strap may come loose

    Ruffwear makes some of my favorite dog gear, including a number of dog hiking backpacks including the Singletrak, which I use with my husky mix. It makes sense that they’d offer a dog life jacket, then, with all that experience making form-fitting dog gear. This is the K9 Float Coat, which is a cut above other dog life jackets in terms of materials quality. It has a price to match, of course, but if you want to get more than one summer out of a product like this, it’s worth considering.

    This model uses abrasion resistant materials with an integrated front float that has an easy neck adjustment. It has reflective trim as well a spot for adding the waterproof Ruffwear Beacon for added visibility. The buckles on the underside are semi-hidden but still easy to access and close.

    Choose from six sizes from extra small to extra large in the following colors: Blue Atoll, Wave Orange, or Sockeye Red.

  2. 2. Kurgo Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket

    Pros:
    • Convertible two-in-one use between dog life jacket and raincoat
    • Transverse handles
    • Two leash attachment points
    Cons:
    • No color options
    • Won't fit all dogs perfectly
    • Ripstop fabric could be more durable

    This offering from Kurgo bridges the gap between the Ruffwear Float Coat and the rest of this list both in terms of price and materials. It features some of the Ruffwear’s durable material on the front float, but opts for more standard ripstop for most of the unit.

    It offers two lift handles oriented in two different directions, as well as two medal d-rings for leash and tether use. What really sets this apart though is that it’s actually a two-in-one jacket. The flotation pads are removable, converting it into a dog raincoat. The usual reflective trim and Kurgo’s lifetime warranty complete the package.

    Five sizes from extra small to extra large are available, though this is the only color they offer.

  3. 3. Guardian Gear Aquatic Dog Preserver Dog Life Jacket

    Pros:
    • Simple design
    • Two layers of flotation material
    • Tear-resistant fabric
    Cons:
    • Lacks front float of other models
    • Some units might tear along seam
    • Sizing could be more accurate

    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 yellow and orange.

  4. 4. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Dog Life Jacket

    Pros:
    • Front float
    • 50% more flotation material than many others on the market
    • Neoprene straps
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Floating balance might be off for some breeds
    • Boxy rear design can make some fits awkward

    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.

  5. 5. Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket

    Pros:
    • Excellent price
    • Reflective trim
    • Eight virbrant colors
    Cons:
    • Front float flap may annoy some dogs
    • Measure carefully — the next size up might be better
    • May be prone to tearing

    Available in five sizes and eight different colors, 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.

    The much lower price may be explained by reduced durability compared to some other options, but if you only need a dog life jacket rarely, this could still be a good fit for your needs. They also have a sport style version, which may prove more durable.

    It’s available in five sizes from extra small to extra large. The available colors are blue, yellow, pink, camo blue, camo pink, extra reflective green, extra reflective orange, and extra reflective yellow.

  6. 6. Outward Hound Kyjen Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

    Pros:
    • Excellent price
    • Two lifting handles
    • Low profile
    Cons:
    • Limited color selection
    • Stitching not as rugged as other models
    • Some units have buckles that don’t stay closed

    Outward Hound makes a number of very good dog products we’ve recommended in the past, so the fact that their dog life jacket ranks among the least expensive available makes a strong case. The design is quite similar to the Vivaglory offering, though functionality is improved with dual lift handles and a neoprene belly piece.

    Similar to the Vivaglory, the front float is large and may annoy some dogs, but will certainly help to keep their heads above water. Unlike the Vivaglory, however, you can only choose from orange or a whimsical clown fish colorway. There are five sizes ranging from extra small to extra large.

    You might also want to consider the Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket if you like the brand but want more options.

  7. 7. Paws Aboard Red Neoprene Dog Life Jacket

    Pros:
    • Improved reflective strips
    • Breathable mesh belly strap
    • Neoprene construction
    Cons:
    • Flimsy handle
    • Might not be the best choice for wider dogs
    • Velcro may age neoprene faster

    This model falls in the middle of the road price-wise, but offers a few fun designs to spice things up. 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.

    Also unlike other models, the outer shell is made from neoprene for a softer overall feel. Neoprene may breathe easier than the nylon or oxford material of other units, though ultimately it may not make much of a difference.

    Comes in six sizes from extra-extra small to extra large, though pattern and size availability was somewhat spotty at the time of this writing. Time it right and you could get a relatively inexpensive but compelling option in your choice of fun patterns.

See Also:

 


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