A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tricks he knew when John was a kid. No wonder we trust his opinion every time a new article is being created.
Last updated: May 01, 2021
Outdoorsly is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
It’s vital to ensure the safety of your pet when you are near the water. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, it can get tired quite quickly out there. Getting the best dog life jacket will be able to keep it safe at all times. With many different breeds of dogs and many different types of jackets out there, it can be hard to know what dog life vest you should get.
We’re here to make that choice as easy as possible for you as we’ve found the top 10 dog life jackets out there today among 46 different products. In our search, we rated the Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket the highest as it strikes a perfect balance between comfort, usability, and safety. That being said, the other 9 jackets we’ve looked at here are also great and maybe more suited to your needs.
We’ve consulted several expert sources and checked feedback from verified to give you the best information possible. The criteria we focused on included sizes, colors, materials, and weight as well as ease of use, buoyancy, fit, and comfort. We’ve spent countless hours on our extensive reviews, as well as a comprehensive buying guide, and FAQs. Let’s get started!
This camo dog life jacket is great and has all the features that make it a wonderful choice. While it’s available in the stylish camo, you could also get the pink dog life jacket, which is just another one of the 10 colors the manufacturer offers.
It has a sports-style design, and one of the most notable things here is just how comfortable your dog will find it. Part of the reason for that is the perfect fit it will give and also great mobility. While it’s fantastic for almost everyone, don’t forget to check the size beforehand to avoid possible issues.
Another great aspect of his jacket is the high security it gives you. The straps won’t come loose, and you can safely pull your dog out of the water with the wide handle. There is a decent size range, and also the jacket is quite light.
We found this to be the best dog life jacket we reviewed as it excelled in all of the testing areas. It’ll give you peace of mind and also won’t irritate your precious pooch.
Yoyoung is another company that has made a dog life jacket with a camo design and also has a mermaid and shark version. These various models look great on any dog, and there is a wide range of sizes available.
While there are XL versions, the straps can start to come loose if you have a powerful dog pulling on its leash. However, it’s hard to complain considering its affordable price tag. For most dogs, it’s going to give you a perfect fit and stay secure for the whole day.
The safety features here are great as you’re able to get the jacket on and off in no time with the quick-release buckles. There is also reflective trim on the straps, which is going to make your dog visible at night.
Usually, with a thick jacket on, you’re always going to worry about your dog overheating, especially on those sunny days. The mesh at the bottom of this jacket is going to let the air flow through and keep it cool and happy throughout the day.
What makes it special?
Great variety of designs
Perfect safety features
Secure top handle
What cons did we find?
Not the best option for large and pretty strong dogs
Ruffwear has been able to make this premium quality dog life jacket that has some fantastic qualities. It’s the most expensive model on this list, but many people are going to see that as a price worth paying.
It has a great range of size options, from extra-small to extra-large, and therefore, you should be able to find the perfect fit for your furry friend. As well as having a good range sizes, the jacket also has a great level of adjustability for added security.
Having reflective strips helps to give you peace of mind, and Ruffwear has been able to include them in a stylish way, which looks great. Apart from those reflective strips, there is a wide and durable handle that will help you pull the dog out of the water.
You can feel how well made the jacket is, and it’s going to last for many trips out to the water. It’s also very easy to take off and put on, and most importantly, it’s going to be comfortable for all-day wear.
If you’re looking for a large dog life jacket, then this could be what you need. It has an XL size but also has the durability you need for a heavy and powerful dog. The build quality is excellent, and you can tell this by the excellent stitching.
What also helps with large dogs is the dual handles that will allow you to pull them off the water. The handles are going to make it a lot easier and aren’t going to fail. While these features make it great for large dogs, it is also fantastic for any other dog with 5 sizes available.
The neoprene belly is brilliant for a few reasons. It prevents your dog from overheating, and as it has a natural level of stretch, it will also keep them comfortable and secure. That’s helped by the large adjustable tabs.
The velcro tabs make it very simple to adjust and put on. Some users have complained about sizing issues, and therefore, it’s best to double-check that to get the right fit for your dog.
Paws Abroad has been able to make a great range of vets, and this one is perfect if you’re looking for a neoprene dog life jacket. There are a few styles available, and they all look great and are made with the highest quality materials.
If you wanted the best small dog life jacket, then this would be a great bet. In total, there are four sizes available. Some versions of the jacket are neoprene, while others are made of premium nylon.
For heavy or large dogs, this isn’t going to be ideal, as there is no XL size available. For most other dogs, they are going to find this extremely comfortable with the flexible material that isn’t going to press on them or chafe.
Despite being only 7.2oz, you’ll find this jacket to be extremely durable and able to cope with any demands. It didn’t quite make our cut as the Editor’s Choice, but you’ll undoubtedly love this.
Here, we see another neoprene dog life jacket that is made of the highest quality materials. The overall construction is excellent throughout the jacket, and it should last for a long time due to the durability.
It has a terrific amount of buoyancy, and you’re not going to worry about your dog struggling in the water. For some dogs, it has a little too much buoyancy as it can lift their tail out of the water, which can make it harder to lift their head.
Along with those great materials, you’ll find a strong handle and a D-ring. These are great features for any dog life jacket, but especially important if you have a quite strong dog. It allows you to keep it controlled and safe.
Another great feature of this life jacket is that it’s not restrictive at all, and your dog shouldn’t have any problems wearing it. They should be quite content, allowing you to enjoy being by the water without needing to worry about them.
O’Brien has been well-known for a long time for making great human jackets, but they’ve also made an excellent dog life vest here. It can be the best dog life vest for anyone looking for the brightest color with that luminous yellow cover.
It’s perfect if you need a small dog life vest as it will give your pet a secure fit. This is partly due to the three secure straps that it features. It’s also well-designed to give them all-day comfort without anything pushing too hard or rubbing.
With five size options available, the life jacket is great for larger dogs. Some users have noted that the sizes can run a little too big, so you’ll want to double-check that. When checked, it’s going to be the right fit for your needs.
It’s another option that uses high-quality materials that play a part in its low weight. The life vest also has the features you want to see in each model, such as a secure D-ring attachment, quick-release buckles, and also a large handle.
While this one is available in small and medium sizes, the dog life jacket is perfect for big dogs who may struggle with traditional life vests. It’s a great aid for those that are already quite confident in the water.
The fit can feel a little loose at times, but it will remain quite secure. The straps that it uses are quite comfortable and aren’t going to rub much. You also have a large handle here that you’ll need to drag your dog out of the water.
While it doesn’t have all the qualities of neoprene, the Cordura used here specializes in one thing, and that’s strength. You won’t have to worry about the straps breaking, stitching coming apart, or the handle snapping, as this was built to last.
The lack of color options could well be a downside to some with only red available. While that doesn’t stand out very much in the water, it does have reflective straps on it that are going to give you more visibility.
Are you looking for something cute such as a dog shark life jacket? If so, this is going to be the best dog life jacket for you. As well as the dog shark life jacket, there are also a few other designs that you’re going to love.
However, there are only three size options available, which makes getting the perfect fit for your dog a little more difficult. Also, the polyester can chafe, which can make all-day a little difficult for those who are more sensitive.
An area where this dog life jacket does excel is the handle, which is easier to grip than compared to many of its rivals, and it will help you pull your dog out of the water safely. An added benefit is that the life jacket is also easy to clean after a day by the water.
The designs available here aren’t just a gimmick as the quality of those life jackets is good. They are very easy to adjust and to put them on. It helps to make this one of the easiest life jackets to use.
If you have a large dog, then you’ll want to check something else, but for smaller dogs, it’s perfect. It’s only available in small or medium sizes and gives your dog a highly secure fit and all-day comfort, even in warmer climates.
A great feature we see here is the dual handles. That makes pulling your dog out of the water very easy, and there is also a durable metal leash ring. It helps to make this one of the safest dog life jackets around.
Another reason to purchase this model is a bright yellow color. It’s easily spotted in the water should you lose sight of your beloved pet. It allows you to be by the water with the highest level of confidence.
Trying to put on a life jacket on a small dog can be quite tricky, but this makes it as easy as possible, requiring minimum fuss. The straps have large buckles that are easy to use and adjust. If you have a small dog, this can be a perfect choice.
What makes it special?
Easy to put on
What cons did we find?
Limited size options
Things to Consider
Considering how important a life jacket is, you should get one that is perfect for your dog. With many different types out there, it’s easy to get confused. In this buying guide section, we’ll give you all the information you need to be confident about what you’re purchasing. This includes going through the key features and answering some FAQs. If you have any doubts, you can simply refer back to this section.
Why getting a dog life vest is important?
Whether you are spending a day at the beach or heading out in a boat, a life jacket is always a good idea. Here we look at a few reasons why.
Not all dogs can swim – While the doggy paddle may be a type of swimming, not all dogs are great swimmers. If yours isn’t, it would quickly struggle without support.
Your pet can get exhausted – Swimming takes up a lot of energy. If your dog gets exhausted, then it could be in trouble without a life jacket.
Accidents happen – You don’t want to think about the worst that can happen, but that’s what life jackets are for. If your dog is in danger, a life jacket can save lives.
Makes your life easier – With extra visibility, warmth and carrying handles, life jackets are going to make your life a lot easier and give you peace of mind.
How to pick the best dog life jacket?
Dogs are very different from each other, not just in size but also in swimming ability, heat retention, and behavior. For us, this means suggesting just one life jacket is very difficult. We’ve looked at the top 10 great options for all types of dogs, and it’s important to know which one is most suitable for you. As we go through this guide, it’s a good idea to make a note of each section to build a picture of what you need.
Getting the right size is going to be the most important factor. If you’re unsure, then it’s the best idea to measure your dog and follow the sizing guidelines. Most of these jackets come in a wide variety of sizes, but if you’re looking for a small dog life jacket, then the SwimWays Doggie Swim Vest is going to be a great option.
There are many great large dog life jackets out there with the NRS CFD Dog Life Jacket being a great example. It has the support required for a bigger dog while also being durable enough to cope with the demands.
It’s a good idea to check customer reviews to see what others are saying about the sizing.
Design and color
While color isn’t going to be the most important factor for a dog life jacket, you’ll want your beloved pet to be noticeable by the water. If you’re hoping for a wide range of colors, then the Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket would be an excellent choice with bright and beautiful colors.
If you are looking for having a bit more fun with your designs, then the A-MORE Dog Life Jacket is brilliant as you can get a shark model, and also plenty of other options are available. While safety is the number one priority, it’s great if they look stylish or cute.
With the shell of a life jacket, you’re going to see a wide range of different materials. The likes of nylon and polyester have similar qualities as they are lightweight, durable, and don’t retain too much water.
Neoprene is often seen as the best material for life jackets, and we can see this in the Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket. It has all the qualities that the others do but at a more enhanced level. It also has natural stretching, which helps to make it very comfortable.
A lot of the dog life jackets have a mesh belly on them. This gives them a greater level of breathability and is ideal if you live in a hot climate or have a dog that overheats quickly.
With a life jacket, your dog should be able to rest in the water easily. The EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device has plenty of buoyancy and is very safe. With any life jacket, you want to see support along the back and under their neck. This allows dogs to keep afloat but also lift their heads out of the water. It’s a design that all the models we’ve looked at here have, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Weight isn’t much of an issue with life vests. This is because they are all quite light, and the difference between them is minimal. If you have a small dog, however, you may want it to be as comfortable and free in the jacket as possible.
If you wanted the lightest option, then the O’Brien Pet Life Vest would be a great choice. It is made of high-quality materials, and even though it’s lightweight, it has good durability. You shouldn’t get too hung up on weight, as once they are in the water, buoyancy is a lot more important.
At most, companies will have five size options, but there are a lot more than five breeds of dog. As well as the standard sizing, you need to have adjustability because of the differences in the chest area and neck sizes.
The dog life jackets that we have looked at here are suitable for a wide range of different activities. This is going to include boating on open water. You always want to ensure that they have enough support for their activities, as some smaller life vests aren’t going to have enough support. Dog life jackets are also perfect for going to the beach, heading to a lake, or being around any significant body of water. These life jackets are ideal for protecting them in any emergency or giving them a little extra support if they love swimming.
It’s important to clean the dog life vest regularly. If you don’t, the mold and mildew could build upon it, and there can also be dirt and grime. Cleaning is quite easy as all you need is a soft brush and some warm, soapy water. Once you have cleaned it, then you want to make sure it’s completely dry before putting it away, and it should be air-dried too. If you have a strong dog, then you should get a life jacket accordingly. Some cheaper models simply don’t have the required build quality.
Each dog is different in how they are going to adapt to a life jacket. The best piece of advice is not to head out to a large trip and put the life jacket for the first time. Here, we look over a few tips to make it as easy as possible.
Familiarize – It’s a good idea to familiarize them with a life jacket at first. Let them sniff it out and get comfortable with it.
Treat – A good way to get it over their head is to give them a treat for getting through the neck hole. It helps to give them a positive experience.
Test it – Once you’ve got it on, test it out in still and shallow water and let them get used to paddling with it.
Of course, it’s going to help a lot if the life jacket is comfortable. This is why you need a highly rated vest that isn’t going to rub or be too restrictive.
We hope by now you already have an idea of what life jacket is going to be the best one for your beloved dog.
While those three are brilliant, all 10 life jackets that we’ve looked at here have immense quality and impressive features. All that you need to do is pick the best dog life jacket for your precious pooch and enjoy your time by the water with peace of mind.