10 Best Dog Life Jackets | March 2017

We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Now Rover doesn't have to stay at home when you go on your next boating, beach or lake adventure. Let your pooch join in the fun and stay safe in the water with one of these dog life jackets. Skip to the best dog life jacket on Amazon.
10 Best Dog Life Jackets | March 2017

Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 10
Best Inexpensive
The JZHY Safety fits snugly on small dogs with no room for them to wiggle out, and helps timid dogs feel safer going into the water. Plus it floats well in turbulent waters, like the ocean, but the clips are plastic and may break.
The Guardian Aquatic is constructed of tear-resistant flotation material, with non-restrictive straps for added comfort. The large size also fits rounder dogs, like bulldogs. Unfortunately, it may cause dogs to flip over sometimes.
Rely on the First Aid-USA AKC on your next adventure, featuring a comfortable three-panel design, padded neck support and an included reusable mesh storage bag. The material is also lightweight and flexible, giving your dog room to move around.
Rest assured with the Paws Aboard PP1300, equipped with an advanced breathable mesh underbelly for proper draining that prevents issues like heat exhaustion or chafing. It's great for smaller dogs.
  • has a sturdy feel when you lift your dog
  • cute polka dot pattern
  • could use additional chin support
Brand Paws Aboard
Model PP1300
Weight 7.2 ounces
As the #1 rated jacket in Europe, the Hurtta Collection 930658 fits most breeds, and is designed for use in swimming, water rescue, rehabilitation and hunting. Its minimal design makes it perfect for a doggy's first life jacket.
  • neck tag for owner identification
  • distributes weight evenly for comfort
  • the fabric's dye can run
Brand Hurtta
Model 930658
Weight 1.3 pounds
The durable SCT PupSaver is made of 100% ripstop polyester in a lightweight design to reduce a dog's stress while exploring the outdoors. There are also Velcro pockets to store valuables or pet treats, and highly reflective tape makes it easy to spot in low lighting.
  • padded with 15 mm thick foam rubber
  • high quality construction
  • only available in size large
Brand SCT
Model pending
Weight pending
The high-performing EzyDog DFD provides an ergonomic and comfortable fit with a unique foam that keeps your dog in a natural position at all times. Because of the design, most dogs are happy to keep it on, even on land.
  • weighs only one pound
  • supports dogs up to 90 pounds
  • back part is a bit bulky
Brand EzyDog
Model 807203115056
Weight 1.2 pounds
Keep your pup's head above water with the Outward Hound 22022, which has extra buoyant floats on the front. It also features high visibility colors and a neoprene belly band that's comfortable on your pup.
  • low profile and not too bulky
  • very easy to put on and adjust
  • quickly dries in the sun
Brand Outward Hound
Model 22022
Weight 1.2 pounds
The Pawz Pet Products PPP-ZF1500 features an American flag design, so it's perfect for taking your pup boating on national holidays. The jacket also has reflective strips so people can spot your dog at night. Top placed handle makes it fast to grab your dog if need be.
  • quick-release buckles
  • d-ring on top for leash attachment
  • dogs who cannot swim feel safe in it
Brand Pawz Pet Products
Model PPP-ZF1500
Weight 8 ounces
The premium Ruffwear K9 is designed for dogs of all shapes and sizes, with a telescoping neck closure that adjusts to provide a safe and secure environment. There is also a handle on top for you to help your dog out of the water.
  • well positioned closed cell foam panels
  • buckles clip easily and stay in place
  • fits dog girths from 27-32 inches
Brand Ruffwear
Model 45101-615M
Weight 15.2 ounces

Barking And Buoyancy

A life jacket for a dog operates on the same principles as a personal flotation device (PFD) does for humans, being that it is a simple piece of wearable equipment that gives the dog buoyancy in the water while protecting the animal from swimming fatigue, possible water intoxication or drowning.

Two types of PFDs for dogs include life jackets and life vests. The life jacket normally covers the dog's entire body and is designed for use on a boat or at the beach. Should a pet fall off a boat or be carried by an ocean current, the jacket will help to keep the dog afloat for quick rescue. These types of jackets are often sold in bright colors (e.g. reds and yellows), which makes the animal easy to spot. They are also equipped with grabbing handles on the back to assist in hoisting a dog out of the water during retrieval.

The life jacket is important in situations when constant monitoring of the dog proves difficult, though it's never a good idea to leave a pet unsupervised in the water for any length of time. The life vest is designed more for recreational swimming in a pool and for exercise than it is for ocean swimming.

Similar to flotation devices designed for humans, dog life jackets are often constructed from closed cell foam due to its light weight, high density, and its ability to comfortably wrap around a dog's torso and neck to keep the animal's head above water. Dog life jackets come in a variety of sizes and most have adjustable straps for accommodating any range of breeds from small to large. Automatic, inflatable life jackets can provide additional buoyancy, while remaining less bulky than their traditional passive counterparts, but they are less common and typically more expensive than conventional life jackets.

It's easy to assume that a pet has amazing stamina to overcome the difficulties of the elements better than a human being can. This might make a person wonder whether their dog would even need a life jacket in the first place. The fact is that while a dog does have strength, he is just as vulnerable to fatigue, confusion, and accidents as people are. For that reason, the dog life jacket serves many benefits. Some breeds have considerably less body fat than others, making it more difficult to stay afloat. The life jacket provides the extra buoyancy these dogs need to ensure their safety.

For puppies and older dogs with less stamina, the jacket offers additional assurance that they can remain afloat if they get too tired. Dogs are also preprogrammed with certain primal instincts, whether it's hunting, chasing, or jumping. If the pet is on a boat and sees a duck in the water, his instinct takes over. It may seem like he's possessed to go after the water fowl. In such an unanticipated circumstance, the dog may forget about his own muscles, the temperature of the water, or the fact that he's getting tired, leading to a potentially dangerous outcome. If he's at least covered with a flotation device like a life jacket, it's easy enough to retrieve him.

Keeping Your Pup Safe In The Water

Whatever life jacket you choose to invest in, it should have a sturdy grabbing handle. This will make lifting an adult, large breed dog out of the water much easier. Pay attention to the location of a jacket's straps and buckle. While safety is important, your dog should also be comfortable and not have its mobility restricted when out of the water.

Depending on the size of the dog and jacket, many will offer a range of adjustments, which can be helpful for a growing puppy. Making sure the jacket is durable and packed with plenty of foam and other buoyant materials will also be integral to the pet's safety.

A life jacket with reflective tape and bright colors affords you the freedom and peace of mind to go boating with your furry friend at night. This way, you'll always seem him should he happen to be splashing in the water after the sun goes down, regardless of whether he's in the ocean or a swimming pool.

A Brief History Of The Dog Life Jacket

The earliest appearance of life jackets in their most primitive form appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century when purpose-designed safety devices made from blocks of wood and cork were used by Norwegian seamen. One of the first cork life jackets was available for sale in 1804.

The invention of the modern life jacket is credited to Captain Ward, an inspector for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution of the United Kingdom in 1854. This first jacket was worn by lifeboat crews for weather protection and buoyancy. In 1900, French electrical engineer and inventor Gustave Pierre Trouvé invented the first battery-powered life jacket that leveraged rubber-insulated electric batteries to both inflate the device and power its SOS receiver and transmitter light.

As development of the jacket technology evolved over time, cork material was eventually replaced by pouches with watertight cells filled with a vegetable material known as kapok. The cells were flexible and more comfortable to wear than cork material. Around the time of World War Two, kapok was replaced by foam.

Life jackets specifically designed for dogs were not introduced nor did they gain popularity until the mid-1990s, at which point they became available in pet shops, marine supply stores, and on the Internet. Today, life jackets for dogs are available in a variety of colors and inflatable options, including auto-inflatable devices designed to keep a pet horizontally balanced in the water.

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Last updated: 03/29/2017 | Authorship Information