The 10 Best Dog Life Jackets

Updated April 15, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

10 Best Dog Life Jackets
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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Eliminate the need to leave Fido at home or with a pet sitter during your next beach, boating, or lake adventure. Instead, allow him to safely join in on the fun like any other member of the family by fitting him with one of these dog life jackets. Their interior foam layers are designed to provide safe buoyancy in the water, while also remaining flexible enough for unrestricted movement. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dog life jacket on Amazon.

10. Bark Brite Multipurpose

Built for use as both a backpack and a life jacket, the Bark Brite Multipurpose offers a lightweight, sturdy profile with two detachable pouches. It accommodates up to 40-inch chest sizes and 34-inch neck sizes easily, making it ideal for large-boned breeds.
  • dries fairly quickly
  • good choice for running on the beach
  • zipper is a bit finicky
Brand Bark Brite
Model pending
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Pawz Pet PPP-ZF1300

The Pawz Pet PPP-ZF1300 is available at an affordable price and sports a patriotic American flag design for taking your dog on adventures during national holidays. Its quick-release buckles and adjustable nylon straps make it super easy to put on and take off in a hurry.
  • decent option for boat trips
  • bright and attractive
  • stitching isn't very durable
Brand Pawz Pet Products
Model PPP-ZF1200
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Paws Aboard PP1300

Unlike some other models that cause heat exhaustion or chafing over time, the Paws Aboard PP1300 has a unique, breathable mesh underside for reliable draining and improved airflow, keeping your four-legged buddy energized and comfortable during any aquatic adventure.
  • helps build swimming confidence
  • sleek and stylish looking
  • d-ring is flimsy
Brand Paws Aboard
Model PP1300
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Hurtta 930645

Ideal for water rescue, rehabilitation, and hunting activities, the Hurtta 930645 boasts reflective fabric on its back for superior nighttime visibility. The slip-resistant underbelly section distributes a pet's weight evenly without compromising the overall fit.
  • neck tag for owner identification
  • accommodates broad-chested dogs
  • adjusting the straps is cumbersome
Brand Hurtta
Model 930645
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

6. Outward Hound Standley Sport

The rugged design of the Outward Hound Standley Sport makes it a great choice for the most experienced and devoted of doggy swimmers. It features two separate handles for easy lifting as well as a mesh-style belly band that ensures rapid water drainage.
  • easy to fasten and remove
  • materials are breathable
  • needs some additional padding
Brand Outward Hound
Model 22075
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Swimways Sea Squirts

Make Fido the center of attention in and out of the water with the Swimways Sea Squirts. Its dorsal fin is flexible, fun to look at, and quite useful when it comes to getting quick control over his aquatic movements. However, the Velcro straps tend to attract a lot of fur.
  • full-body flotation support
  • price is affordable
  • it's on the bulky side
Brand SwimWays
Model 41150-151
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Vivaglory Pet Vest

Support a canine's natural swimming instinct without sacrificing safety on any raft or boat using the Vivaglory Pet Vest. The combination of its extra padding, dependable Velcro fastening system, and removable front floaters help keep a pup's head above water at all times.
  • lightweight design
  • available in many colors
  • not ideal for long-haired breeds
Brand Vivaglory
Model pending
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. EzyDog DFD

The dependable EzyDog DFD has a core construction consisting of a material that is up to 50 percent more buoyant than its competition. An ergonomically-designed, integrated grab handle provides a quick and easy way to guide your furry friend both into and out of the water.
  • neoprene belly straps
  • fits dogs up to 90 pounds
  • won't hinder natural movement
Brand EzyDog
Model 807203115056
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Kurgo Surf N Turf

Thanks to a removable flotation liner, the multifunctional Kurgo Surf N Turf can be used as either a life vest or a rain coat, depending on your circumstances. Its outer shell is made from strong ripstop polyester, allowing it to withstand heavy abuse.
  • metal d-rings for leashes
  • lifetime warranty against defects
  • it is machine washable
Brand Kurgo
Model 01141
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat

Made for dogs of all shapes and sizes, the Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat is equipped with a permanently-attached telescoping neck closure that adjusts quickly for a safe and secure fit. The closed-cell foam panels promote a natural and nonrestrictive swimming position.
  • easy-to-see reflective trim
  • durable buckles and straps
  • perfect for kayaking
Brand Ruffwear
Model 45101-615L1
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Barking And Buoyancy

A life jacket for a dog operates on the same principles as a personal flotation device 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 make 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 a dog proves difficult. However, 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 low 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 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 could. 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 needed to ensure a pet's 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 buckles. 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 see 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

Life jackets in their most primitive form appeared at the beginning of the 19th 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. These cells were flexible and more comfortable to wear than cork material. Around the time of World War Two, foam replaced kapok.

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 on April 15, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.


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