One of the most intriguing questions we’ve heard from a number of dog owners is related to the use of life jackets for dogs. It is quite easy why a lot of folks are actually baffled by the notion of putting on a flotation device on your pooch. However, even the most seasoned of swimmers can meet his match especially with the unpredictability of Mother Nature. It is hence the purpose of this guide to shed light into this ‘intrigue’ and give you a heads-up on the best dog life jackets currently in the market.
We’re inclined to agree with countless dog owners in saying that the Outward Hound Kyjen Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket is undoubtedly the best. It has a simple yet very effective design, thanks to the integration of a variety of features that include a front neck panel serving as a float for your pooch’s head, a neoprene belly band for optimum support in their torso, and a ripstop panel that houses the Kyjen’s flotation mechanism. Overall, it clearly is one of the best, if not already the best.
Made of heavy duty ripstop material
Front neck float panel
Neoprene belly band
Dual grab handles
Bright colors with safety reflective piping
If there’s one thing going on for the Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket, that would be its exceptional range of sizes available. We believe they have a size even for puppies at XXS. It is also available in 4 different designs, although personally, we think only the neon yellow is exceptional when it comes to increasing your pooch’s visibility in the water. Regardless, many dog owners also consider the Paws Aboard as an exceptional product for its simple design, superb buoyancy, and ease of use.
Adorable, fun designs
Advanced comfortable mesh underbelly
With D-ring leash attachment and grab handle
This dog life jacket from Vivaglory has been designed with your dog in mind. Able to support free and fluid movement, it supports your dog in hydrotherapy, or can simply be used for swimming around the local pond. Able to use their paws to keep themselves afloat, alongside the help of this life jacket for dogs, this option will keep your dog feeling confident, as well as safe.
The high visibility means you can always keep an eye on where your dog is having a paddle, while the CA65 verification provides you with additional peace of mind. A secure fastening system and high durable materials will allow you to feel completely confident, when it comes to using this dog life jacket.
Enables natural movement
CA65 test certified
Heavy duty fastening system
Durable yet comfortable
The EzyDog is one canine flotation jacket that somehow reminds us of the kind of life vest worn by whitewater rafters. It’s cozy and sporty and has that edgy look to it. Underneath its sporty look, however, is a system that allows it to increase its buoyancy by up to 50 percent. The EzyDog already comes with the standard features you’d expect from a high quality dog life vest. You may have very limited options to the color scheme, unfortunately.
Integrates 50% more buoyant material
Fully ergonomic grab handle
Dual wraparound body straps
Safety reflective trim
One of the most interesting things we noticed about the HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket is the inclusion of two aquatic-themed tail design variations. For instance, they’ve got a mermaid tail and the dorsal fin of a shark. At any rate, getting these design variations should allow your pooch to walk with the HAOCOO on its back, not only on water. Of course, if you don’t like these whimsical designs, you can always stick with the more conventional ones. The HAOCOO is a great alternative to other more expensive brands.
Adorable complementary tail design in various styles
Fully adjustable belt with reflective stripes
Top grab handle with leash attachment
Durable yet comfortable construction
If you’re not ready to shell out a few tens of dollars on a canine flotation device, then we have something for you. Consider Vivaglory, one of the least expensive canine life vests in the market that is equally effective in providing buoyancy for your pooch. There’s grab handle and a D-ring leash attachment, too, features that we believe are already standard for these kinds of dog products. That is why, if you’re rather on a tight budget but would want your dog to be safe in the water, then Vivaglory is a great option.
Additional buoyant padding in durable construction
Bright colored designs with safety reflective bands
Top grab handle with D-ring leash attachment
Fully adjustable straps and easy to fasten buckles
Fans of Baywatch will love the Paws Aboard Fido Neoprene Doggy Life Jacket. While you may be put off by the fact that it’s only available in red, the way in which the life jacket is designed does give you a feel for the Baywatch series or for our hardworking life guards, for that matter. With a white cross emblazoned on the center panel of the Fido and completed with easy-snap buckles, Velcro neck closure, and reflective trims, the Fido is always a good choice.
Bright colored design with safety reflective strips
Quick-release buckles, comfortable Velcro, and easily-adjustable straps
Heavy duty construction with integrated grab handle
This has got to be the most adorable canine life jackets we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, we honestly don’t think you should let your dog wear this when going out to sea. For swimming pools and shallower and calmer bodies of water perhaps, but it’s definitely not for the ocean. We believe the SwimWays Sea Squirts Dog Life Vest is more of a fashion vest than it is an actual life saver. Nevertheless, it’s cute and can be used on daily dog walks, too.
Whimsical blue shark design with shark fin
Comes with D-ring leash attachment
Durable yet comfortable fabric construction
We think designers from Onemore Choice have a fascination for the military when they decided to go on a camouflage theme for their Camo Pet Life Preserver Jacket. Given the camouflage pattern of the Onemore, this will be quite difficult to spot in the open seas. It may be very useful, however, on calmer waters like the lake or even a swimming pool.
Fully adjustable buckles and straps
With reflective bands and top grab handle
Breathable fabric construction
If you’re looking for something a little more quirky to use as a dog life vest, then this may just be the best option for your needs. A touch of humour and a little fin may keep a smile on your face – but it’ll also allow you to keep tabs on where your dog is paddling.
At the same time, this option works to support your dogs neck, chest and belly, to help them maintain a healthy posture while swimming and keeping them well-supported in water. Adjustable nylon straps will help owners to keep everything secure, while the solid D-ring for a leash attachment can be used, if you want to keep a closer eye on your pup – or simply if you want them prepared for the water, before you reach the pond!
Oxford cloth and polyester material
Adjustable nylon straps
Supports neck and belly
D-ring hook for leash
There are some folks that simply do not appreciate the value of having dogs wear a life jacket that is specifically designed for them. In the succeeding sections, we’ll try to understand the rational underpinnings of the use of such device in dogs, the various activities wherein such contraptions can be used, the things you need to look for when purchasing one, measuring your dog’s size, and a review of some safety tips whenever your pooch is going to use any of these devices.
The most important thing to remember is that all organisms, humans and dogs included, will always have moments of vulnerability. They may fall sick, become injured, or simply grow tired of constantly paddling their feet in an effort to stay afloat. Even the most veteran of professional swimmers will admit that it is virtually impossible to survive in the open seas without some form of tool that will help you stay afloat. The point is that the body of an organism, be it human or dog, has its limitations.
The same is true with dogs. They may be bred specifically to swim, but strong currents can literally suck them under the water and fade away from our memories forever. Or, they can suffer muscular problems while paddling on calmer waters. Or, dogs simply reached their exhaustion limits that they no longer have the strength to keep on swimming.
Then, there is also the question of breed adaptability. Some breeds are born to swim, yes. But there are also breeds that are simply not born to be Michael Phelps or the average Joe in your neighborhood swimming class. There are also dogs that have joint problems. Lastly, we never trained our dog how to behave in case it fell into the water by accident.
There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when employing the use of such devices. However, as a general rule, we always tell our friends to consider letting their pooches wear an appropriate dog life jacket whenever they go in the water, regardless of what type of body of water that may be.
For instance, having a great day in your swimming pool will typically require canine life vest especially if you have a pooch that is a bit skittish going into the water. If you have an elderly pooch or a dog that is suffering from arthritis or other joint problems such as hip dysplasia, then assisting them in their hydrotherapy can be made a lot easier if they are wearing a life vest.
Read here our ultimate guide on the Best Dog Pools.
Choosing the right life jacket for your pooch is almost the same as picking the right one for yourself. There are simply certain things that you really have to look for. Here are some of them.
It goes without saying that getting the correct size of canine life jacket is crucial to optimizing the benefits of these devices.
This goes hand in hand with getting the correct size of the contraption. It is perfectly okay to get something a little bigger than the actual measurements of your pooch as long as the gadget comes with fully adjustable mechanisms.
There are a variety of materials that are used in canine life vests. Your choices usually range from neoprene to nylon to oxford and a whole lot more.
This is more often a function of the material that is used in the construction of the doggie life vest. Some materials are quite rough that somehow scrape your dog’s skin, leading to irritation and perhaps even inflammation. Something soft and cushiony should do the job.
You may have to look for additional padding or buoyant mechanisms to help keep your pooch afloat. Anxious dogs will usually require more buoyancy since they can struggle in the water. There are also dogs that are definitely heavier than normal, so they too will need more flotation.
If your pooch is going to use the life vest in your swimming pool, it really doesn’t matter what color you choose. However, if we’re talking about the open seas or even a large lake, you’ll need a really bright colored life vest to get your attention even from a distance. This is because of the tiny reflections made by the sun’s rays against the shifting current making it super easy to miss a dog that has a life vest if its life jacket happens to be in a color that hardly gets your attention.
When it comes to security features, we’re essentially talking about the straps, buckles, and even grab handle. The latter is an absolute must especially if you’re in rough or deep waters. You would want to have a mechanism with which to easily haul your pooch into your boat.
Check out our article on Dog Sleeping Bags.
As we have mentioned above, we are dedicating this small section to help you find the right size of life vest for your pooch. There are three measurements that you need to take from your dog.
This relates to your pet’s chest circumference or that part of its body that is the widest. This is usually in the area just behind its front legs. Use your cloth tape measure and wrap it around this widest section of its body.
Take your cloth tape measure and stretch it along the length of your pet’s back with the tip of the tape measure located just at the area where its neck meets its back. Extend the tape measure until about two to three inches before the tail joins the back. This is your length measurement.
The weight of your pooch matters since the amount of buoyancy will depend on this. Remember, the heavier the pooch the greater buoyant force will be needed.
Check out pet scales.
Now, take those measurements and use this to determine the right kind of life jacket for your pet.
Without a doubt life jackets save lives, even that of your beloved pooch. Here are some tips to help you optimize the safety properties of your dog’s life jacket.
You may also like our review of Dog Cooling Vests.
Life jackets are important pieces of safety devices for both humans and dogs. However, to really optimize the safety benefits of such a device, it is imperative that we train our dogs and to never leave them out of our sight. Remember, even the strongest swimmer can still fall prey to the wrath of Mother Nature’s waters. And you can start improving your dog’s safety in water with these dog life jackets we have featured in this post.
Take a look at our ultimate guide on Dog Leashes.
Colleen Demling, Your Dog Is Safer Wearing a Life Jacket (Plus It’s Super Cute), Huff Post