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.

At a Glance: Best Dog Life Jacket in 2022

Editor's PicksProduct NamePriceRating
Best OverallOutward Hound Dog Life JacketBuy on Amazon4.6
Best for SwimmingPaws Aboard Dog Life JacketBuy on Amazon4.5
High VisibilityVivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop JacketBuy on Amazon4.7
Premium PickEzyDog Dog Life Vest JacketBuy on Amazon4.7
Best DesignHaocoo Dog Life Jacket VestBuy on Amazon4.5
Budget OptionVivaglory Ripstop Dog Life JacketsBuy on Amazon4.7
Best Heavy-DutyPaws Aboard Life Jacket For DogsBuy on Amazon4.5
Best for Senior DogsZippyPaws Adventure Life JacketBuy on Amazon4.6
Best for HuntingYoyoung Dog Life VestBuy on Amazon4.2
Also GreatQueenmore Dog Life JacketBuy on Amazon4.6
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

1 Best Overall: Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket

Best Overall: Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket
Key features:
  • Made of heavy-duty ripstop material
  • Front neck float panel
  • Neoprene belly band and dual grab handles
  • Bright colors with safety reflective piping

We’re inclined to agree with countless dog owners in saying that the Outward Hound 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. With bright colors, durable heavy-duty materials, a comfortable neck panel, and the reassurance that your dog will be safe floating on top of the water without the physical stress of swimming – who wouldn’t be happy with it?

What others say about it:

My big dog loves to swim. He loves to leap in the ocean waves and swim in the rapids in our river. He always wears a life vest just in case and I’ve been very thankful he has it on when he gets worn out! It keeps his head above water and has a handle on it so I can grab him if needed. It is easy to put on and strap around him. I bought a second one for our puppy and he likes it too.

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2 Best Premium: Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket

Best Premium: Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket
Key features:
  • Adorable, fun designs
  • Advanced comfortable mesh underbelly
  • With D-ring leash attachment and grab handle

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. And with three adjustable straps, even a small dog can feel secure once it has been fastened properly. Particularly active dogs would also benefit from the customizability of sizing on this life vest, as the better the fit, the more easily they can move.

This dog life jacket is also available in 4 fun colors, 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.

What others say about it:

This is my second Paws Aboard lifejacket (my pup outgrew the first one). They seem well made and the neoprene appears to be comfortable and gives our boy the buoyancy he needs. Nice sturdy grab handle helps keep him under control when needed.

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3 High Visibility: Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

High Visibility: Vivaglory New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
Key features:
  • Enables natural movement
  • High visibility
  • CA65 test certified
  • Heavy duty fastening system
  • Durable yet comfortable

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 highly durable materials will allow you to feel completely confident when it comes to using this dog life jacket.

What others say about it:

Very happy with this purchase!! This life vest fits Makena well (measurement chart is accurate for this product), especially around the chest and neck area. The straps were long enough to accommodate if she grows bigger. She had no issues with walking, jumping, swimming and sleeping in it, it was very easy to put on and take off. It has only one handle but for her size and weight, it was fine. It’s washable in gentle cycle-cold water and allowed to air-dry.

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4 Premium Pick: EzyDog Dog Life Vest Jacket

Premium Pick: EzyDog Dog Life Vest Jacket
Key features:
  • Integrates 50% more buoyant material
  • Fully ergonomic grab handle
  • Dual wraparound body straps
  • Safety reflective trim

The EzyDog life vest 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.

One of the few downfalls of this design is that you may have very limited options for the color scheme, unfortunately. However, the exceptional buoyancy and added security of the dual wraparound body straps on the EzyDog life jacket have certainly earned it a solid place on our list of the best dog life jackets on offer. Furthermore, this vest features a sturdy ring on the back so that your dog’s leash can be clipped to it with ease.

What others say about it:

We feel such a huge relief finding a jacket that fits perfectly the first time, that he loves, and that doesn’t break the bank! The little tab on the back that looks like the place to clip a leash ripped off fairly easily so we are clipping it to his collar now. Over all great – I bought a second one for our new dog too.

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5 Best Design: Haocoo Dog Life Jacket Vest

Best Design: Haocoo Dog Life Jacket Vest
Key features:
  • Adorable complementary tail design in various styles
  • Fully adjustable belt with reflective stripes
  • Top grab handle with leash attachment
  • Durable yet comfortable construction

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. It is fully adjustable, as most dog life jackets should be, highly durable, and can be clipped to your dog’s leash at a moment’s notice! Not all dogs will appreciate having the fake take touching then as it may startle a more anxious pup, but aside from that, this adorable design is difficult to resist.

What others say about it:

Used on a 10 year old, 45 pound border collie to herd geese out of ponds on the gold course. Ordered because the dog needed a little support this year when swimming. The dog loves the extra help he is getting from the life best and everyone loves the shark fin! Keep dog upright and is easy to adjust and put on. Highly recommend.

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6 Budget Option: Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Jackets

Budget Option: Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Jackets
Key features:
  • 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

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 on the market with an extremely affordable price that suits dog owners on a budget. There’s a grab handle and a D-ring leash attachment, too, features that we believe are already standard for these kinds of dog products.

If you’re on rather a tight budget but would want your dog to be safe in the water, then Vivaglory is a great option. It is reflective, vibrant, easy-to-use, adjustable and most importantly, it is highly effective at helping keep your dog afloat.

What others say about it:

So glad I purchased these for my girls. We have a pool that they are reluctant to get in but after this past storm I realized these vests were a must for all the flooding we had. When we took them out for potty breaks during the storm the reflective parts helped us see them at night.

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7 Best Heavy-Duty: Paws Aboard Life Jacket For Dogs

Best Heavy-Duty: Paws Aboard Life Jacket For Dogs
Key features:
  • Bright colored design with safety reflective strips
  • Quick-release buckles, comfortable xelcro, and easily adjustable straps
  • Heavy duty construction with integrated grab handle

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 lifeguards, 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.

Furthermore, should your new life vest get snagged whilst your dog is in the water, the Paws Abroad dog life vest features quick-release buckles for just such an occasion. Allowing you to free your dog swiftly if the need arises.

What others say about it:

Great fit for our lab . All the closures, clip and stitching are all quality… Sturdy is the best description yet comfortable enough to be worn all day…easy on and off…keep our goodest of the good girls safe while on the boat

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8 Best For Senior Dogs: ZippyPaws Adventure Life Jacket For Dogs

Best For Senior Dogs: ZippyPaws Adventure Life Jacket For Dogs
Key features:
  • Reflective accents and red color make dogs easy to see
  • Easy to secure with adjustable straps
  • Available in size range XX-Small to X-Large

The ZippyPaws Dog Life Vest features two highly visible reflective strips along with a bright red coloration that is specifically designed to make your dog as visible as possible at all times. Furthermore, it is not only capable of keeping your dog safe with visibility but also durability. Two strong, adjustable nylon straps wrap around your dog’s belly to keep the vest secure for anything from small dogs to large dogs.

Furthermore, the ZippyPaws life vest has two extremely strong and durable handles along the back of best so that your dog can be lifted from the water easily in an urgent situation. With your dog’s girth safely and comfortably encapsulated within this affordable life jacket, you can be sure they’ll be in good hands with you whenever they’re out on a watery adventure.

What others say about it:

There are a good number of adjustable straps to ensure a snug fit on your pooch. I tested the handle as well and he’s easy to pick up without it hurting him in any way. This will make learning to kayak with mom a lot less scary.

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9 Best For Hunting: Yoyoung Dog Life Vest

Best For Hunting: Yoyoung Dog Life Vest
Key features:
  • Fully adjustable buckles and straps
  • With reflective bands and top grab handle
  • Breathable fabric construction

Onemore Choice’s Yoyoung dog life vest takes on a military vibe, with camo patterning featuring heavily on this water safety gear. It does, however, also feature two wide reflective strips that wrap around the body, so you can spot your dog with a torch if needs be. Whilst this vest might not be ideal for recreational water activities such as boating adventures, it would certainly come in handy for hunting dogs that need to blend in with their surroundings but may have to retrieve the hunted animal from water.

Dogs love to charge around when they’re out with their owners, so fortunately Yoyoung have thought of that and specifically designed this vest using breathable fabric to prevent overheating. This is especially important with hunting dogs that may spend stretches of time running on land before submerging themselves in cool water.

What others say about it:

Best purchase for my hunting dog. We are on our second vest, and love it. Easier for our dog to swim and retrieve, and he doesn’t have to work as hard. The handle on the back is sturdy, and makes it nice pulling him back into the boat. He weighs 80 lbs and is a large Labrador. I would never let him go without it now.

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10 Also Great: Queenmore Dog Life Jacket

Also Great: Queenmore Dog Life Jacket
Key features:
  • Oxford cloth and polyester material
  • Adjustable nylon straps
  • Supports neck and belly
  • D-ring hook for leash

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 humor 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 dog’s 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!

What others say about it:

We got this for our French Bulldog; had to size up due to his chest size (he’s on the bigger side for a Frenchie) so it is a little long on his back. In any case, it is sturdy, easy to adjust, and keeps him safe. He also looks adorable!

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The Best Dog Life Jackets: Buying Guide & FAQs

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 devices 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.

Why Do Dogs Need a Life Jacket?

Dog diving with life jacket

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 professional swimmers will admit that it is virtually impossible to survive on 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 in 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.

What to Look for in a Dog Life Jacket

Nova scotia duck tolling retriever running in the water in a life jacket

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.

  • Correct size

It goes without saying that getting the correct size of canine life jacket is crucial to optimizing the benefits of these devices.

  • Adjustability

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.

  • Material

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.

  • Comfort

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.

  • Buoyancy

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.

  • Color

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.

  • Security

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.

How to Measure Your Dog

Young and attractive woman enjoying a relaxing vacation on her boat playing with her lovely brown spanish water dog on the yatch

As we have mentioned above, we are dedicating this small section to helping you find the right size of life vest for your pooch. There are three measurements that you need to take from your dog.

  • Girth

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.

  • Length

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.

  • Weight

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.

If you need help finding reliable pet scales, take a look at our buying guide for support and recommendations.

Now, take those measurements and use this to determine the right kind of life jacket for your pet.

Safety Tips for Using a Life Jacket

Corgi dog in a life jacket on a stand up paddling board ready for paddling on Turquoise Lake in Colorado

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.

  • Train your pup to love wearing the life vest. Train it to swim with the life vest on as well. This is the single most important thing that you can do to improve the safety of the canine life vest.
  • It is critical to choose the right life jacket for your pooch with respect to its size, weight, and general behavior in the water. Choosing the right safety color and other safety features is also a must.
  • Make sure to secure all straps and closure mechanisms even before you board your boat or get into the water.
  • Consider the life vest that is appropriate for the type of water activity that your puppy will be engaging in. Swimming in pools will typically have laxer requirements while those used on open seas will come with stricter rules.
  • Don’t let your pup swim in your swimming pool alone even if it has a flotation device. Your supervision is an absolute must.
  • If you’re riding a boat, make sure to secure your dog on its leash. Always make it a point to stay with your dog at all times since sharp turns can easily send your pet overboard. That said, don’t let your pooch stand on the deck, too as this is usually slippery.

For a full list of our favorite options, see our round-up of the best dog leashes.

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 properly and 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.


  1. How to Teach a Dog to Swim, PetMD
  2. Colleen Demling, Your Dog Is Safer Wearing a Life Jacket (Plus It’s Super Cute), Huff Post

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely. Dog life vests are genuinely the difference between life and death for a dog that falls overboard. If you’re unable to reach them, or if you yourself go overboard and are unable to get to them, having your pup wear a dog life jacket (or float coat) keeps them afloat. At least enough so that they can focus on keeping their head above the water and getting themselves to safety.

A dog life jacket will last for as long as you have it. The best life jacket will be durable, meaning it will be able to withstand years of repeated use. They should also remain brightly colored and not be too easily bleached by the sun so as to help your dog stay visible at all times.

Dog life jackets and other life vests become useless if the foam panels take damage that affects the buoyancy of them, or if the belly straps or chest stray have had to be altered in any way. This is because a life jacket is specifically made to last, and alterations can compromise the integrity and longevity of the vest in the long run.

Fortunately, they don’t require an excessive amount of maintenance. A dog life vest only needs to be thoroughly hosed down after use, using freshwater. It should then be left in a well-ventilated area to dry completely before being stored away. If you make the mistake of storing your dog’s life jacket whilst it is still damp, there is the possibility of it developing mold.

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 a 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 our ultimate guide on the Best Dog Pools.

Eloise Hands

Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.

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