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10 Best Dog Life Jackets & Vests – 2024 Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

black dog with life jacket standing on a kayak

Whether you’re planning a day on the boat or simply taking your furry friend for a swim, keeping your dog safe on the water is a top priority. That’s where life jackets for dogs come in. These essential pieces of gear can provide peace of mind and ensure your pup stays afloat in case of an accident. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know which one to choose. That’s why we’ve put together our top 10 reviews of the best life jackets for dogs. From small breeds to large, we’ve tested and evaluated each jacket for comfort, durability, and safety features. So, let’s discuss.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
  • Easy to adjust
  • Non-slip material
  • Has D-Ring
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Outward Hound Standley Sport Dog Life Jacket Outward Hound Standley Sport Dog Life Jacket
  • Secure fit
  • Great ventilation
  • Good water drainage
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket
  • Sleek design
  • Easy to adjust
  • 2 handles and D-Ring
  • Best for Puppies
    EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket
  • High-quality materials
  • Offers high-level of buoyancy
  • Great for young dogs that need extra support
  • ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket
  • Affordable
  • Sleek design
  • Reflective stripes
  • The 10 Best Life Jackets and Vests for Dogs

    1. Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket – Best Overall

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    The Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is a must-have accessory for pet owners who love spending time near water bodies with their furry friends. This life jacket has a sleek and stylish design that ensures maximum comfort for dogs while swimming. The ripstop material used to make this jacket is durable and can withstand wear and tear associated with water activities. Also, the 20mm thick foam panels on the jacket provide extra buoyancy, making it easy for dogs to float and swim effortlessly.

    It even comes in various sizes, ensuring that there is a perfect fit for every dog breed. The jacket also has an adjustable strap that secures the jacket firmly around the dog’s body, preventing it from slipping off during swimming. However, it is a little bulky around the neck, but we still think it is the best overall dog life jacket.

    Pros
    • Easy to adjust
    • Non-slip material
    • D-Ring for easy reach
    Cons
    • Bulky neck float

    2. Outward Hound Standley Sport Dog Life Jacket – Best Value

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    Now there’s a high-quality accessory by Outward Hound that provides optimal buoyancy and comfort for dogs of all sizes. Made with extra rugged ripstop nylon, this life jacket ensures durability and long-lasting use. The material is resistant to tears and punches, making it ideal for dogs who love to explore and play in rough terrains. The jacket features a mesh bellyband that offers superior ventilation and breathability, ensuring your dog stays cool and comfortable during hot summer days.

    The reflective accents on the vest improve your dog’s visibility in low-light conditions, making it easier to spot them during nighttime walks or water activities. Whether you’re going boating, kayaking, or swimming with your dog, this jack can be an essential piece of safety gear that ensures your dog stays afloat and safe at all times. The design can be a little restricting for your dog, and it can be hard to get on, but we still think it’s the best dog life jacket for the money.

    Pros
    • Great ventilation
    • Secure fit
    • Double handles for emergency lifting
    • Drains quickly when out the water
    Cons
    • Design may be restricting
    • May be hard to get on

    3. Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket – Premium Choice

    Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    This cool (and bright) life jacket by Kurgo Surf-n-Turf is designed to provide buoyancy and support to dogs while swimming or boating. What makes this life jacket stand out is its reflective yellow trim and a metal D-ring. The reflective trim enhances visibility in low-light conditions, making it easier for the owner to spot their dog in the water. The metal D-ring is a convenient attachment point for a leash, making it easier to control the dog and keep them safe.

    The Kurgo Surf-n-Turf dog vest is made of durable materials that are resistant to wear and tear (and dogs that love chewing on their belongings). The jacket features two adjustable straps that ensure a secure fit and prevent the jacket from slipping off. The flotation layer is made of lightweight foam that provides buoyancy without restricting the dog’s movement. The jacket’s design is sleek and comfortable, allowing dogs to move freely while wearing it. The only downside is the cost, but it’s worth the money for some people for a well-made and non-restrictive life jacket.

    Pros
    • Sleek design
    • Easy to adjust
    • Contains 2 traverse handles
    • D-Ring
    Cons
    • Pricey

    4. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket – Best for Puppies

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    This jacket by EzyDog is a reliable and effective option for pet owners who want to ensure their young or small pup’s safety while enjoying water adventures. This life jacket is designed with a top grab handle that provides easy access to lift and assist struggling pups out of the water. It is particularly helpful in emergency situations where quick action is required.

    The adjustable neoprene straps of the EzyDog Doggy jacket ensure a secure and comfortable fit for dogs of all shapes and sizes. The jacket is made with high-quality materials that are durable and long-lasting, which makes it worth the price. The neoprene straps are adjustable, which allows for a customized fit that will keep the jacket in place while the dog swims or plays. Additionally, this life jacket has been tested rigorously to ensure its effectiveness, so pet owners can have peace of mind knowing that their dogs are safe and secure in the water.

    Pros
    • Offers high-level of buoyancy
    • High-quality materials
    • Great for young dogs that need extra support
    Cons
    • Pricey

    5. ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket is a must-have for pet parents who love to take their pups on aquatic adventures. The life jacket has been designed with multiple features to ensure the safety of your four-legged companion. The most noteworthy feature of this life jacket is its adjustable straps and snap buckles. This feature makes it easy to adjust and remove while also allowing for a secure and comfortable fit for your pup.

    The adjustable straps help to ensure that the life jacket fits your dog perfectly, regardless of their size or breed. The snap buckles make it easy to secure and remove, without causing any discomfort to your pet. Additionally, the life jacket also features a sturdy grab handle that allows you to easily lift your dog out of the water in case of an emergency. The ZippyPaws jacket is made of high-quality materials that are both durable and comfortable. However, it may be a little restricting for your dog.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Sleek design
    • Dense foam panels for bouyancy
    Cons
    • May be restricting

    6. Frisco Shark Dog Life Jacket

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    The jacket by Frisco is designed to keep your dog above water in case of an emergency. The jacket features a 20mm foam panel that provides excellent buoyancy, and three adjustable straps that ensure a comfortable, secure fit. Its most notable feature is the shark fin on top that will definitely be a conversation starter if you’re going to the beach on the weekend. And the adjustable straps also make it easy to put on and take off the jacket. The shark design of the jacket adds an element of fun to your dog’s outfit, making them look adorable and stylish.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Offers extra buoyancy
    Cons
    • May be restricting for some dogs

    7. Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket

    Outward Hound Granby

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    This life jacket is made from high-quality materials that are durable and long-lasting, ensuring that it’ll provide protection for your dog for many years to come. One of the standout features of the Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket is its front neck float. This float helps to keep your dog’s head above water, even if they become tired or disoriented while swimming (yes, this can happen to dogs too). This not only provides added safety but also helps to reduce the risk of your dog inhaling water, which can be dangerous.

    Another great feature of this life jacket is its side release buckles. These buckles make it easy to put the jacket on and take it off, even if your dog is wiggling around or trying to escape. They’re also adjustable, so you can customize the fit to ensure that your dog is comfortable and secure. However, the only downside is that it has a bulky design.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Simple to get on and remove
    • Easy to adjust
    Cons
    • Bulky design

    8. Frisco Neoprene Dog Life Jacket

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    The safety of our pets is always a top priority, especially when it comes to water activities. The Frisco Neoprene Dog Life Jacket offers an excellent solution for keeping your furry friend safe and comfortable while enjoying water adventures. This life jacket features a sleek design that includes buoyant side float panels, providing extra stability and buoyancy in the water. These panels also enable your dog to effortlessly swim and stay afloat, even in choppy water conditions (like those with strong rip tides).

    It’s made from high-quality neoprene material that’s both durable and water-resistant. This ensures that your dog stays dry and comfortable throughout the day, without feeling weighed down or restricted. Additionally, the jacket has adjustable straps at the neck and belly, allowing for a secure and snug fit that won’t slip off or hinder your dog’s movements. However, it doesn’t have quite as much padding for buoyancy as other options.

    Pros
    • Thin and sleek design
    • Affordable
    • Easily adjustable straps
    Cons
    • Could use more buoyancy padding

    9. Pixar Finding Nemo & Friends Dog Life Jacket

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: May be better for smaller breeds

    One of the standout features of this lifejacket is its front grab handle, which allows you to easily lift your dog out of the water if need be. This is particularly helpful if your dog is tired, injured, or struggling to swim.

    Also, the Pixar lifejacket has a sleek and attractive design that makes it stand out from other lifejackets on the market – and it’s great for small pups. It’s made from high-quality materials that are durable and long-lasting, ensuring that your investment lasts for years to come. Additionally, the lifejacket has adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit according to your dog’s size and shape. This ensures that the lifejacket stays securely in place, without causing any discomfort or hindrance to your dog’s movements.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Great for small dogs
    • Simple design
    Cons
    • May be restricting for larger breeds

    10. KONG Sport AquaFloat Dog Flotation Vest

    Sizes: Small to X-Large
    Good for all breeds?: Yes

    The KONG Sport AquaFloat Dog Flotation Vest is a top-of-the-line product designed for dogs that love to swim. It is made with high-quality materials and features multiple layers of foam for enhanced buoyancy. The vest is rugged and built to last, making it the perfect choice for adventurous pets that like to explore the great outdoors. Additionally, the vest comes in a variety of sizes, ensuring that it will fit dogs of all shapes and sizes comfortably.

    Not only is it durable but also provides excellent flotation support for dogs when they’re in the water – shallow or deep. The multiple layers of foam used in the construction of the vest ensure that your dog stays afloat, even in rough waters. This makes the vest an excellent choice for dogs that are learning to swim or those who simply aren’t strong swimmers. The only downside is that it is a bit pricey.

    Pros
    • Comes in 2 colors
    • Easily adjustable straps
    Cons
    • A bit pricey

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    Buyers Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Life Jacket

    If you’re planning on taking your pup on a boat ride, for a swim in the lake, or any other water-based activity, it’s important to have a dog life jacket. Not only is it required by law in many places, but it can also save your pup’s life in case of an accident. However, not all dog life jackets are created equal. There are several factors to consider when choosing the right one for your pup, such as the size, buoyancy, and comfort. Let’s look at some things to consider before heading out (or going online) to get one.

    dog wearing a shark shaped life jacket by the pool
    Image Credit to: Chewy

    Factors to Consider When Choosing a Life Jacket

    Choosing the right life jacket for your furry friend can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you know what to look for. Let’s look at what to consider.

    Size

    Size is a crucial factor when choosing a life jacket for your dog. A life jacket that is too small or too large can be uncomfortable for your dog and may not provide the necessary buoyancy. Measure your dog’s girth, neck, and length to ensure you get the right size. Most life jackets will come with size charts to help you choose the right size.

    Buoyancy

    The level of buoyancy you need depends on your dog’s weight and swimming ability. A life jacket with too little buoyancy may not keep your dog afloat, while one with too much buoyancy may restrict your dog’s movement. Look for a life jacket that provides enough buoyancy to keep your dog afloat without restricting movement.

    Material

    The material of the life jacket can affect its durability, comfort, and safety. Look for a life jacket made of high-quality materials that are durable, lightweight, and comfortable for your dog to wear. So, this includes neoprene, polyester, and nylon materials. The material should also be easy to clean and quick drying.

    Visibility

    Visibility is crucial, especially in low-light conditions. Look for a life vest with reflective strips or bright colors that can help you spot your dog in the water. This is particularly important if you’re boating in the evening or early morning – or if your pup is on the smaller side.

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    Types of Life Jackets for Dogs

    There are different types of life jackets available for dogs, and each one is designed for a specific purpose. The most common types of life jackets for dogs include:

    dog swimming and fetching a ball while wearing a life jacket at sea
    Image Credit to: Chewy

    Standard

    A standard life jacket is the most common type of life jacket for dogs. It’s designed to keep the dog afloat and provide buoyancy in case of an emergency. Standard life jackets come in different sizes and colors and are suitable for most dog breeds.

    Specialty Jacket

    Specialty life jackets are designed for specific breeds or activities. So, for instance, some life jackets are designed for water rescue or safety, while others are designed for hunting dogs or senior dogs. Specialty life jackets are tailored to meet specific needs and are ideal for dogs with unique requirements.

    Flotation Coat

    A flotation coat is a combination of a life jacket and a coat. It’s designed to keep the dog warm and dry while providing buoyancy in case of an emergency. These types are ideal for cold water or winter boating trips and suitable for dogs with short hair or those who are sensitive to cold.

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    Sizing Your Dog for a Life Jacket

    Getting the right size for your dog’s life jacket is crucial to ensure comfort and safety. Here are the steps to follow when sizing your dog for a life jacket:

    • Measure your dog’s girth, neck, and length using a measuring tape.
    • Use the size chart provided by the life jacket manufacturer to determine the right size for your dog.
    • Try the life jacket on your dog to ensure it fits snugly but not too tightly.
    • Adjust the straps to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
    • Check that the life jacket does not restrict your dog’s movement and that it provides enough buoyancy.
    dog wearing a life jacket by the beach
    Image Credit to: Chewy

    Features to Look for in a Life Jacket

    When choosing a life jacket for your dog, there are specific features you need to look for to ensure maximum safety and comfort. Here are some of the features to look for:

    Grab Handle

    A grab handle makes it easier for you to pull your dog out of the water in case of an emergency. The handle should be sturdy and well-attached to the life jacket.

    D-ring

    A D-ring is usually made of metal, and it allows you to attach a leash to the life jacket, making it easier to control your dog while on the boat. The D-ring should be sturdy and well-attached to the life jacket.

    Adjustable Straps

    Adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit of the life jacket to your dog’s size and shape. The straps should be easy to adjust and secure enough to keep the life jacket in place.

    Padding

    Padding provides extra comfort and support for your dog, especially during long boating trips. Look for a life jacket with sufficient padding in the chest and belly areas.

    Reflective Strips

    Reflective strips make it easier to spot your dog in the water, especially in low-light conditions–they’re like reflectors on a bicycle. The strips should be well-placed and highly reflective.

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    Tips for Fitting the Life Vest

    Properly fitting and adjusting your dog’s life vest is crucial to ensure comfort and safety.

    Here are the steps to follow:
    • Put the life vest on your dog and adjust the straps to ensure a snug but not too tight fit.
    • Check that the life vest does not restrict your dog’s movement and that it provides enough buoyancy.
    • Test the life jacket in shallow water to ensure it fits properly and doesn’t slip off.
    • Adjust the straps as needed to ensure a comfortable and secure fit – the dog’s legs should be able to move freely with full motion.
    dog wearin a life jacket on a kayak with its owner
    Image Credit to: Chewy

    Training Your Dog to Wear a Life Jacket

    Obviously, most dogs aren’t used to wearing life jackets, and it may take a bit for them to get used to it – especially younger pups. So here are some tips to help you train your pup to wear a life jacket:

    • Introduce the life jacket gradually, starting with short periods of wear and gradually increasing the duration.
    • Use treats and positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to wear the life jacket.
    • Play with your dog while wearing the life jacket to help them associate it with fun activities.
    • Take your dog for short boating trips while wearing the life jacket to help them get used to it (you can even practice in the tub).

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    Conclusion

    Getting your dog a life vest can be important if you are swimming in open or deep waters – and there are plenty of options to choose from. We like the Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket as the best overall, followed by the Outward Hound Standley Sport Dog Life Jacket as the best value. For a premium option, try the Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket.

    Choosing the right life jacket for your dog is crucial to ensure their safety and comfort while enjoying your boating or swimming trip. Consider factors such as size, buoyancy, material, and visibility when choosing a life jacket for your dog. Also, be sure to properly fit and adjust your dog’s life jacket and be sure to train them to wear it.


    Featured Image Credit to: Chewy

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