For many people, their dogs are more than just a pet. In fact, they are an integral part of their family. For many, a dog is a service animal trained to comfort by providing affection and attention in order to help with mental illness. Thus, nobody would want anything unfortunate to happen to their dog. Where many dogs love water activities such as swimming, paddling, catching fish, and are great swimmers naturally, they could always use some added protection to protect them from harm’s way like any child or adult human would need. This is where a dog life jacket or vest would be a great investment.
However, there are so many products available in the market, making it confusing to choose one. Not all life jackets are worthy of investment as some make big claims yet are of poor quality. We decided to solve your dilemma by providing you a review of some of the best products in the market along with all the factors you need to consider before making a purchase.
We also have a post on Top 10 of the best dog travel bags (to carry your doggy things)!
Factors to consider when purchasing a dog life jacket or vest
In your search for the perfect dog life jacket or vest, you will encounter many products different from each other, offering many styles, made of different materials, and of different shapes. However, you need to select the best amongst them. You must consider some factors prior to investing in a unit that ensures you buy the right product. These include:
Will it fit?
The primary consideration you need to make when it comes to a dog life jacket is whether or not it is suitable for your pet. This means taking the actual body girth measurement of your pet from the widest point behind their front legs and only looking for a size that is suitable for your dog. You can check out sizing charts to see which size would your dog fit. It’s crucial not to guess or approximate at this point as it never ends well, and you might end up buying the wrong product. Plus, if the measurement you took falls between two sizes, you should opt for the bigger one.
Is it comfortable?
Many times, a product may be strong but too harsh on the skin and uncomfortable to wear. Along with the right fit, a life jacket should also be made from breathable material that allows the dog to move. If your dog is going to be playing in the water, the material of life jacket you choose should also be quick to dry and not too bulky, so your dog stays above water. It’s best if the jacket has an adjustable collar.
Is it durable?
Without a doubt, you would want a unit that is durable as nobody wants to keep repurchasing life jackets. The material should be of great quality that ensures it doesn’t show signs of wear and tear too early while using it.
Is it fit for the purpose?
Look for a unit that is built to be used for sports. There are plenty of products that don’t allow enough movement or provide buoyancy for a dog to remain over water, which is something to be mindful of. The ideal product should be suitable to be used while swimming, rafting, kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding, etc.
Is it easy to clean?
You will have to clean the product to keep it hygienic for future use; thus, it should be easy to clean. The material it is made of should be easily washable and preferably not sensitive to detergent or soaps. Plus, the paddings should be easy to remove and put back in without distorting the shape of the product.
What added features does it offer?
There are a few features, which, if added to a product, do make it more convenient yet are not completely necessary. They will add to the value of the product as a whole such as light reflectors, which, as the name suggests, will reflect light, making the pup easy to spot if it’s drowning. Another added feature would be rescue handles, which will give you a strap or belt to grip when you are trying to keep the dog above the water. Front float support design allows the head of your dog to remain above water to prevent drowning or water entering through the nose. Once you’ve checked all the other features, you can go into looking at the overall outlook of the product, its design, and how fashionable it is. There are plenty of designs offering great novelty, color patterns, color combinations, etc. and it can always be a nice extra touch.
1- RUFFWER Float Coat Dog Life Jacket
Available in four gorgeous colors, this product is one of the best life jackets on the market. It’s specially designed to enable dogs to safely go swimming, rafting, surfing, paddling, etc., without any troubles. The strategically-placed closed-cell foam panel allows your dog to swim naturally, supporting an upright position without any hindrance.
The design caters to the comfort of your dog, along with being strong and durable. The telescopic neck closure can easily adjust to different shapes plus attaches securely in place, so you don’t have to keep readjusting it.
It is constructed with strong and durable material, plus it has water-compatible webbing, which makes it suitable for wet conditions. Furthermore, it has a light reflective trim, which is an additional security feature that makes the product visible in low-light conditions as well.
- Strategically placed closed-cell foam panels to let your dog swim naturally.
- Comes with a telescopic neck closure that can adjust to different shapes.
- Suitable for wet conditions as it features a water-compatible webbing.
- Reflective trim which allows it to be visual in low-light conditions as well.
- On the much higher-end of the spectrum and not budget-friendly.
2. VIVAGLORY New Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
VIVAGLORY is a well-recognized brand, and it’s applauded for making affordable life jackets and providing a ton of colors and patterns to choose from, which is rare in this price range.
The product is well-designed and is highly practical. The upgraded ripstop 600D oxford cloth makes the unit durable and reduces signs of wear and tear. The product itself holds up pretty well underwater while providing ample space for easy movements.
All in all, your dog can enjoy all the water activities, without you worrying about your pet too much.
- Available in multiple colors and patterns.
- Designed with bright colors and highly reflective trims that make it visible in low-light conditions as well.
- Upgraded ripstop 600D oxford cloth makes the jacket durable.
- Heavy-duty yet comfortable fastening allows for secure attachment of the product.
- Sizes run too small, and the large size seemed smaller for some dogs.
3. Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog life Jacket
The Outward dog life jacket has all the features of a good life jacket. This unit is easy to visualize in low-light situations since it has a bright color along with reflective accents throughout its body. Furthermore, it’s available in two colors.
The unit is designed to easily adjust to your dog and fit in a secure manner yet give enough space for the unit to move freely. It has adjustable straps and neoprene belly bands for comfort and a secure fit. Moreover, it comes with foam panels as well that keep your pet’s neck secure.
Also, the unit provides complete ease of mind with the dual rescue handles. These can really help you out in cases of emergencies.
- Highly visible due to bright color and reflective piping.
- Foam panels are added to increase the buoyancy of the unit and secure the neck of the pup.
- Comes with a dual rescue handle to easily lift the dog in events of restraint or emergency.
- Features adjustable straps and neoprene belly bands for a comfortable and secure fit.
- Sizing chart featured seems to be inaccurate.
4- Paws Abroad Dog Life Jacket
This unit is perfect for anyone who always has wanted to invest in a dog life jacket with more color options and greater vibrancy. This life jacket is bright and vibrant. Plus, it comes in an array of patterns; thus, it is aesthetically pleasing to look at.
Furthermore, it has a reflective trim that allows greater visibility even in low-light conditions plus features a mesh underbelly, which allows proper drainage and drying of the unit, so it remains comfortable to wear.
However, if your dog exceeds a size by a little margin, then the next size up is out of consideration as it has a tremendous difference between sizes, which is inconvenient.
- Comes in multiple colors and patterns and has a wide size range.
- Features vibrant colors and reflective strips that add to the visibility of the unit.
- Manufactured from quick to dry, strong, and breathable neoprene fabric.
- Features a mesh underbelly, which allows proper drainage and drying of the unit plus provides comfort to the dog.
- There is too large of a difference between the sizes.
5- VIVAGLORY Ripstop Dog Life Jacket Preserver Vest
This is an exceptional quality product. VIVIGLORY is expected to deliver nothing but the best. This unit is well constructed and offers many ideal features.
It comes in a variety of colors to choose from plus has a great size range. The colors are bright and feature reflective trims for it to be visible during night-time as well. Furthermore, it offers extra padding, which allows it to be comfortable to wear, and it comes with adjustable straps to secure it in place easily.
- Comes in various shades and colors to choose from.
- Durable handle allows lifting the dog easily.
- Bright colors and highly reflective accents throughout the body make it easily visible.
- Constructed with extra padding for comfortable wear.
- Difficult to put on the dog.
6. EZYDOG Doggy Flotation Device
If your dog loves swimming, then this product would be absolutely perfect for him. This jacket has an array of features that make it perfect for swimming. It contains 50% more padding then many of its counterparts plus has an ergonomic grab handle to lift your dog in case of any emergency easily.
It is constructed from high-quality neoprene material, which is comfortable to wear and breathable. It is highly buoyant and aids in keeping your dog’s head above the water.
- Features adjustable neoprene straps to fit the unit around the dog securely.
- Ergonomic grab handle is sturdy and strong, thus allows the dog to be lifted easily.
- Contains 50% more flotation material integrated to allow greater buoyancy.
- High quality and breathable neoprene material allow the unit to be comfortable.
- On the much higher-end of the spectrum.
7- VIVAGLORY Premium Neoprene Dog Life Jacket
This unit is a great investment as it comes in an array of different colors and sizes. The colors are bright, and the unit also features reflective straps that allow you to spot the dog even in low light conditions.
Furthermore, its great quality construction is durable and strong. What also makes it an excellent pick is the fact that it is manufactured from neoprene, which is breathable and comfortable to wear.
However, it might be best suited for dogs which are more experienced as it doesn’t feature any flotation layer at the neck area. Thus, it provides minimal assistance to keep your head over water.
- Comes in various colors and sizes.
- Provides greater buoyancy because of extra built-in flotation layers.
- Bright appearance and reflective layers allow it to be visible even in low-light conditions.
- Made from comfortable and durable neoprene material.
- Doesn’t have floatation at the neck area.
8- WOPET Dog Life Jacket
If you want a life jacket that doesn’t break the bank and is highly reliable, this product by WOPET is your best bet. It offers two adorable designs featuring bright colors and reflective accents throughout to offer greater visibility in low-light conditions as well. Plus, it has a stylish outlook, which is highly aesthetic.
Furthermore, the unit is convenient as it is easy to grab due to the sturdy handles provided. Plus, it has adjustable straps and buckles, making it secure.
- Features bright colors and reflective accents throughout the body for greater visibility.
- Handle is sturdy and easy to grab.
- Adjustable nylon wraps and quick-release buckles make it easy to adjust to the body.
- One of the most high-quality, affordable options on the market.
- Connectors are made from low-quality plastic, which is brittle and seems fragile.
9. iChoue Dog life Jacket
The iChoue jacket features incredible construction as it provides a practical design that is secure and fits perfectly. However, its greatest benefit is that it’s comfortable for the dog to wear. The adjustable buckles and straps make it easy for the unit to fit your pup and allow ample space for movement. It is easy to clean as it has removable paddings; thus, it can be thoroughly washed. It is made from high-quality oxford nylon, which allows it to be highly durable. All in all, this one also seems to be a good choice.
- Inner paddings are easily removable, making this unit easy to wash.
- Features lockable buckles and straps to fit the unit to your dog easily.
- High-grade oxford nylon cloth is highly durable and works for the wet/dry environment.
- Handles make it easy to lift the dog in case of restraint or emergency situation.
- Has limited color options.
10- WELLVER Dog Life Jacket
If your pup loves swimming, then this unit will be the perfect life jacket for him as it provides great buoyancy and allows easy flotation over the water. It has a stylish outlook and is available in an array of bright colors and comes with reflective strips for greater visibility.
Furthermore, it offers means to easily adjust the fit according to your dog size, which is the Velcro straps. It also secures the unit around the dog’s body yet allows space for motion.
- Provides adequate buoyancy to float easily.
- Features bright colors and two reflective strips for greater visibility of the product.
- Features Velcro fastening system, which provides easy adjustability and greater security.
- Handle at the back of the jacket allows easy lifting and handling of the dog.
- Rubs against the skin
11- Playapup Dog Life Jacket
This is perhaps, by far, the most inclusive size range on a dog life jacket. There is an array of product sizes to choose from, plus there are multiple color options. Thus you can really look into the aesthetics of the product, which isn’t the case for many of its counterparts.
The design is incredibly well-thought-through, which makes it highly practical. The handle is strong and durable, which allows one to easily pick the dog up without the fear of it breaking. Plus, there are reflective accents throughout the body for easy visibility, even in low-light conditions. Moreover, the unit has adjustable straps and buckles to customize the fit of the product and easily secure it on the pup.
- Comes in a wide range of color options and sizes.
- Has highly reflective accents throughout the body, so it is easy to spot, even in low lighting conditions.
- Features a strong, durable, and bright grab handle to pick up your dog easily or to rescue it in emergency conditions conveniently.
- Features adjustable straps, buckles, and Velcro to adjust and secure it to your dog easily.
- Velcro is too small.
12- Pet Life Dog Helios “Lifeguard” Dog life Jacket
There are multiple features of this unit that make it stand out from others. Firstly, it is well-engineered and has kept in mind both the practicality of design as well as comfort.
It has a 3M reflective stitching all across the body so it can be easy to view at night time as well. Plus, it features a 600 tough Exo-shell with flotation points stitched in to provide greater buoyancy. Therefore, it ensures that your dog is comfortable yet can float above the water easily without having its motion restricted.
- Features socially engineered 3M reflective stitching all across the body for low-light visibility.
- Features 600D Tough Exo-Shell with stitched flotation buoyancy points around the body for increased mobility, comfort, and bendability.
- Available in many sizes and three different color options to choose from.
- Convenient reinforced top handle allows easy access to the dog in need of struggle or in case of emergency.
- Somewhat on the more expensive side of the spectrum.
13. He&Ha Pet Dog Life Jacket
Possibly the number one reason a dog owner hopes to invest in a life jacket that is compatible with water sports is so that it can provide maximum flotation support, where many products lack and don’t provide enough assistance. This unit gives high buoyancy as it has two strategically-placed closed-cell foam. One is located on the belly, which boosts underside flotation, and the other is underneath the chin to help the pup keep its head above water at all times.
Furthermore, there are added safety and comfort features that make it stand out. This unit is incredibly comfortable as it has an advanced breathable mesh underbelly for proper draining and drying plus ease of motion. Plus, it has a durable handle that is optimally positioned to make it easy to rescue the dogs by hand or boat hook in case of any emergency.
Moreover, it has an enhanced, advanced reflective trim which allows visibility in poor lighting as well so you can spot your dog in any condition.
- Provides high buoyancy achieved by strategically placed dual-layered closed-cell foam.
- Features a strong, durable handle that is optimally positioned to help the dog in emergency conditions.
- Has an advanced breathable mesh that allows proper draining of water and makes it comfortable for the dog.
- Has an enhanced advanced multi-reflective trim to enhance visibility in low-light conditions as well.
- Sizes run too large; even the smallest available is large for some dogs.
14- Outward Hound Stanley Sports Life Jacket for Dogs
The market has several good products, but they often have hefty price tags on them, making it difficult to look for a product in a budget. This is where this Outward Hound life jacket saves the day. The incredibly affordable price range of the product gives it an advantage over its counterparts.
Another incredible part of the unit is its stunning design. Firstly, the bright and colorful design makes it a delight for the eyes, even though there aren’t many color options available. Secondly, the inclusive size range is worth commending. It goes from extra small to extra-large with varying prices, which is great.
Furthermore, its construction is impeccable as it is made from superior quality ripstop material, which ensures the unit holds off signs of wear and tear for longer, thus making it durable and adding to its life. Plus, it comes with a double handle and sternum support that allow you to lift the dog any time without any hassle easily.
- Decently priced and has a large number of sizes to choose from.
- Extra rugged ripstop material allows frequent use without signs of damage.
- Comes with a double handle and sternum support to help with repeated lifting.
- Open design allows natural movement without discomfort.
- Does not provide enough flotation support.
15- ULTRAFUN 2 in 1 Dog Life Jacket
This unit is a 2-in-1 as it is a life jacket and a backpack in one. Its innovative and practical design makes it highly convenient for hiking, swimming, and backpacking trips. The overall design looks great and stylish, even though it has only a single-color option.
The overall construction of the unit is flawless, though. It is manufactured with top-quality Nylon material and is fitted with pearl cotton padding to make is comfortable yet durable and waterproof; thus, it is well-suited for water sports. It also has adjustable straps that can be customized according to the size. The soft inner mesh lining makes the unit highly comfortable to wear.
The large pocket size can fit practically anything necessary for an outdoor trip. These include snacks for your pup, dog food, water bottle, pet bowl, dog toys, poop bags, which you would’ve had to travel with separately if there wasn’t a large capacity to hold the products.
- Dog saddleback and life jacket in one, making it versatile for multiple situations.
- Features a large side pocket which can easily fit dog food, snacks, water bottle, pet bowl, first aid kit, dog toys, poop bags, etc.
- Has completely adjustable straps that can be customized and a soft inner mesh lining for added comfort.
- Made of nylon with pearl cotton foam padding, which makes it waterproof and durable.
- Comes in only two sizes, which isn’t a large enough size range.
Now when you decide to invest in a life jacket, you won’t have to search for a pin in the haystack where you try to find a good product from the abundance of products available in the market. Instead, you have a countdown of some of the best units available in the market right at your disposal.
You don’t necessarily need to invest in a very expensive product as there are many affordable options out in the market. Hopefully, this list was able to help you in narrowing down your choices. Just research the products well by comparing prices and looking closely at all the features each individual product offers. Also, consider the overall value they provide, along with all the factors we talked about earlier. By doing so, you will be able to find an excellent life jacket/vest for your furry friend in no time.