How To Choose The Best Dog Life Jacket

Life doesn’t stop just for our animals. Every once in a while, you are going to want to go on a vacation. The beach is very popular so knowing which is the best dog life jacket available is essential.

It can be hard to choose the right vest, however. That is why today we will discuss some of the best dog life jackets on the market today.


Things to Look for When Choosing Your Life Jacket

We all have dogs but each one of them is uniquely different. Some life jackets work better with short haired dogs over long-haired dogs. You also should worry about the fit of the life jacket so that you can rest easy knowing your dog will be safe in the water with you.

When trying to choose the best life jacket for your dog, you should consider a few things: What size life jacket will fit my dog well? Where will my dog and I be swimming, a beach, pool, or river? Do I want a life jacket that is just as decorative as it is protective?

Who Doesn’t Love Dressing Their Doggie Up?

What do dog owners love choosing dog life jacket for

It is very common for dog owners to dress their dogs up in costumes. If you are one of those lovely people then it probably has crossed your mind to look for a life jacket with a design. Well, luckily there are life jackets out there just for you!

If you are wanting your dog to look cute while swimming with you, it is important to not forget about the safety of your dog. Though some life jackets have add-ons to make them look appealing (for example, a shark fin), you should not buy that life jacket solely based on the looks of it. There are a few qualifications you should look for in a good life jacket that we will discuss more about below.

For example, buoyancy is a term used a lot when talking about life jackets. It is basically how well the vest allows your dog to float. It is determined by the materials used but can differ depending on your dog's weight.

What is a Good Life Jacket Size for My Dog?

The size of the life jacket that you choose is extremely important to your dog’s safety. You do not want to buy them a life jacket that will fall off them as soon as they get in the water. Though most dogs already know how to swim, adding that extra layer of security never hurt anyone.

The reason that the size of the life jacket is so important is because getting a vest that does not fit your dog can cause major issues. If the vest does not fit snug, it can end up making it harder for your dog to swim. This can cause accidents that could put your dog at risk.

Deciding Where to Go for a Swim

you should take your dog to pool or beach?

Just as important as the life jacket itself is deciding on where you should take your dog to swim. There are pros and cons to each swimming environment so we will go over that now. If you feel comfortable enough to take your dog swimming anywhere then you can skip over this section.

River Swimming

Everyone loves a day at the river. Your dog can love it too, but keep in mind that the current can easily overwhelm smaller dogs. A life jacket is solely meant to keep your dog afloat, not make them a better swimmer.

Beach & Pools

Both beaches and pools are relatively still waters. For this reason, they are the safest place to take your dog for a swim. You do not have to worry much about the water interfering, just make sure to keep an eye on your doggie!

Understanding the Size of Your Dog

The size is extremely important to your dog’s safety

Life jackets, just like for people, fit differently depending on size and body type. When choosing a life jacket, it is important to fully understand your dog’s size. Take into consideration the weight distribution of your dog.

Looking for different cues like the size of their neck and chest area is important too. Each life jacket will provide a different type of buoyancy depending on these aspects.

How Often Your Dog Will Be Taking a Dip

Going to swim often is something everyone loves to do. That is why you should be taking the amount of time you will be swimming into consideration. Durability plays a major role in picking a good life jacket for many reasons.

Swimming more than once or twice every week can put a lot of stress on the life jacket. You do not want to go for a swim, something happens, and you not be able to save your pup. Wear and tear happens to everything.

The more you use your life jacket, the less safe it will be. A lot of life jackets for dogs push the fact that they can last long for this reason. Don’t invest in something that will break after tons of uses if you plan to swim a lot.

Dog Life Jacket Reviews


  • Comes with high visibility colors and multiple reflective strips that let you find your dog easily when in the water. Time passes by quickly when you are having fun, so if you are caught swimming at night, you can find your dog quickly this way.
  • Also comes with a quick release button in case you need to remove the life jacket quickly. In case of serious emergency, being able to remove the life jacket fast can make all the difference.
  • Has a multiple handle design that provides extra durability and strength when you need to quickly pull your dog out of the water. Having more than one handle ensures that you can always grab your dog, even if another handle breaks.
  • Sizes range from extra small to extra-large that accommodate for any size dog you may have. A lot of vests don’t have smaller sizes for smaller dogs.
  • The design of the Ripstock allows for your dog to have freedom of movement when they are in the water and when they are not in the water. It is not bulky at all. Walking around a beach with this life jacket is perfectly doable.


  • The stitching along the chest and anchor points of the strap are marginal and cause discomfort.
  • The jacket’s design is stiff and long so it might not be good for smaller straight dogs.
  • Doesn’t have padding to keep your dog’s head out of the water, just to encourage them to do so.


  • The straps on the EzyDog are wide and come with wider cloth and padding over both straps for better protection and comfort under your dog. Works well with wider dogs like bulldogs. It causes a tight fit (which is good most of the time), so try to order the right size and not one up.
  • The design of the buoyancy provided by this life jacket keeps your dog level in the water. A lot of other life jackets tend to have different buoyancy distribution. This would cause your dog to sink at their rear and make it harder for them to swim.
  • The durability on this life jacket is truly impressive. It is designed to last for several years, much longer than other dog life jackets. If you plan to do a lot of swimming every week, this is a great option.


  • Grab handle is hard to get to in a hurry so if something goes wrong, you cannot rely on this feature. The design of it is very tight and close to your dog making it hard to grab.
  • The straps on the EzyDog do not adjust well for unproportionable dogs. (For example, an average Dalmatian). Due to its wide design, it's best suited for wider dogs.


  • The float coat of this life jacket is evenly padded for maximum buoyancy and floatation. It also works well to keep your dog’s head above the water.
  • Comes with great sizing guides on the official Ruffwear Website
  • This life jacket also comes with a light loop that allows for you to attach a beacon light to it. If you plan to do any night swimming, this is the vest for you. The light does not come included with this life jacket, however.
  • The smallest this vest goes is xx-small and the largest is x-large.
  • The strings can be wrapped up so that they are not in your way or able to catch on to anything in the water.
  • Design of this life jacket is not too bulky and provides an adequate comfortable fit. It can be worn for multiple hours with ease.


  • The chest strap on this vest tends to loosen itself sometimes.
  • The leash attachment ring will break if your dog tries to run away from you while hooked on it.


  • Unlike other life jackets for dogs, the Vivaglory features a front flap that helps keeps your dog’s head above the water. This flap is very sturdy. If your dog has trouble keeping his head up in the water, this is the vest for you.
  • Vivaglory gives you detailed instructions on how to choose the proper size for your dog. It is hard to choose the wrong size with this life jacket. If you follow the instructions correctly, you can avoid having to go through the process of returning because it doesn’t fit.
  • The top handle of this life jacket comes with a grip that also features a loop for you to connect a leash. It is very convenient when leading your dog to any body of water. For anyone who is canoeing, it is also convenient to have your dog on a leash to help you pull them back into the canoe.


  • There is no way to adjust this life jacket around the neck area. If your dog has a larger neck then this might not be the best choice for you.
  • The vests are tiny and not suitable for larger dogs. It is also stiff which makes it hard for your dog to walk in it outside of the water.


  • This life jacket is perfect for anyone who loves decorative costumes for their dogs. The polka dots make for an adorable experience.
  • The underbelly is designed with a breathable mesh allowing for air to flow through and ensure proper drying conditions.
  • The life jacket also comes with reflective stripes that help you locate your dog in bigger bodies of water.


  • The jacket gets heavier when wet so it can drag smaller dogs down rather than help them float.
  • Straps are very long on this jacket.
  • Durability is not very good with this life jacket. Using it multiple times every week can cause the Velcro underneath the belly to tear off.

Which is the Best Dog Life Jacket for You?

Taking your dog for a swim is always fun. That is why it is all that more important to keep them safe! Choosing a good life jacket for your dog can be difficult, but is possible.

When determining which is the best dog life jacket for you, taking into consideration your dog’s size is important. You also want to make sure you know where your dog will be swimming and how much. Durability and visibility features on a life jacket will help you with this.

The best life jacket on our list today must be the Outward Hound Ripstop Life Jacket. With high visibility colors and a quick release button, safety is ensured if something goes wrong. It also gives your dog great freedom of movement when they are out of the water and it comes in many sizes.

Anna Sakila

Hi, I’m Anna Sakila and I love to give my friend the best of everything. I started this blog so I can also share my experiences with you. Take a tour through my site to see helpful stories and useful information on the best ways to care for your lovely dog.

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