Best Life Jackets and Life Vests for Dogs

hungarian-viszla-658007_640We normally think of our canine friends as good little swimmers, but just like humans, dogs are susceptible to the water, they can get tired and fall foul of choppy waters just like us, and some dogs aren’t even that good in the water to start with. Taking your dog to the beach, on boating trips, in a kayak, out fishing or any of these fun activities is very rewarding and can be a great way to spend time with your pooch, but making sure you have the best life jacket for dogs can be a wise move to make sure tragedy doesn’t strike, you never know when a lake, the sea, a river or even a pool is going to prove tough for your four legged friend. Safety first is always our motto here at the watersporter, and that is why we’ve put together a list of the best live vests and life jackets for dogs.

What Makes a Good Life Jacket for Your Dog?

Size/Fit – Something which will comfortably fit your doggy friend is perfect for your needs. Many of them come in different sizes to suit different breeds of dog, so paying a little attention to the sizings and whether it is suitable for your breed of dog, plus the build quality and materials, can ensure that your pooch doesn’t mind wearing the jacket and is perfectly comfy.

Buoyancy – You want something which will adequately help your pet to float in the water. They have different flotation pouches and areas which are buoyant depending on which model you buy, some are just around the sides and top, some have a belly float too. Looking at dog life jacket reviews can give you an indication of where the floats are and whether it will be sufficient for your dog. If you have a heavy dog, there’s no point in just having a couple of little tiny air pockets which will do very little good, so you need something buoyant enough to support them.

Handles – Of course if disaster strikes or even if your dog gets in a little bit of trouble across the water, you need to be able to quickly and adequately pull them out of it, which means handles. Most of these products have handles of some description but you need something sturdy that means you can grip the dog properly without causing discomfort but remaining sturdy.

Bright and Fluorescent Colors – This can be extremely helpful. Bright colors can help should your dog need to be located in the water, and also means that in busy lakes or waters people can stay out of the way if needs be. It adds another level of security to the jacket.

Price – When buying a product for safety, price shouldn’t be the first thing you think about, but it may play a part, looking for the best value for money is just good common sense and affordability is something we’re looking out for.

Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket

This is one of the best selling dog life jackets we’ve found. Paws Aboard are made by Fido pet products and a lot of thought has clearly gone into this particular product. It is hi vis and comes in a bright yellow color as standard, though there are other colors and even patterns available. The jacket really stands out and ensures visibility for your pet in the water.

Designed to be breathable underneath your dog, it allows for quick drying so the dog doesn’t stay soggy for a long time after being in the water, this can be a problem with many life jackets which tend to seal in the moisture, never good with an active dog!

This has six sizes and which one you need will depend on the size and weight of your dog. They have a little give and are slightly adjustable so as long as you get in the right ballpark you should be able to create a comfy fit for your little pal. At the moment, the package even includes a novelty ski rope leash for your dog which is both funny and functional! Attached to your dog with a¬†life vest or jacket on he or she will look utterly adorable too, which is a plus. You don’t have to spend a great deal to get your hands on one of these, it is a relatively affordable product, though the price may vary slightly depending on which size you need to buy. It has enough buoyancy and is extremely well reviewed, which means it gets the paws up from us!

Outward Hound Ripstop Adjustable Dog Life Jacket

The main benefit of the outward hound model we are now going to review is how adjustable it is. Obviously, dogs come in all different shapes and sizes dependent on breed among other things. There isn’t a one size fits all option for dogs, not when it comes to a product they need to wear. As well as coming in an impressive six different sizes, this is a totally adjustable model, allowing you to tighten and loosen within that size to make the fit perfect for your dog. You do need to ensure you’re getting roughly the correct size to start with, but their handy size guide should help with this.

Another very cool feature of the Outward Hound dog life jacket is the fact that it has an inflatable at the front designed to keep your dog’s head above water. If your dog does lose control in the water, the head can be the most distressing area to be submerged, so this ensures they can see above water and helps then with their swimming. Made largely out of neoprene, the Ripstop is designed for comfort and should mean your dog is pretty snug and happy wearing the jacket. Lots of dogs won’t be used to any sort of clothing so a life jacket can be tough to get used to if it isn’t comfy. The grab handles make for an easy rescue should you need to get your dog out of a tight spot, and the bright colors increase visibility.

This may well be the best selling life jacket on the market for dogs, and it isn’t too hard to see why, as well as being very well designed and fitting the bill in terms of hi visibility and ease of use, this is actually not the most expensive, and is on the cheap end of the market for doggy accessories¬†at the time of writing. Ensure you get the right fit with the sizing chart, based on weight and chest size of the dog, and then you can adjust from there to make sure you’re getting the right fit for your pup.

A quick look at the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere online show that this is a well respected product which a huge amount of people have invested in, and found themselves very happy with. You can enjoy water based activities with your dog with peace of mind with a high quality vest like this one.

Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket Life Saver Model

Another option worthy of a mention is the Vivaglory life saver model of doggy life jacket. It does a good job and also has a focus on the comfort of your dog, so can be good if your dog is new to wearing things.

  • Comes in five different sizes, and a convenient chart lets you choose the correct size.
  • Available in lots of different colors, all of which are bright and reflective, not all of these products have a lot of different colors so for the fashion conscious, this can be a cool little feature.
  • This is a very safe and heavy duty product, and has a front float just like some of the competitors to help keep the head above water, this is removable should you so wish.
  • The Vivaglory has a clever and convenient design, you can grab the handle just like with the other products mentioned here, and you can also attach the D-Ring to a leash if you need to. The nylon straps are adjustable so you can make sure the fit is just right for your dog.


There are a number of models out there which will do a good job for your pet. You need to decide which features you are looking for, and if things like the color are important to you, before making a choice. There are so many consumer reviews available on the online retailers such as Amazon which are selling these products, which will all tell you something slightly different, and can let you look into which may be better for specific breeds of dog, and which size you’re going to opt for. Investing a bit of money in buying a life jacket for your dog can make all the difference, and ensure safety going out on the water with your pet.