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Now that it’s summer, everyone wants to jump in the water, including your dog. You may be surprised to hear about life jackets for dogs but they’re actually very safe and handy to keep around if you’re planning on being near water. Not all dogs can keep their heads above the water (think pugs, french bulldogs) and they’ll want to join in on the fun. A life jacket for your dog means everyone staying safe, visible and healthy.
The four main things to look for in a life jacket are buoyancy, a bright color, handles for lifting and of course, fit. Make sure he/she can fit comfortably inside the life jacket. Bright colors will make sure that other people can see your dog easily like boaters and jet skis. If your dog likes to chase a ball and swim really far out you’ll be able to spot them from quite a distance. The amount of buoyancy matters and be sure to have the life jacket cushioned with inflation under the belly, on the sides and near the neck to support their head. The handles will be useful if you need to pull your dog out of the water.
General Water Safety Tips for Dogs
Some general water safety tips for humans and dogs are pretty straightforward: always keep your pup in sight, make sure they’re properly hydrated, especially if it’s sunny and hot out, and always make sure your dog is comfortable in the water before letting them swim. Most dogs will take to the water easily, but some pooches need their human nearby the entire time to be happy. Slowly acclimate your dog to the water, take them in a pool or a lake with you and hold them up until they get curious enough or comfortable enough to swim out on their own. Always be sure your dog isn’t too top-heavy to swim, and if they are, that’s where a lifejacket will come in handy. But most of all, have fun with your dog; being in the water is a great way to spend the summer.
Ready to dive in? Take a look at our list of the best dog life jackets below.
1. Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jacket
BEST FOR SMALL DOGS
An affordable choice, Paws Aboard has made a sturdy life jacket that supports the weight of your dog in the water with buoyancy straps on the sides. It adjusts with velcro, which may not work well with larger dogs because it can come apart or get stuck in their fur. The Paws Aboard comes in a variety of bright colors and sizes but this is a great choice for small to medium dogs.
2. Ruffwear K9 Float Coat
BEST FOR ACTIVE DOGS
Ruffwear K9 has a pricey but worthy option in the dog life jacket market if you and your dog are an active pair. Going kayaking? This is a good choice because it’s made from abrasion-resistant material, comes with handles attached to the top so you can easily lift your dog into a kayak or out of the water, and plenty of reflective strips for visibility. It also has padding on the bottom portion for belly support which is great for larger dogs.
3. Ezy Dog Flotation Device
BEST FOR THE BEACH
This vest vows to keep your dog in a natural swimming position by adding more padded layers to the neck. Some reviews disagree with this claim and say their dog’s rear end floats as much as their head, so this may not be a good choice if your dog is not a great swimmer. Otherwise, it’s good for the beach or shallow waters. It has easy access handles so you can lift your dog when needed and plenty of visibility straps on an already colorful jacket.
4. Outward Hound Granby Splash
BEST FOR EXTRA SUPPORT
This vest has great all-around padding for equal support which can come in handy in choppy waters or if your dog likes to jump off the boat. It has one handle along the top and comes in a great orange color for visibility. There is extra material around the neck that is padded for your dog’s head to stay above water. A great choice for those who want a little extra padding for their best friend.
5. King Pup Dog Life Jacket
BEST FOR HOLIDAYS
This one might be a crowd favorite for summer because of its American-flag design. It has extra padding and support so your dog stays afloat even on a choppy, crowded day in the water. Don’t lose sight of your best friend in this classic all American design. It has a handle on top so you can easily grab your dog and has plenty of reflective patches for visibility. Choose this if you’re out for an adventure with friends.
6. Superior Buoyancy Dog Life Jacket
Made from high-quality ripstop material, this life jacket will make sure your dog stays afloat and safe in the water; you won’t have to fear the jacket being snagged on any objects that may be in the water. This is a great life jacket for all sizes of dogs, it comes in three sizes and each has a rescue handle attached to the side. Quickly pull your dog back into the boat, kayak, or raft as needed. The buoyancy of the jacket is far superior when compared to other life jackets and the high-vis colors will make your dog seen all day long. Hit the open water with the Superior Buoyancy Dog Life Jacket.
7. Shark Life Jacket
BEST FOR GOOD SWIMMERS
For those of us with a sense of humor, the shark jacket will be sure to please. Either out at sea or cruising in the pool, your dog will surely be the life of the party in this one of a kind shark style life jacket. Made from sturdy material with a handle to securely remove your pet from the water, the shark life jacket is safe, buoyant and fun.
8. Coleman Dog Life Jacket
BEST FOR ADVENTURE
If you’re into camping, you know the brand Coleman. It’s no surprise that they’ve decided to create a suitable life jacket for your dog while you’re out there on an adventure. If you’re out at the lake, on the boat or going down some rapids on the kayak, Coleman is an excellent choice for those serious adventure dogs. Made from a durable mesh material, bright orange coloring for visibility and quick release straps to set your pooch free once you’re back on land. The Coleman life jacket for dogs is a great choice for those going camping near water.
9. G Lake Dog Life Jacket
BEST FOR LAKES
Another great option for those with larger dogs, the G Lake life jacket has extra padding all around to secure your dog’s position in the water. Made from high-quality material, this jacket comes equipped with handles for easy lifting, yellow straps and neon orange color for visibility. This is a great jacket for the lake or boating where it might get crowded and you could easily lose sight of your floating friend. It also comes in a fun mermaid print which can be great for the kids and for extra visibility.
10. Lifeunion Dog Life Jacket
This orange dog life jacket is great for all kinds of water activities. With a handle on the top for lifting and padding all around for extra support, this is a great all-around choice for shallow or deep water. It has air cushions along the sides that can be inflated for extra comfort.
11. Heywean Dog Life Jacket
This excellent dog life jacket is made specifically with your small dog in mind. The safety handles will equip you with the assurance of being able to easily reach for your pooch if they suddenly seem out of breath and struggling. Simply reach in and pull them out in no time at all. This life jacket is made from high-quality wear- and tear-resistant oxford, with an inner lining of high-density pearl cotton foam. Your dog will be swimming in the pool or lake all summer long with the Heywean dog life jacket.