The 10 best life jackets for dogs of 2021
Staff, courtesy of Outdoor Hound
Before you load your dog into the car for a day of kayaking, swimming in the pool, or surfing, be sure to pack the life jackets, for both of you. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and even if yours is a pro, they can still get tired, making it difficult to keep their heads above water. So find the best dog life jacket for your pooch, then have some fun in the sun.
What to look for
Before we get to the reviews, let’s take a look at the must-have features. While there are no Coast Guard standards for dog life jackets (as there are for humans), here’s what you should be looking for:
D ring: Your dog’s life jacket should have a D-ring so you can attach a leash to keep your dog close, in and out of the water.
Manipulate: A handle sewn into the top of the coat makes it easy to carry your puppy in and out of the water. These also help you teach your dog to swim, as they allow you to hold the handle like training wheels until your dog is a confident paddler.
Good visibility: Bright colors and reflective stripes make it easy to see your pooch in any weather, day or night.
Balanced flotation: Balanced flotation works with the dog’s swimming ability, not against it. Excessive buoyancy or flotation in the wrong places can cause the dog to tip over or put it in a position it cannot swim in. Look for a flotation in the stomach, back and sides. If your dog is not a good swimmer, gets tired easily, or has a short muzzle, also look for a front flotation pad to keep their head above water, even if they are disabled.
The right fit: When your dog’s life jacket is properly fitted, it will keep the coat securely in place without getting stuck in the water. For a personalized fit, try a jacket that bases the sizes on the dog’s girth and comes with adjustable suspenders. Some floaty coats also offer quick release buckles for quickly removing the jacket.
How we selected
All of the dog life jackets we reviewed received at least four stars and most of them have ratings of 4.5 and above. We’ve looked at the must-haves from the list above, along with a range of styles and colors, including a few cute options like shark fins and mermaid tails. (Who said fun can’t be functional?) We’ve also covered a plethora of prices, from budget options to premium products, so you can find the right fit for your dog and your wallet.
Ideal for small dogs
Outward Hound Standley Sport Dog Life Jacket
This durable, high-quality dog ââlife jacket features a front float, which fits under the chin, to help keep your puppy’s head above the water. It’s especially good for small dogs, inexperienced (or less strong) swimmers, and those with short snouts. However, this floating coat may not be the best choice for large breeds, as the handles are not reinforced. In some cases, they have broken under the stress of pulling large dogs out of the water.
Best for visibility
Fragralley High Visibility Dog Life Jacket
While this dog life jacket gets top marks for its superior buoyancy and human grade materials, what sets it apart is its vibrant color range, which makes it easy to spot your dog, even in bad weather or at night.
It’s a good choice for larger, naturally floating puppies (like Labs, Poodles, and Portuguese Water Dogs). Since most of its lift is in the rear, it can be difficult for small breeds, small breeds, or heavy pooches like pugs and bulldogs to keep their heads above water.
Grandby Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket
With over 17,000 ratings, 90% of which are 4 stars and above, the Granby is a fan favorite. It is designed to fit a variety of dogs, from Corgis to Afghans, with straps adjustable according to circumference. It comes with additional safety features like reflective accents, which make your puppy visible even in the dark. And it’s perfect for all swimmers, from beginners to old pros.
A few pet parents have noted that if the jacket is too large, it can slip off and make swimming difficult. So, measure carefully.
Snik-S Shark Dog Life Jacket with Shark Fin
Several dog life jackets have shark fins, but most position them on the hindquarters, which can cause extra lift in the back and throw your friend off balance. The mid-back fin and ultra-thin fabric of this dog life jacket help keep your dog in a natural swimming position. Bonus: the fine fabric dries quickly when you’re back on earth.
Users mentioned that they wanted the handle to be a bit more solid and padded to make it easier to support your puppy. This floaty coat can also be a bit large, so you can order a size down.
Ideal for active dogs
Vivaglory Neoprene Sport Style Dog Life Jacket
This sporty neoprene life jacket is designed with three adjustable straps and side release buckles, so it’s as easy to change the fit once your puppy is wet as it was before. The sporty style adapts to both the neck and the body, making it comfortable and easy to move around, so Pippi can move around easily, running in the sand or chasing a ball through the sand. water. Make sure the Velcro hooks are away from the skin, otherwise it may cause irritation.
Queenmore Ripstop Dog Safety Vest
This life jacket dries quickly, fits easily, protects your dog with reflective accents, and does it all with a whimsical mermaid appeal. Neck, stomach and back floats provide full buoyancy. The sturdy and discreet handle makes it easy to take your little mermaid out of the water. Some reviews have noted that it might be better for small dogs, as a few breeds over 50 pounds struggled to stay afloat.
Best to stay put
Pawz Pet Products Neoprene Dog Life Jacket
This patriotic life jacket meets all the basics – it’s reflective, has a handle, and features a D-ring for the leashes. It also has sturdy hook-and-loop fasteners around the stomach and neck that keep it securely in place, even when wet. One reviewer noted that the jacket never loosened when submerged like other jackets did. The weight of the material, which makes it float, could also make it hot in summer. So, watch your friend in hot weather to make sure they don’t overheat.
Best high performance
EzyDog Dog Life Jacket with Flotation Device
This attractive floating coat combines high performance materials and an innovative design to keep your pooch safe wherever he wanders. Plus, the ultra-buoyant material promotes an easy swimming position, perfect for dogs of all ages and abilities. The company subjects its dog life vests to rigorous testing on the water and on land to ensure they are both comfortable and ergonomic.
Some users have noted that getting the right fit can be difficult with thick-breasted puppies, so Boxer and Rottie owners may want to look elsewhere.
Ideal for large dogs
Kurgo Surf n Turf Dog Life Jacket
This nifty life jacket doubles as a personal flotation device and raincoat (just peel off the flotation layer and you’re ready for stormy weather). Its two handles make it easier for your dog to get out of the water, ideal for large or heavy breeds. It’s also made from a sturdy ripstop material, which means it will stand up to anything your puppy prepares.
The brightly colored vest features a reflective trim for nighttime visibility and two metal D-rings make it easy to connect the leash. There is no padding under the abdominal straps, so watch for skin irritation if you lift your puppy more than once or twice per trip.
Better for the planet
RUFFWEAR floating coat
The GAIA PVC-free foam panels in this jacket are soft and comfortable and, most importantly, good for the planet. The shape of the jacket promotes a natural swimming position and the adjustable neck accommodates a range of dogs, from Chihuahuas to most.
The water-compatible strap stays stable when wet, so it won’t stretch or loosen in the water. It has a low profile handle that makes it easy to help your dog on dry land. The only downside is the price. This is a more expensive life jacket, but the quality shows in the ratings: 93% give it 5 stars.
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