Best Life Jackets for Dogs – 5 Top Dog Life Vests

Amused is the word that best describes my reaction when I first heard of dog life jackets. All along, my conviction was that all dogs can swim. However, it soon dawned on me that not all canines are good swimmers.

Besides, after years of fascination with and sailing on different water bodies, I know that even the strongest swimmers can get into trouble when sailing. It, therefore, makes sense for a dog owner to invest in canine life preservers.

The Best life jackets for dogs guarantee that you and your four-legged friend safely enjoy each other’s company when chartering, boating or water skiing.

Even though there are many good quality dog life jackets, the following are my favorites due to their durability, comfort features, ease of handling as well as aesthetic appeal.


Kyjen’s Outward Hound 

The Outward Hound is one of the leading brands when it comes to dog life jackets. Other than the fact the jacket manufacturer is Kyjen, the leader in dog’s outdoor and travel gear, I love this jacket for many other reasons.

For starters, it comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and patterns. It is also fairly priced and available from both online and offline stores.

A good jacket should offer both protection and safety to the dog. The Outward Hound’s light weight, easy to fit, and useful features make it the perfect sheath for your mutt.

The top grab handles, as well as the side, handles, conveniently facilitate smooth rescue while the colorful reflective accents increase visibility.

It has a fully adjustable neck and chest flaps with front float to help keep the dog’s head above the water.
The jacket comes in varied sizes ranging from Medium, Large, and X-Large.

A pet owner whose dog is between sizes should go with the larger of the two jacket sizes to prevent straining of the seams and increase the jacket’s durability.

Average Rank 4.3 out of 5

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 The Ruffwear’s K-9 Float Coat

I find this an ideal pet floatation device as it provides through a sleek high fashion package, all the safety a dog needs while in the water. In fact, due to its creative, practical floating features, efficiency, and design, the jacket boasts of getting the most reviews from pet owners.

It was a challenge for me to decide which between the vibrant dandelion yellow and the Red Current K-9 Float Coat to buy. Both are appealing, reflective and made from abrasion resistant materials. Eventually, I made my choice based on the color I thought my mutt loved.

The PFD has several features that guarantee safety and comfort of the dog. For instance, instead of the traditional one thick layer found in most coats, the K-9 Float Coat features several layers of closed cell foam. The foam improves buoyancy by allowing natural swimming postures.

It comfortably sculpts the dog’s body without impeding its natural body movements. Secondly, the coat’s belly panel foam supports underside floatation while the broad telescoping neck collar keeps the dog’s head above water. Even though the K-9 Float is pricey, that cost is well worth it in comparison to the overall value.

Average Rank 4.7 out of 5

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EzyDog’s Doggy Flotation Vest

One review humorously describes this vest as the Cadillac of canine outdoor equipment products’. It offers superior floatation features, which does not surprise me considering the manufacturer is EZY DOG, a trailblazer in agility harnesses.

A look at the customer reviews and ratings of the product confirms that it is indeed a popular product among pet owners.

Consistently, the ratings range between 4 and five stars while the reviews are enviable. The heavy-duty polyester material gives the coat up to 50% more flotation while the neoprene adjustable straps offer an ergonomic and protected fit.

The coat also has a reflective detailing for enhancing nighttime safety and a grab handle that supports the safe lifting of the dog.

One thing I found reassuring about the vest is that it comes in varied sizes ranging from the micro coat series’ of X-Small and XXX-Small to the extra-large vests. The EzyDog’s Doggy Flotation Vest comes in four-color options of Red, Yellow, Camo Pink and Camo Green.

 Average Rank 4.5 out of 5

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 Paws Aboard  Dog Life Jacket

The Paw Aboard series model adds a twist of fun to dogs’ life jackets by making them cute, sturdy and affordable. In addition to the typically desirable floatation and safety features, it comes with a delightful lifeguard design.

It also features two reflective strips and bright day-glow designer colors to give maximum visibility, a sturdy on top handle for easy grabbing and lifting, and flexible nylon bands with quick to release buckles.

To guarantee the comfort of the dog, this PFD has a wider neck and chest robust Velcro clasp system, and an advanced breathable mesh underbelly.

To me, the breathable mesh is a novel feature that helps to drain and dry water, as well as prevent exhaustion and chafing. Since the vests offer more room at the neck, it is ideal for thick-necked and bulky-shouldered hounds.

Average Rank 4.3 out of 5

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Henry and Clemmies

For a pet owner wishing for extra buoyancy for the mutt’s head and chest, this life jacket will suffice. It has unique features that support the head and torso thereby guaranteeing superior floatation.

Such features include the flap designed open neck or chest strap, which considerately comes below the pet’s chin keeping its head up to prevent water from entering the mouth.

The PVC and toxic free life jacket consist of water-resistant, 600d Ripstop polyester material. As a result, it becomes highly resistant to tearing or ripping.

Besides, it has reinforced stitching, buckles, and straps for ensuring a firm and comfy fit for the dog, as well as a super bright reflective piping for visibility.

Last but by no means the least, I found the sturdy sewn-in grip handle impressive in that it makes rescue efforts smooth and efficient. The Henry and Clemmies  are blue and red in color

Whatever type of pet flotation device you opt for, make sure it matches your dog’s measurements. Most if not all companies selling dog life jackets have sizing charts.

Use them to get your furry four-legged friend a comfortable, cozy fit. Not only will the dog stay safe, and less fatigued, but it will give you extended play sessions where both you and the dog get to enjoy your favorite water activities.

 Average Rank: 3.8 out of 5

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Do you use a life jacket for your dog? If so, feel free to share your experience in the comment below.


Click here to read more about why wear a life jacket

Click here to read more about how to sail with a dog



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10 thoughts on “Best Life Jackets for Dogs – 5 Top Dog Life Vests”

  1. This will sound like a silly question but I have a chihuahua and she often comes everywhere with me. Do you think I would be able to find a life jacket for her and if so where to go? I ask because I know there are special clothing companies for lap dogs and exceptionally small dogs but she is very small so this concerns me. As you know a lot about the brands etc I would really appreciate your opinion. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Holly,

      How are you? Nice to hear from you:)

      Wow, Chihuahua, I love these dogs:)

      Yes, of course, all the life jackets I have mentioned on the article are absolutely awesome!

      You can buy them online or offline. One of the best places to buy online is “Amazon” or you can search in Google. I am sure you will find easily a nice life jacket for your dog. If you prefer offline, then you’ll have to check if there is a manufacturer in your area.

      I hope it helped:)

      Thank you for the comment and wish you to sail soon!

  2. Hey there

    You have laid out a great article relating to life vests for dogs. It can be very amusing for anyone having a dog to watch them swim, but it can be dangerous as well.
    You have explained the intentions clearly and the products description are made simpler as well for people like me. Would love to see other reviews on pet products.

    Zhi Wei

    • Hi Lee Wei,

      You’re right, I personally put a life jacket on my dogs when I go sailing because I don’t want to take any risk.

      They got use to it quickly and it doesn’t bother them at all!

      Thank you for the comment:)

      Have a nice day!

  3. My friend is really into sailing and was just telling me that she needs to get a life jacket for her dog. I chuckled because I had never heard of this before. I thought she was just being really paranoid.

    After reading your article, I guess it makes sense for dogs to have one. Yes, they can swim just like us, but they will get tired.

    I am going to pass this info on to my friend. She will be thrilled I found it!

    • Hi Simone,

      Yes, dogs can swim, but not for a long time. As you said, they get tired quickly and this can be a problem at sea.

      So it’s better to take some precautions and put a nice life jacket on your dog:)

      Thank you for the comment

      Have a wonderful day!

  4. Having a few different breeds of dogs as I was growing up. I do know some dogs are stronger swimmers than others but even though every dog I have ever had can always swim, as you mentioned it’s the water conditions.

    It’s one thing to be in the flat water and then it’s a whole new ball game to be in more turbulent or wavy water.

    Dogs require having their head well above the water as we do so your review for life jackets was right on the money and especially when sailing.

    Great post!

    • Hi Travis,

      Most dogs can swim, but not all of them will be able to swim for a long time. Also, small dogs don’t have the same resistance force as the big dogs in the water. I always put a life jacket on my dogs on board a boat, we never know!

      I am glad you like my article, I hope it will be helpful for all of us “readers”:)

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a wonderful day!

  5. I think you touched on a great niche here with lifejackets designed especially for dogs.

    Like you, I had always kind of assumed that all dogs could swim but as it turns out some are better than others. Also, I feel like people who enjoy going to the lake or the ocean in their boats would also very much enjoy taking their dogs with them so for that purpose I think that these dog life jackets would be extremely useful.

    Great post!

    • Hi Alec,

      Thank you for your comment:)

      Generally, all dogs are able to swim, but not all of them are good swimmers. Therefore, it is very important to invest in life jackets to keep our dogs safe.

      Thank you for passing by and wish you a wonderful day!


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