Best Dog Life Jackets

The best dog life jacket is Ruffwear Float Coat Dog Life Jacket.

Does your dog love to swim, but you are concerned they will not be able to resurface? Is your dog a strong swimmer, but struggles with the extra weight of water in their fur? Are you looking for a new way to keep them safe while they enjoy the water?

If so, then we have some great news! There is now an easy solution that can solve all three of these problems. Dog life jackets are designed for dogs who need help getting back on board when swimming or floating. They also work well for dogs who struggle with wet fur because it keeps them afloat and dry. 

There are many different dog life jackets on the market, but not all of them meet the needs of your canine companion. Some just don’t fit well, some are too heavy and bulky to carry around, others look like a life jacket for humans. If you’re still looking for the best dog life jacket, check out our comparison guide below!

#1 Ruffwear Float Coat Dog Life Jacket

If you’re planning on taking your dog on a rafting, kayaking, or boating trip, make sure your pooch is outfitted with the Float Coat by Ruffwear. This canine life jacket is made just for dogs and will protect them from any unexpected water emergencies.

The innovative design features a buoyancy foam that hugs your pup like an arm around his belly to keep him afloat no matter what position they are in in- this provides safety during those rougher days when stray waves have a tendency to come crashing down over the boat deck. 

Unlike most other dog life jackets, the Ruffwear K9 Float Coat Dog Life Jacket has placed enormous attention on detail, as everything is made just to perfection. Some thoughtful details, such as its strong handle, easy-to-clip buckles, and water-compatible webbing, make this dog life vest our top pick.

With this dog life jacket, you can spot your dog easily at a distance. The strong built-in low-profile assistance handle makes it easier for you to grab and rescue your pooch from the water. The flotation device is available in three different colors. We highly recommend this product.


  • The Ruffwear Float Coat features abrasion-resistant webbing and foam panels that are placed strategically to provide and support a natural swimming position for pooches.
  • The telescoping neck closure that is featured on this life jacket can be adjusted and secured in place to accommodate and provide a comfortable fit for dogs with different neck sizes.
  • The Ruffwear life jacket also features a built-in handle that is optimally positioned to provide customers with a firm grip when there is a need to drag dogs out of water.
  • The easy-to-clip side buckles that come with the Float Coat make it easier for customers to wear and remove the life jacket from their dogs’ bodies.
  • The reflective strips located on this life jacket make it easier to spot and keep an eye on dogs in low-light conditions.


  • This life jacket usually has sizing inconsistencies, as some customers have reported that the products they have received are either too small or too loose for their pooches to wear.

This product is easily our top pick because of its foam panels strategically placed in areas that will not interfere with the natural swimming positions of dogs, and of its safety features, such as reflective trims for improved visibility, and durable handles to easily lift the dogs up from the water.

#2 Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket

The Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket is second on our list and is quite pocket-friendly. This life vest comes in bright colors with reflective piping, which makes visibility better, even under low light.

At $22 (the last we checked), it is 72% cheaper as compared to our top pick. You simply can’t go wrong with the price here. 

It has been designed with bright colors and reflective accents to provide better visibility while swimming. The polyester ripstop material provides maximum buoyancy in the water, as well as comfort for your pup when on land due to its tuckaway neoprene belly band. 

Adjustable side release buckles provide a secure fit while a neoprene belly band supports their chest and belly comfortably. The life jacket has reflective accents making it easier to find if they’re not out of sight for too long.

One of the best features of this life vest is its front float support which helps in keeping your canine’s head up, avoiding any instances of drinking too much water or suffocation.

The Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket ensures your dog’s safety while having a splashing good time. The vest has been designed through its adjustable side release buckles, to allow for maximum and comfortable mobility of the dog in the water. It’s perfect for budget-conscious dog owners.


  • This life jacket comes with dual handles that make it easier for people to grab and pull dogs out of water during emergency situations.
  • The reflective accents and bright colors incorporated in the design of this life jacket make it easier for customers to keep an eye on the pooch during times when visibility is poor.
  • The front float support that comes with this dog life jacket ensures that a pooch’s head remains above water while the pup is swimming.
  • This dog life jacket comes with adjustable straps and side-release buckles that are intended to provide a secure and comfortable fit for pooches of various sizes.
  • The Ripstop material used to produce this dog life jacket promotes buoyancy in the water and, at the same time, doesn’t impede the pooch’s movement on land.


  • Several customers claim to have received Outward Hound jackets that weren’t true to size, as the products were either too small or too big for their pooches.
  • There are multiple reports of various components of this dog life jacket breaking apart on first use, which puts the durability of the product in doubt.

#3 Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Dog Life Jacket

The Kurgo Surf-n-Turf Dog Life Jacket deserves a spot at our top picks as it is really unique. It can be used both as a life jacket, and a raincoat for your dog too. The floatation layer is not permanently fixed and can be easily removed for a perfect fit waterproof shell, making this one of the most reliable dog life jackets.

It comes with 2 traverse handles across the top of the life jacket, which allows for quick control of your dog during emergency situations. With bright color and reflective trim, it is easier to spot your pooch even under low lighting.

This dog life jacket also comes with a bonus bottle opener and is completely machine washable.


  • The Surf n’ Turf life jacket comes with two transverse handles to provide customers with quick control and a better grip when there is a need to extract dogs from water.
  • This dog life jacket features three different points of adjustment that customers can use to provide a comfortable fit for their canine buddies.
  • This Kurgo product features a high-contrast color combination and reflective trims, both of which are intended to provide better visibility when lighting is poor.
  • The versatile design of this Kurgo product ensures that it can be effectively used as both a life jacket and raincoat for dogs.
  • The rear D-ring that comes with this dog life jacket provides a functional outlet for the attachment of a leash when walking the pooch on land.


  • The absence of padding on the chest and belly region of this dog life jacket usually results in the product being uncomfortable for pooches to wear.
  • The material used to manufacture this life jacket tends to disintegrate easily and needs repairs.

#4 Bess Dog Life Jacket

Bess Dog Life Jacket is undeniably one of the best designs for dog life jackets and perfectly fits on this list. With its “shark” inspired design, you can be sure that your dogs will be the star attraction when you bring them out for water activities!

Made from high-grade polyester oxford and nylon fabric, this life jacket is a lifesaver for your dog should they get stuck in the water. It’s made from a ripstop oxford nylon fabric, and the mesh fiber allows for quick drying and proper drainage.

With easy to attach attachments that let you control your pet or throw them a lifesaver rope without getting wet yourself, this jacket will be sure to keep him afloat with more confidence than ever before

The Bess Dog Life Jacket has many features that make this design an excellent choice if you want a life jacket that not only looks good but functions effectively too.


  • Bess’ life jacket for dogs comes with quick-release buckles that make it convenient and easier for customers to wear and remove the jacket from their pooches.
  • The mesh fiber material used in constructing this product provides proper drainage and ensures that the life jacket can dry out in a relatively shorter period.
  • The top grab handle that is featured on this dog life jacket makes it convenient to grab, either by hand or boat hook and lift a pooch out of water.
  • The heavy-duty D-ring hook that is incorporated on this life jacket provides a means for customers to attach leashes and walk their pooches – while putting on the jacket – on land.
  • The nylon fabric used to manufacture this life jacket stretches to provide a firm and comfortable fit for dogs.


  • The durability of this life jacket is suspect, as several customers have reported parts such as the jacket’s handle and buckles breaking on first use.
  • This dog life jacket has insufficient padding to properly keep some dogs afloat.

#5 Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket Vest

The Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket Vest is designed to provide ultimate buoyancy with a comfortable, secure fit to your pooch. It also boasts of a breathable mesh underbelly which is ideal for draining and drying. It comes in various sizes and is a perfect dog life jacket for large doggies.

A heavy-duty fastening system for the dog’s neck and belly provide more security and ease of mobility by the dog. The adjustable straps also ensure the comfort of the dog when in the water.


  • The Paws Aboard life jacket features a top handle that makes it easy for one to simply lift a pooch out of water.
  • The reflective material used to produce this Paws Aboard jacket vest glows in low-light situations, thereby making it easier to spot dogs when there is poor visibility.
  • This jacket vest package includes a complementary 4½-foot long rope leash for walking dogs on land.
  • The easy-clip buckles that come with this life jacket ensure that customers can conveniently get their pooches in and out of the jacket vest.
  • The breathable mesh material used to craft this jacket vest’s underbelly region provides proper draining and makes it possible for the life jacket to dry faster.


  • Several customers have bemoaned the poor quality of the materials used in constructing this product, with the life jacket vest reported, on several occasions, breaking apart after a few uses.
  • Per multiple customer feedbacks, the Velcro straps intended to hold this life jacket vest in place are usually placed too wide apart to be effective.

#6 Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket

The high-quality neoprene side panels of the Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket provide maximum buoyancy and comfort to your dog. The front float enables the head of your dog to always stay above water. Made from highly durable materials, this life vest ensures you get value for your money as well.

The natural insulation from this dog life jacket keeps dogs warm while swimming, making this one of the best dog life jackets available. This product is ideal for novice swimmers.


  • Outward Hound’s life jacket features side foam neoprene panels to provide pooches with maximum buoyancy and thermal insulation when swimming.
  • The front float that comes with this life jacket provides comfortable padding that helps to support and keep a dog’s head afloat when in water.
  • The high-visibility red material and reflective piping used to manufacture this life jacket make it possible for customers to keep an eye on their pooches when visibility is poor.
  • The quick-release snaps featured on the Outward Hound jacket make it possible for customers to quickly wear and remove the life jacket from their dogs.
  • The Outward Hound Dawson life jacket is available in seven different size options, ranging from XS (extra small) to XL (extra large), to provide a convenient fit for various dog sizes.


  • Despite the availability of different sizes options, several customers have commented that the provided Outward Hound jackets didn’t fit their dogs, despite purchasing jackets that fit their pooches’ size ranges.
  • The Velcro straps that come with this dog life jacket reportedly tend to break too easily.

#7 Vivaglory Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

The Vivaglory Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket comes in different sizes and a variety of bright colors for easy visibility. The life vest comes in a sporty design, which looks quite attractive. The vest sits lightly on a dog providing it the comfort for mobility.

A single top grab handle is an added feature to this vest as it makes rescuing much easier and can be caught by a boat hook.

This is an ideal and inexpensive product which is quite reliable. It’s available in sporty design and 8 different colors. You are assured of the high-quality straps and Velcro, which fits easily on your pooch.


  • The Vivaglory Sports life jacket is easy to put on and remove from dogs, thanks to the inclusion of sturdy quick-release buckles.
  • This Vivaglory dog life jacket has passed the CA65 test to be certified that it is manufactured without chemicals and toxins known to be harmful to a pooch.
  • The strategically designed neck region of this life jacket helps to keep a pooch’s neck in a comfortable and natural position while swimming.
  • The reflective trim incorporated on this Ripstop life jacket improves visibility and makes it possible for customers to keep an eye on their dogs in different lighting conditions.
  • The center-weighted grab handle that is fixed on top of this life jacket makes it easy to grab and pull dogs out of water during life-threatening and emergency situations.


  • Several customers have commented that this life jacket was too bulky and that the product didn’t help their pooches stay afloat.
  • This life jacket is reportedly too stiff and difficult for some customers to wear on their pooches.

#8 HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket Vest

HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket Vest has an advanced design specifically intended to protect your dog from drowning in water. The two layers of closed-cell foam support maximum buoyancy.

An advanced breathable underbelly mesh is also available for draining and drying, giving your pooch all the comfort it requires when in water.

This dog life jacket does not only ensure your dog’s safety but also comfort while in water. The chin float ensures the dog’s head is always raised to avoid drowning or drinking excessive water. Made from top of the quality materials which are very much adjustable to fit perfectly with your furry friend, this life vest gives you value for your money.


  • This life jacket vest is available in seven different sizes, ranging from XXS to XXL, to ensure compatibility with various dog sizes.
  • The front float feature of this life jacket vest helps to keep the heads of inexperienced swimmer dogs above water.
  • The adjustable belt and quick-release buckles that come with this life jacket can be utilized to provide a comfortable and appropriate fit of the vest on a dog.
  • The HAOCOO life jacket comes with a durable D-ring that provides an avenue for the attachment of a leash, when walking a pooch on land.
  • The back reflective strip design of the HAOCOO vest makes it possible to see where a dog is at night.


  • The absence of side float devices on this life jacket results in the vest flipping dogs onto their sides when swimming.
  • There are several customer reports of various components of this life jacket vest easily breaking off, due to poor construction quality.

#9 Vivaglory Neoprene Dog Life Jacket

The Vivaglory Neoprene Dog Life Jacket is constructed with top-of-the-range neoprene material, which weighs less, making your dog’s mobility easier. The material is durable, which makes it a pocket-friendly bargain.

Built-in floatation layers ensure your pooch’s security, supported by the Velcro fastening systems which keep the product securely fastened.

The premium neoprene material is skin-friendly. It gives your dog additional safety and endurance while swimming. With adjustable straps and a quick-release buckle, double protection is ensured.


  • The premium neoprene material and built-in floatation layers utilized in the construction of this dog life jacket provide additional buoyancy for swimming dogs.
  • The Vivaglory Neoprene life jacket features a fastening system that wraps around a dog’s belly to ensure that the jacket remains on, and keeps the pooch secure while swimming.
  • The inclusion of quick-release buckles on this dog life jacket ensures that customers can promptly get their pooches out of the jacket when needed.
  • The padding used for the neck region of this life jacket provides support for a pooch’s neck and also helps to keep a dog’s neck above water while swimming.
  • Vivaglory’s dog life jacket features a durable rescue handle that can be used to conveniently pull pooches out of water when the need arises.


  • Some customers have reported that the straps of this life jacket don’t stay closed, thereby causing the vest to repeatedly slide off the pooch’s body.
  • The Velcro straps of this life jacket tend to get caught in the fur of long-haired dogs, and it can be difficult to disentangle the straps from the hair.

Dog Life Jackets Buyer’s Guide

Dogs are highly social animals, should you go for a swim or boat ride, be sure your pooch would love that as well- even if they don’t know how to swim. Protecting your furry friend from drowning may be one of the main reasons you are reading this article.

Before setting out to buy a life vest for your canine doggie, you should consider a number of factors.

Not all dogs are the same, and they require to be handled differently. There are many dog life jackets on the market today, and you might be thinking about how to choose the perfect jacket.

Our buyer’s guide will take you through some factors to consider before settling down on one.

Related: Best Dog Pool Floats

Factor 1: Buoyancy

This comes on top of the list.

After all, the primary purpose of a dog life jacket is to help your pooch float easily even with the lack of swimming skills. Dogs, just like humans, can get exhausted too which makes it harder for them to stay afloat for long. This can be worsened if your canine friend tries to swim against strong water currents or is generally trying to float.

Floatation paddings vary from one brand to another. Some have them at the sides, surrounding the back, or under the belly. The location of the floatation paddings solely depends on the size, shape, and weight of your dog.

Its ability to swim should also come as a consideration.

As a general guideline, look out for dog life jackets with front floatation capacities. That is floatation paddings in the neck and chest areas to ensure the dog’s head stays above water at all times.

Related: Best Dog Pools

Factor 2: Bright Colors And Reflective Trims

Accidents can easily occur, and fast action may be necessary to rescue your dog. Your pooch may be having a merry time splashing water and swimming but can get carried away by strong waves.

It could be hard to notice your pooch from a distance. That is why a bright-colored life vest is recommended.

In most cases, bright means orange, red, or any other shouting colors that screams attention. This also helps those who are having water games such as boat riding, surfing, skiing, among other water activities, to identify the dog and avoid hitting them easily.

A reflective strip comes in handy when your furry friend gets lost and is out of sight in low visibility times, probably when it is dark. You will need a reflective trim on its life vest to easily spot your pooch from a distance and be able to rescue them.

Image from Embark Vet

Factor 3: Rescue Handles

A sturdy and durable handle is the most recommended type as it comes in handy when rescuing your pooch. A decent dog life jacket should have at least one handle which you can use to pull the dog from the water especially if they are scared, tired, or generally disobliging.

For most small and medium-sized doggies, just one strong handle is enough and is best found on the top part. It makes grabbing easier and faster. For the bigger dogs, a life vest with two handles, preferably on the sides is more ideal. This is because you can use both hands as leverage over the weight and size of the dog.

Factor 4: Size & Fit

Different manufacturers make life vests in different sizes.

Getting started on buying a dog life jacket requires one to take the measurements of their dog and compare them with the ones placed by the manufacturer. You may not get the exact measurement, so it is recommended to get one that is close.

While taking measurements, consider the following:

  • Weight: Different dog life jackets are designed for different weight ranges and can only be effective if your dog falls in that range.
  • Size of the neck and chest: To ensure the vest fits incorrectly, make sure to know your dog’s girths around the neck and rib cage. This ensures maximum comfort for it which eventually translates to security. A tight jacket may not be comfortable while a loose one may even slip off.
  • Length: To ensure adequate coverage, make sure you measure your pet’s length from the neck to the base of the tail. This provides for maximum efficiency of the dog life jacket.

Before making a purchase, it is also essential to test and see if the life vest fits correctly. Even though these jackets have adjustable straps, they don’t promise a well-fitting jacket. You can test your pooch’s mobility in the jacket. You can also check how comfortable they are by having them sit, stand or run in the jackets.

Make sure that the vest easily slides in through your dog’s neck, with enough wiggle room even after closing the buckles and straps. None of these attachments should rub against your pooch uncomfortably as this may lead to chafing. One easy way of finding the perfect fit is by sliding your fingers in between the dog and the straps to make sure they are not too tight.

However, in case you have bought a life vest that doesn’t seem to fit incorrectly, you can always return it to the store and have it exchanged for a fitting one.

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

Factor 5: Durability

We all love to buy products that last longer and do not require frequent maintenance.

Purchase of a dog life jacket should be a one-off affair and not a recurrent expenditure. Moreover, it is not just about the durability of the product but also the quality of the material. This will tell you how safe and secure your pooch will be even in your absence.

Look for a product that is made from rip resistance materials, can withstand long-time strapping and tugging, and above all, it should be an all-weather product.

If your pooch likes to chew its toys or just anything they find, be sure to look for a jacket without any loose straps the dog can get their mouth on.

Another factor one can consider is whether it contains a leash attachment loop. This usually comes in handy when you are not able to lift your canine friend, maybe due to its weight or any other reasons, and there is a strong wave coming. Clipping the jacket on a leash will help you keep your canine companion closer to you; take it to the shore or until you get help.

Reading reviews, like this one, will also help you get started on getting yourself a good life vest. Be sure to get honest reviews that do not have any commercial affiliation with any brands.

Related: Best Dog Backpack Carriers

Final Thoughts

Should Your Dog Swim?

Even after getting a life vest for them, some dogs are better kept away from the waters. Breeds such as bulldogs and pugs are generally not built for swimming. Should your pooch also have any medical issues which may hinder their swimming ability, (Such as cardiac or respiratory diseases), you should consult your vet first before getting in the water.

Get your furry friend a good life vest, such as the Ruffwear K9 Float Coat Dog Life Jacket, which is our top pick, to ensure its maximum safety and comfort while in the water.

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Pete Decker