Just like human beings, dogs absolutely enjoy playing in the water. They love to join their humans on swimming, rafting, kayaking, boating, fishing, and paddleboarding adventures. If you’d like to bring your beloved dog along on your watercraft, you will need the best dog flotation vest to keep them safe and happy in the water.  

The best dog life jackets to go for will depend on whether your dog is a novice, intermediate, or advanced swimmer. To help you find the perfect PFD for your canine water sports companion, our dog life jacket reviews present the 10 best dog life vests, while the buying guide points out the important things to consider when evaluating the best rated dog life jackets out there.

How To Choose A Dog Life Jacket – Buying Guide



The most important thing when buying a dog life jacket is to ensure you get the right size. When it comes to dog’s life jackets sizes, the most important measurement is the chest girth. To determine what life jacket size to get for your dog, use a flexible tape measure to measure around the widest part of your dog’s rib cage. This is usually just a little behind their front legs.

Next, use the provide size chart to pick the right size. Different brands have different sizing charts so it’s important to check your dog’s measurement against each size chart. In addition to this, be sure to take any other unique traits your dog has into consideration.  

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Even when you order the right size, you want to make sure that the jacket is adjustable enough to accommodate changes when your dog grows, or gains or loses weight. To give you flexibility, most doggy life jackets sport three adjustable straps – two under the chest and one under the neck. These adjustment options give you the flexibility to tighten or loosen the fit to ensure security and comfort.


Materials used to make dogs’ life jackets include neoprene and nylon. Neoprene is one of the best material for water safety as it is tough, flexible, and insulating. A neoprene life vest for dogs will provide great buoyancy, all-day comfort, and hold up well. Nylon is lightweight and quick drying while being tough and durable at the same time.


Comfort comes down to the material, design, and fit of a life vest. Dog life jackets should fit snuggly but without being too tight. The best life jacket for a dog that’s a strong swimmer should allow all four legs a full range of motion. 

Also, some dogs require some time to get used to wearing a life vest. Due to this it’s a good idea to get your dog used to wearing the life vest by making them wear it around the house. This will ensure that when you go out for longer trips, your dog will be a lot more comfortable wearing a life jacket.


Since the main purpose of a doggy life jacket is to function as a flotation aid to help your dog stay afloat, it’s very important to pay attention to the kind of buoyancy lift a PFD offers. Different dog life vests provide different levels of flotation.

If you have a heavy dog or one that’s a nervous swimmer, opt for the most buoyant dogs life jackets equipped with extra flotation materials. Besides the foam panels spread all around the body, a float flap under the neck is also important as it helps keep the dog’s head above the water. 

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When you’re out on the water with your dog, the possibility of getting separated is real. Your dog can jump overboard or get excited and chase after something. In these instances, you’ll want your dog to remain visible. In line with this, the best dog life jackets come in bright colors. 

What color you choose comes down to a personal preference, but picking a bright color always adds that extra layer of security. Additionally, a life preserver for dog equipped with reflective details offers visibility in low light conditions as well.


In terms of security, the dog life jacket should remain secure on your dog even when you’re lifting him or her out of the water. The straps should be adjustable and the buckles should be strong enough to provide a secure fastening. The best life jackets for dogs have a grab strap that’s heavy duty enough to withstand the weight of a heavy dog without fail. This is especially important for large dog life jackets.



Q: When My Dog Needs A Life Jacket?


Your dog needs a life jacket whenever he or she is in or around water. PFD for dogs are needed when you bring your dog along on a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Having one when swimming, fishing, or having fun at the beach is also crucial to ensure your dog’s safety. 

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Q: Why My Dog Needs A Life Jacket?


Your dog needs a life jacket to stay safe in the water. Should the worst happen, a life vest will help keep your dog afloat until you can rescue them. If you dog is a poor swimmer, a life jacket will give him or her the confidence to venture in the water.

Even strong swimmers need a life jacket as they can tire in the water. Thanks to the additional support and flotation aid, dogs with life jackets can stay in the water longer without tiring.

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Q: Are Dog Life Jackets Only For Boat Trips?


No, dog life jackets are required whenever your dog is in or around water, not just for boat trips. It’s important for dogs to wear life jackets on boat trips as well as when kayaking, canoeing, standup paddle boarding, swimming, or fishing.

Q: What Size Life Jacket Does My Dog Need?


What size life jacket to get for your dog will depend on their chest girth measurement. To determine what size your dog needs, measure around the widest part of their body then choose the corresponding size on the provided size chart.     

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Q: How Do I Measure My Dog’s Chest Girth?


The chest girth is simply the circumference of your dog’s chest at the widest part. To measure your dog’s chest girth, wrap a flexible tape measure around the widest part of your dog’s body. This is usually just a little behind their front legs.

Q: How Do You Put A Life Jacket On A Dog?


Start by loosening the neck strap and unclasping the buckles then put the life jacket on the dog by inserting the neck and connecting the chest. Finally, tighten the straps for a custom fit around the chest, belly and neck and secure the vest by clipping the buckles.

Q: What Is The Safest Use Of A Life Jacket?


The safest use of a life jacket is to have it on your dog at all times when in or around water. The life vest should be in good condition and should fit securely without restricting the dog’s movements in the water or on land.

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A dog floatation vest or dog swim vest is essential when your dog is in or around water. A dog life preserver not only provides your dog the support he or she needs in the water but also gives you peace of mind that they’ll be safe. Hopefully, our dog life jacket reviews and buying guide have given you the knowledge you need to pick the best dog life jacket for your beloved four-legged friend.

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