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6 Best Dog Life Jackets in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

Dog wearing life vest

Some dog breeds are natural swimmers, such as Spaniels and Retrievers, while others are less comfortable in water. Regardless of your dog’s natural swimming ability, however, it’s vital to protect them from accidental drowning. Even a strong swimmer can become fatigued or get lost in a strong current.

In addition, some breeds struggle to maintain buoyancy in water, such as Bulldogs, so a personal flotation device (life jacket) is necessary. To help you and your pup stay safe on outdoor adventures near water, here’s a list of the six best dog life jackets, based on reviews from fellow dog owners.

divider-pawA Quick Comparison of Our Favorites – 2022 Update

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket
  • Multiple reflective strips and bright colors
  • Multiple handles
  • Durable nylon construction
  • Best Value
    Second place
    ZippyPaws Dog Life Jacket ZippyPaws Dog Life Jacket
  • Affordable
  • Multiple sizes
  • Reflective strips and handles
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Frisco Dog Life Jacket Frisco Dog Life Jacket
  • Multiple handles and reflective strips
  • D-ring for a leash
  • Quick-release side buckles
  • Frisco Neoprene Life Jacket Frisco Neoprene Life Jacket
  • Durable neoprene
  • Front flotation flap with side panels
  • Reflective strips
  • The 6 Best Dog Life Jackets

    1. Outward Hound RipStop Dog Life Jacket – Best Overall

    Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket

    Material: Nylon
    Size options: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large
    Features: High-visibility colors, multiple handles, quick-release buckles

    Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket is the best overall dog life jacket, due to its high-visibility colors and multiple reflective strips that make your pup easy to spot in the water. The jacket has multiple easy-grip handles and quick-release buckles, so you can grab your dog in a current and release it if it becomes stuck. The jacket also has excellent flotation to keep your pup above water while you come to the rescue.

    Each handle is reinforced for strength and durability, so they’re resistant to tearing as you haul your dog’s bodyweight out of the water. The side buckles are adjustable for a comfortable fit and release easily to take the jacket on and off. There’s also front float support to ensure your dog’s head stays above water. Even with the jacket on, dogs can move comfortably and enjoy swimming and playing while giving you peace of mind. The jacket comes in x-small to x-large sizes, though some reviewers noted that they couldn’t get a good fit on broad-chested breeds.

    Pros
    • Multiple reflective strips and bright colors
    • Multiple handles
    • Durable nylon construction
    Cons
    • May not be suitable for broad-chested breeds

    2. ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket – Best Value

    ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket

    Material: Polyester
    Size options: XX-small, X-small, small, medium, large, X-large
    Features: Reflective strips, multiple handles

    The ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket is the best dog life jacket for the money. Perfect for owners on a budget, this life jacket provides protection for your pup in an affordable package. The jacket features dense foam panels to help dogs stay afloat and reflective strips for visibility in virtually any weather conditions. If you need to lift your dog out of the water, the jacket has padded handles in several areas.

    The jacket is available in XX-small to X-large sizes, so it’s suitable for virtually any breed. While this jacket is ideal for transitional periods or for the occasional canoe, kayak, lake, or beach trip, some reviewers noted that it’s better to invest in a quality life jacket if you’re going to spend a lot of time in the water with your dog.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Multiple sizes
    • Reflective strips and handles
    Cons
    • May not be suitable for frequent water trips

    3. Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket – Premium Choice

    Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket (1)

    Material: Polyester
    Size options: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large
    Features: High-visibility colors, multiple handles, quick-release buckles

    The Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is the premium choice for your water-loving dog. The life jacket is designed for flexible movement but provides plenty of buoyancy to keep your dog safe. The front panel and flotation flap and 20-millimeter foam side panels keep your dog’s head above water, so it can swim and play safely. To ensure a perfect fit, the jacket has a 3.4-millimeter neoprene belly band with three adjustable straps. Side buckles with quick-release closures keep your dog from getting caught on objects and make the jacket easy to put on and take off.

    Should you need them, the jacket has grab handles on the top—two for large sizes—to lift your dog out of the water quickly in an emergency. There’s also a D-ring to attach a leash to the life jacket. Four reflective accents and the bright color enhance visibility in dark or dim light. Several reviewers with large dogs noted that the jacket doesn’t support their weight in water and that getting a proper fit is difficult.

    Pros
    • Multiple handles and reflective strips
    • D-ring for a leash
    • Quick-release side buckles
    Cons
    • Not buoyant for large breeds
    • Sizing is difficult

    4. Frisco Neoprene Life Jacket – Best for Puppies

    Frisco Neoprene Life Jacket (1)

    Material: Neoprene
    Size options: X-small, small
    Features: Reflective strips, high visibility

    The Frisco Neoprene Life Jacket is the best choice for puppies. The jacket has a sleek design for maximum mobility in water, as well as four reflective accents and a bright color to find your dog quickly in low-light conditions. The front panel has a flotation flap to keep your dog’s head above water, and the side panels keep your dog floating and add warmth.

    The jacket is made of durable foam rubber that floats on its own, in addition to the foam side panels, for added safety. All jackets come with a fun fetch ball toy and are available in x-small and small sizes. Though this jacket works well for puppies, it’s best used as a transitional jacket and won’t fit most larger dogs.

    Pros
    • Durable neoprene
    • Front flotation flap with side panels
    • Reflective strips
    Cons
    • Best as a transitional jacket

    5. EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket

    EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket

    Material: Polyester
    Size options: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large
    Features: High-visibility colors, multiple handles, quick-release buckles

    The EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket is a top-quality life jacket for dogs that offers up to 50% more buoyancy than traditional vests. Perfect for dogs that enjoy the water and go on frequent adventures, the jacket is constructed of heavy-duty polyester and ultra-buoyant foam with a contoured neck for comfort.

    For the best fit, the jacket has adjustable neoprene straps and an easy on/off strap in the front. The attached D-ring allows for convenient leash attachment, and the top grab handle helps you get your dog out of the water quickly in an emergency. The jacket is available in x-small to x-large sizes. Some reviewers noted that it helped their dogs float, but didn’t keep their heads above water.

    Pros
    • Buoyant foam
    • D-ring attachment
    • Lift handle
    Cons
    • May not help dogs’ heads stay above water

    6. Dog Helios 3M Reflective Dog Harness & Life Jacket

    Dog Helios Splash-Explore 3M Reflective Dog Harness & Life Jacket

    Material: Nylon
    Size options: Small, medium, large
    Features: Reflective strip, tear-resistant

    The Dog Helios Splash-Explore 3M Reflective Dog Harness & Life Jacket features 3M reflective strips for maximum visibility in the water. The jacket is made of durable 600-denier oxford nylon to improve buoyancy and help it last for years. If you need to get your dog out of the water quickly, the top grab handle can support its weight without tearing. The adjustable nylon straps and double buckles with hook-and-loop closures provide extra security during swimming and lifting.

    The jacket is available in small, medium, and large sizes and multiple colors. If you have an especially small or large dog, this jacket is not the best choice.

    Pros
    • Durable nylon construction
    • Multiple reflective strips and straps
    Cons
    • Limited size range

    divider-paw

    Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Dog Life Jacket

    Dog life jackets are a vital part of outdoor adventure with your dog. Whether you have a natural swimmer like a Labrador Retriever or a dog that struggles to swim effectively, any dog can tire or get swept up in a current and end up in a life-threatening situation.

    Life jackets are necessary for any outdoor trip involving water, even if you don’t plan to spend time swimming. Dogs can easily end up in a river, lake, or the ocean and lose control of the situation, but a life jacket buys you time to rescue your dog before drowning.

    Hunting dogs in vests
    Image Credit: Rionegro, Shutterstock

    What You Should Look For in a Dog Life Jacket:

    Dog Life Jacket Buoyancy

    The first priority for a life jacket is buoyancy. Life jackets are intended to keep your dog afloat, whether it’s swimming and playing or struggling to stay above water. Many life jacket options have flotation flaps to keep a dog’s head above water and side flotation devices to support its body. Make sure you choose a life jacket with adequate flotation for your dog’s size and the swimming conditions you expect.

    Dog Life Jacket Lift Straps

    Even with a flotation device, it can be difficult to catch your dog and rescue it from water if a current is strong. You may not be able to swim yourself and get both of you out of the water safely. With lift straps, you have a chance to catch your dog and pull it out of the water and onto the shore. Make sure the life jacket has at least one lift strap with durable stitching to support its weight. Larger dogs should have life jackets with double straps.

    Dog Life Jacket Quick-Release Buckles

    Dogs can get caught in branches, debris, seaweed, or structures while swimming, which can quickly become dangerous. As the name suggests, quick-release buckles are designed to detach quickly and easily, so you can free your dog from a potentially hazardous situation and get them to safety. Having quick-release straps also helps to get the jacket on and off easily.

    Dog Life Jacket Reflective Strips

    If you’re in low-light conditions or your dog is dark, it can be difficult to see it in the water. Reflective strips on brightly colored jackets help you spot your dog and bring them to shore. This is especially helpful if your adventures keep you out longer than intended and you’re struggling to find your dog at dusk.

    Dog Life Jacket Durable Construction

    Most life jackets are made of nylon or polyester, but not all materials are created equal. A life jacket needs to stand up to abuse from outdoor adventures and frequent swimming. If the jacket comes apart, it’s not doing much to keep your dog safe. Choose life jackets with durable construction and features like ripstop nylon or high denier nylon and neoprene.

    divider-pawConclusion: Best Dog Life Jacket

    Fitting your dog with a life jacket for your outdoor adventures is a must. You have plenty of options to choose from. The Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket is the best overall dog life jacket, due to its high-visibility features and durable construction. If you’re on a budget, the ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Life Jacket is the best dog life jacket for the money.


    Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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