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Which dog life jacket is best?

We all love our best friends and want to do anything we can to keep them safe and healthy. That’s why dog life jackets are becoming more and more popular. If you want to take your furry friends with you on a boat trip, then a dog life jacket is just what you need.

If you want to get your dog one of the best life jackets on the market, keep reading this buying guide. We’ve also included reviews of a few of our favorites, like our pick for Best of the Best, the Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket.

Considerations when choosing a dog life jacket


Dog life jackets get their buoyancy primarily from foam padding. The padding is located in different spots on each jacket. The weight of your dog will have a major impact on how buoyant the life jacket will be. Consider the design of each dog life jacket when trying to assess its buoyancy in relation to your dog’s build and weight.

Size and fit

It’s imperative that your dog’s life jacket fit properly. Just like a human, a dog in an ill-fitting life jacket could be in danger of slipping out of it. When choosing a life jacket for your dog, check the specifications and compare them to your dog’s measurements to guarantee a proper fit.


Most dog life jackets are made of lightweight materials similar to human life jackets. However, dogs tend to be more rough on their safety equipment than most humans. Try to get a dog life jacket made out of a durable nylon or another synthetic material that can withstand a decent amount of rough handling.


In addition to the size and weight of your dog, you need to consider the breed. While some breeds are more relaxed and willing to go with the flow, others are hyper and may be more likely to wriggle out of the vest. Your dog’s breed impacts its temperament, so take that into account.


The color of your dog’s life vest is important for one main reason besides simple style preference. You will likely want a brightly colored life jacket that will stand out if and when your dog is in the water. This is especially important if you plan to take your dog out on a boat in less than optimal lighting conditions.

Dog life jacket features

Reflective strips

Reflective strips are extremely helpful for making sure that your dog can be seen. If they happen to be in the water in low light or darkness, then the reflective strips will make the vest much easier to track down in the water with a flashlight.

Adjustable straps

Some dog life jackets come with adjustable straps to make sure that the dog has the best possible fit. This is a great feature for smaller breeds that might not fit as snugly into a life jacket as a larger dog would, or for a puppy that will be growing.


Insulation is a feature that can help a dog swimming in cold water adjust to its surroundings. Dogs don’t generally moderate their temperature as easily as some other animals, so an insulated life jacket can make your dog more comfortable in the water.

Leash attachment

Having a leash attachment on your dog life jacket is a convenient feature that most will want to have. It makes it easy to go from a boat to the land without struggling to remove the vest and attach a leash. With this feature, you can simply hook your leash right onto the life jacket, and away you go.


Handles are a nice safety feature to have on a dog life jacket. Many dogs will panic if they fall into water and may have trouble following your instructions. Having a handle on their life jacket makes it easy for you to reach in and grab them out in a hurry.

Dog life jacket price

Most dog life jackets cost between $12-$70.

Dog life jacket FAQ

How can I get my dog to wear a life jacket?

A. Allow your dog to wear the life jacket around the house for an extended period before using it near the water. They need to get used to you putting it on from time to time before you really need them to wear it. Some dogs actually become more relaxed when wearing a vest, so may luck out.

How do I wash my dog life jacket?

A. The manufacturer will give the best advice on washing in a manual or product details. The material of the jacket will be the biggest determining factor. While some dog life jackets are machine washable, others must be washed by hand.

Dog life jackets we recommend

Best of the best

Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket

Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket

Our take: A very comfortable option for your dog.

What we like: The dual grab handles make for an extra secure vest, keeping your dog safe at all times.

What we dislike: Stitching may tear eventually.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

Vivaglory Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

Our take: Fashion and function for a reasonable price.

What we like: Top handle and reflective accents give this life jacket lots of upside.

What we dislike: The life jacket is heavy when not in the water.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket

HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket

Our take: Great for big and small pups alike.

What we like: The quick-release buckles are a neat safety feature, not available on most dog life jackets.

What we dislike: Leash connection is not as durable as it could be.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Adam Reeder writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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