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A life vest for a dog is a critical safety item as it would be for a human. Not all dogs are strong swimmers and will need a dog life jacket to keep them afloat. Regardless if they are strong swimmers or not, there are a number of factors such as rough water to tiredness that may cause problems in the water.
If you are planning on taking your dog for a swim, its important that you introduce them to small amounts of water beforehand. You don’t want to simply chuck them into the ocean without testing the dog life jacket beforehand.
Another way to encourage your dog to swim more is to make it easy for your dog to get in and out of the water. You can do this by using a dog ramp mounted on your boat or on the dock.
Table of Contents
Best Life Jackets For Dogs
|Dog Life Vest
|Ruffwear K-9 Float
|Kurgo Surf N Turf
There are several life jackets for dogs to choose from with designs from the standard professional look to a mini shark vest. Regardless, a dog life jacket will ultimately save their life if they get in trouble within the water, which can be very unpredictable.
Smaller dogs with less body mass or small legs will find it much harder to swim than larger dogs. Our dachshund is a prime example of that but using a dog life jacket, they were able to happily swim around in the sea with ease.
Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, water can be very unpredictable, and extra flotation can potentially save their life. Below is a list of the best dog life jackets that are available in a range of colors, styles, and sizes to suit all dogs.
Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat for Dogs
The Ruffwear Dog Life Jacket is a premium safety clothing that provides the dogs with the best possible flotation when in the water. It is a life vest for all breeds with 6 different sizes and 5 different colors for the savvy dog owners.
The k-9 Float has been designed for the water with high-quality materials included abrasion-resistant webbing and foam located where it matters most for floating in the water. The telescoping neck closure adjusts to accommodate a range of dogs with straps for a tighter fit. The addition of the reflective trim ensures you can spot the vest much more easily in the light or dark.
The handle located at the top of the dog life vest ensures you can control your dog’s movements in the water much more easily. On top of this, you can easily save them from drowning if you can spot them struggling in the water.
The Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat for Dogs will fit all breeds and ensure they are safe on the water. It is the best life jacket for dogs with the only drawback being the cost but the safety and high-quality features are worth the extra.
Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket
it has a double handle for picking up your dog in the water and three adjustable straps so that you can get the snug fit for comfort. It uses the ripstop material for excellent buoyancy and a softer neoprene around the belly band for chest support.
Of course, it would be as good of a life vest compared with the Ruffwear or EzyDog but you will certainly save money. Its a budget dog life jacket that is popular worldwide and worthy of this article for the extremely low cost.
EzyDog Dog Flotation Device Dog Life Vest
The manufacturer claims it contains 50% more flotation materials compared to other dog life vests. The adjustable design of this flotation device ensures the fit is tight and comfortable, which ensures the dog be happy swimming.
There are 5 different sizes and 3 different colors to choose from, which all include the high reflective trim for greater visibility.
Although it is much cheaper, the EzyDog DFD is not as popular as the Ruffwear because it doesn’t have as many color choices and isn’t as attractive. However, for getting the job done and excellent buoyancy for your dog, it is the best budget dog life jacket.
Kurgo Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket
The Kurgo Life Jacket for your dog is the main competitor to the EzyDog with similar pricing and styling. The Kurgo N Surf however offers a lifetimes warranty against manufacturer warranty as peace of mind.
There is only one color available, which is a bit of a shame but it does offer 5 different sizes. It is the only dog life vest that offers two different handles for picking the dog up easily with an alternative grip.
Unlike the two alternatives above, the Kurgo life vest lacks flotation material around the undersides of the vest where small dogs may occur troubles with buoyancy.
If it’s styling as well as budget in mind, the Kurgo Surf N Turf is a great alternative to the EzyDog with an excellent warranty. It is a great all-rounder and looks great on the dogs regardless if they go into the water or not.
Dog Ristop Life Jacket
If you are looking for something on the comical side, why not get a funny dog life vest in the form of a shark or fish? That is exactly what the Ristop dog life jackets are for and they are also great value for money.
They are available in three sizes and have two adjustable straps for a secure fit around your dog. The outer layer is made from durable nylon with the internals being high-quality foam.
If the dog is only really going for a paddle, the cheap life jacket for dogs such as the Ristop version is great fun.
Dog Life Jacket Buying Guide
Ensuring that your dog is safe in the water is vital because it can be very unpredictable. Not all dogs are born to be strong swimmers or have even been in the water beforehand but ensuring that they have a dog life jacket on can give them hours of safe swimming in the water.
Even the strongest of swimmers can find themselves in trouble because they may get injured, fall ill, or anything else whilst in the middle of the sea. They may even have joint problems that are causing them to lose their powerful paddle.
There is a wide variety of designs available to date and below we have compiled a brief buying guide to outline the factors to consider with regards to dog life jackets.
Secure and Comfortable Fit
You will want to ensure your dog is as comfortable as they can be and they can easily swim. If the dog life jacket is making it harder for them to swim, then it is not fitted properly or you have the wrong size.
Be sure to take measurements of your dog prior to purchasing a life jacket and check how adjustable it is too because you will want it to last them many years.
The majority of dog life jackets will have two or more adjustable straps so that they fit all dogs and adjust as they grow. This means you are able to achieve a snug yet comfortable fit very easily with the majority of dogs.
Dog Life Vest Handles
It is very rare to find a life vest designed for a dog without handles located on the top. The handles play a critical part in controlling your dog in the water as well as bringing them above the water if they begin to sink or get themselves into trouble.
The handles also doubles up as a latch for your dog lead if they are not wearing a collar, which always comes very useful.
Material and Flotation
When purchasing a dog life jacket, you will want to ensure its durable and can withstand the punishment the dog gives it. This can include running in and out of the water into bushes or rocks and more.
Like with the majority of inflatable life jackets, the dogs also include the same materials such as tough ribstop, nylon, and heavy-duty vinyl.
Floating in the water is the main purpose for life vests and without the foam located in the essential parts of the dog’s body, buoyancy may become an issue.
Ease Of Use
Putting on a dog life jacket needs to be quick and easy but with all the adjustable straps and connectors, it can be fairly time-consuming. If you have a very fidgety dog, it can be made even harder to put the life jacket on them. To make things easier, before you go out to sea, get the straps set up to their body shape and then lightly loosen them.
This will mean they can quickly jump into the dog life jacket when they are by the water with little messing around. However, don’t forget to do up the straps because a secure fit is crucial in order to float on the water properly.
Below is a brief guide on how to fit a dog life jacket by EzyDog, which is one of the recommendations in this article:
How To Measure Your Dog
Measuring your dog properly is a task worth doing in order to get the best dog life jacket that fits comfortably and securely. You will want to measure their weight, girth, and length to achieve this.
The weight is one measurement that many dog owners forget to take yet its one of the most important to remember. If your dog is on the heavy side, they will need more buoyant force to keep them afloat and you will need to choose the appropriate dog life jacket for that.
The girth of your dog is related to their chest or whichever is the widest part of their body. Length is fairly straightforward and you should measure the length of their back from the back of the neck all the way to the end their back.
Dog life jackets are not a fashion statement or “showing off” as they provide a life-saving function when on the water. They have improved massively over the last decade with a wide variety available. Introducing your dog to a life jacket should be taken slowly as not all dogs will appreciate wearing them. For example, if your dog has anxiety and they are scared of dog coats, you may have trouble with them wearing a dog life jacket.
All of our recommendations within this article are safe to use on the water and suitable for a range of dog sizes. However, if you haven’t correctly measured your dog, you will not get the full benefits of the life jacket and this is why it’s so important.
If your dog is in the water, as a dog owner, you should always be supervising every move they make. They could suddenly have muscle pains or the tide may put them into some troubles. Wearing a dog life jacket will keep them afloat but you still need to supervise them.
Ian is an avid outdoorsman and dog lover. He lives in Central Florida with his wife Heather, and their 2 dogs – Panda (Purebread Rough Collie X English Golden Retriever) & Kuma (Blue Merl Purebread Rough Collie)