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Best Life Jackets for Dogs

It's April 1st and most people don't take the news seriously today, and we had some great weather this week. That got me thinking a light fluff blog post would be nice. It's not as important as preparing for a storm or how to surive a house fire, but if you have a four legged friend, keeping them safe is really important. Check out this article with reviews on life jackets for dogs! Written by Rebecca West @ Petslady.com

Need a great life jacket or vest for your dog? We have some tips and recommendations for you.

With summer just around the corner, it's time to think about water safety .If you've ever wondered if a dog life jacket is really necessary for your pet, the answer is yes. Sadly, each year thousands of dogs die in swimming pools. These numbers don't even reflect the number of drownings in rivers, lakes and oceans. Life jackets for dogs are important to consider, no matter how strong a swimmer you think your best buddy might be.

Many people assume all dogs are good swimmers, and that's not necessarily true. While certain breeds are better at swimming than others, there are dogs like Frenchies and other brachycephalic canines such as Pugs, Boston Terriers and Bulldogs that don't fare as well in water. Due to their heavy heads and chests, they tire easily and can sink like a stone. For these breeds and others that are not natural swimmers, it's especially important to get the right dog life jacket and make sure it fits properly.

Even if your dog is a great swimmer, dogs need personal floatation devices for the same reason humans do when out in open water. Accidents happen and when they do, it will be much safer if your dog has the added security of wearing something that keeps him from drowning.

A dog life vest also makes your pet more visible in open water. No matter what breed your furry friend is, if water plays prominently in your life, make sure and keep him or her protected with a dog life vest.

There are lots of brands of water jackets for dogs, so how do you choose a good one one for your pet? Well, the good news is that any of the vests mentioned on our list will likely work well for your dog. There are small differences, so the key will be in finding one that fits your dog's body and his particular needs the best.

Tips On Proper Fit And What To Look For

Getting a vest that fits properly on your dog will be important. It is great if you can take your dog to the nearest pet store and find a vest that fits perfectly. Unfortunately, many stores have very limited selections and inventory, so it may be easier to order one or more online and then try them out on your dog to make sure it works well.

How To Measure Your DogHow To Measure Your Dog
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Sizes "small", "medium", and "large" tend to vary with brand, so it's best to shop based on exact measurements. Be mindful that some vests are designed for big chested dogs and narrow hipped dogs while others are for more blocky dogs.

To measure your dog, start by measuring the dog from shoulder blades to the base of the tail. You should also measure around the dog at the fattest part of his chest and the narrowest part of his waist to be sure you can find jacket that fits around the body comfortably. Also measure around your dogs neck. (If you don't have a measuring tape handy, just get some string and use that to measure your dog. Then you can use a tape measure or ruler to then measure the piece of string.)

When the vest arrives, try it on your dog and see if your dog looks comfortable. If he is not walking properly or seem to be top heavy, the vest probably does not fit correctly. Also make sure to look and see if any part of the vest is blocking his legs or rubbing on any part of his body in an uncomfortable way.

It is also important to see where the handles are on a life jacket. Make sure to put your hands on the handles and see if they are placed properly for lifting your dog from the water. Ideally, there should be one closer towards the shoulders and one towards the legs rather than a handle right in the middle of the dog's back so the dog's head does not tip forward.

The life jacket should obviously protect the dog's head first and keep his head up sufficiently. But the wrong dog life jacket can have the effect of allowing the animal's lower body to dip or sink too much, instead of maintaining a roughly horizontal posture. When dogs are supported more evenly in front and back, it leaves them in a safer, more natural doggie paddle position, making it easier for them to swim. So when looking at the vest, try to see if your dog is floating comfortably and not struggling too much in moving in the water.

Also pay attention to how easy a jacket is to put on and off of your dog. Last thing you need with a wriggling wet dog is fasteners that make it difficult to put on or take off the jacket.

So now that you have a better idea of what to look for, here's our recommendations:

Best Life Jackets And Vest For Dogs

Here are my picks for the top 7 best life jackets to help your dog or puppy float:

1. Most Popular Vest: Kyjen Outward Hound Life Jacket

Kyjen Outward Hound Dog Life JacketKyjen Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket

By all accounts, Kyjen's Outward Hound Life Jacket is probably the No. 1 selling life preserver for pets on the market today. This extremely popular brand is considered sturdy, durable and reliable for keeping your pooch afloat. It features a convenient top-grab and side handles for easy rescue, bright colors and reflectors for improved visibility, fully adjustable chest and neck flaps with front float assists for keeping your dog's head above water, and includes quick release buckles and a durable neoprene belly-band to keep it firmly in place. The handle design is a one-piece sewn strap that wraps around the belly and the back of the dog for added strength. I wish the handle was positioned a bit more more towards the front of the jacket and dogs may tip forward a little when getting lifted so you need to watch out for that. Some owners complain about the durability and quality of the vest, but for the extremely affordable price, it is an overall great value life jacket.

2. Almost Perfect Reviews: Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat


Ruffwear K-9 Float CoatRuffwear K-9 Float Coat

Another popular PFD (pet flotation device) among consumers is Ruffwear's K-9 Float Coat. It is one of those near perfect products that consistently gets rave reviews from owners of the product for excellence in product design and value. This life jacket for dogs is constructed from abrasion-resistant materials and comes in red or yellow with reflective trim. It features easy-to-clip sheltered buckles and a wide, low-profile handle to help dogs out of the water. There's also a light loop for attaching a Ruffwear product called The Beacon, a bright LED dog light designed to keep dogs visible in low-lighting conditions.

Two of the most notable features of this vest are the wide, telescoping neck closure for keeping your pet's head well above water and adjusting to a range of dog sizes. The other is the strategically placed closed-cell foam panels for improved buoyancy that allow for a natural swimming posture. It's more expensive than the Kyjen, but the overall quality and durability of the Ruffwear seems to make it a really great overall value.

3. Great Buoyancy and Glowing Reviews: EzyDog Life Jacket


EzyDog Life JacketEzyDog Life Jacket

EzyDog's Doggy Flotation Vest advertises superior flotation for your pet. Also a very popular brand with pet owners, it has consistently received 4 and 5 stars and glowing reviews. The heavy-duty polyester construction is said to add up to 50 percent more flotation and features a grab handle for lifting, zippered pocket, and adjustable neoprene straps to form an ergonomic and secure fit. Color options include red and yellow with reflective detailing. This life vest comes in many sizes, ranging from extra small to extra large. For small dogs, this is one of the best bets.

4. Cute Lifeguard Design: Paws Aboard Red Lifeguard

Paws Aboard "Red Lifeguard" Dog Life JacketPaws Aboard "Red Lifeguard" Dog Life Jacket


Pet owners looking for a dog life jacket that's both fun and reliable might want to check out Paws Aboard's neoprene designer doggy life jacket Red Lifeguard. This PFD offers all the flotation and safety features as the other brands but with an adorable lifeguard design. Available with reflective strips for maximum visibility, the Red Lifeguard also offers a handle for lifting pets and adjustable nylon straps with quick-release buckles for easy off and on. This Paws Aboard model includes a wider neck/chest closure, to help with front flotation, and a heavy-duty Velcro fastening system for keeping it secured. A nice feature is the breathable mesh underbellyto help keep dogs more comfortable.




5. Extra Buoyant: Henry and Clemmies Dog Life Jacket

Henry and Clemmies Dog Life JacketHenry and Clemmies Dog Life Jacket


Henry and Clemmies Dog Life Jacket is another doggie float vest to consider when looking for extra buoyancy for your dog's head and chest. Besides a broad neck/chest strap, it has a flap designed to come up just below your pet's chin to help keep their heads up and water out of their mouths. This particular dog life vest comes in blue and is made from water-resistant, 600d Ripstop polyester fabric. Ripstop fabrics are woven fabrics, often made of nylon, using a special reinforcing technique that makes them resistant to tearing and ripping. Reinforced stitching with buckles and straps to ensure a secure and comfortable fit and a sturdy reinforced grip handle for easy reach and rescue make this a solid choice for pet life jackets. You can find this dog life jacket on Amazon.




6. Designed For Safety And Highest Float: Salus Skippy Dog Life Jacket

Salus Skippy Dog Life JacketSalus Skippy Dog Life Jacket


Water safety specialists Salus began making life vests for people but soon branched out to include life jackets for dogs. They're a Canadian company that does all the work themselves, so there's no outsourcing. Salus has won several awards for water safety and innovation. What distinguishes Skippy from the rest of the pack is what Salus calls the foam zone: the back of the coat is mesh and foam wraps the belly, chest and sides where flotation material is needed most. Due to this, dogs float higher. Three clip attachments with buckles on the opposite side offer a centered fit. These dog life jackets come with one open-topped mesh pocket and two handles for heaving waterlogged heavies. When lifted, their weight is distributed across the padding, not the straps. They come in red or blue and are available through Salusand a variety of water sports sites.



7. Easy On And Off: Fido Float Dog Life Jacket

Fido Float Dog Life JacketFido Float Dog Life Jacket

The Fido Float is a dog life vest with a sturdy zipper that runs from tail to collar foreasy on and off. It features generous closed-cell buoyancy support, a broad U-shaped buoyancy collar to keep your dog's head above water, an ergonomic fit that prevents twisting, stepping or swimming out of the vest and two specially placed assistance handles for lifting. The Fido Float comes in bright colors for added visibility. It should be noted that this particular life preserver is not recommended for breeds with very short legs such as Dachshunds.

8. Fun And Adorable Float Jacket: Swimways Sea Squirt Dog Jacket

I have not personally tried the Swimways Sea Squirt Life Vest on my dogs and I can't find enough reviews on the overall quality to recommend this vest yet since it is a new product, but it is so cute and fun looking, I had to add this to my top swim vest for dogs for you to consider. The life vest has an adorable little dorsal fin on the back of the vest.

Now that you found a great float vest for your dog, go and have fun like this guy, won't you?


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Pet Tip: When putting your dog vest on for the first time, give your pet a treat to get him to associate the vest with something good.

Originally created April 2015. Completely updated March 2016

Source: Rebecca West @ Petslady.com