Best Dog Life Jacket To Keep Your Pup Safe

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You and your dog hop in your canoe (like you regularly do), but this time your worst fear comes true. Your dog falls out of the canoe and hits his head on the way down. Fortunately, you were right there and were able to hop in and save him.

What happens next time when you’re a fraction too late? A life jacket can be your second pair of hands and give you comfort knowing your dog is safe if an accident occurs in the water.

Article Overview

Why Your Dog Needs A Life Jacket

Dog swimming in pool with life jacketDogs should wear life jackets in any instance where they could potentially drown. If you plan on going kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, or swimming with your dog, you should seriously consider getting your dog a life jacket.

Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Using a life jacket to test out the waters (pun intended) can give you peace of mind and allow you to see how your dog likes the water.

Dogs get tired after exercise just like humans do. The last thing you want is for your dog to become exhausted in the middle of a pond or lake and struggle to get back to shore. A life jacket can help keep your dog safe in these instances and allow them to take any needed breaks.

Top Life Jackets For Dogs

Now that you know why you need a life jacket for your dog, here are our best dog life jackets to keep your pup safe while swimming.

Outward Hound Review

Outward Hound Life Jacket#1

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Outward Hound offers 3 different life jackets for dogs:

  • Granby: for all-around use
  • Dawson: for beginner swimmers
  • Standley: for experienced swimmers

Users like that they can specify the life jacket fit for their dog’s skill level. One feature they rave about is the fact that there are 2 rescue handles, which makes it easy to pick your dog up out of the water and put them in the canoe or whatever you’re floating around on.

There are some negative reviews we found for these life jackets, but they seemed to be more about the wrong style for a particular dog. For example, we read a review for the Standley jacket saying the dog fell off a kayak and into the water and was underwater for longer than they’d like.

To be clear, the jackets for more advanced swimmers have added mobility and slightly less flotation assistance than the beginner, Granby, jacket. We think for the complaint mentioned above it may have been better for the dog to have the Granby jacket since it is for all-around use and he would’ve had more support getting back to the top of the water.



  • 2 rescue handles
  • Reflective piping
  • Fits nearly every size dog (XS to XL)
  • Bright colors so you can spot your dog easily
  • Easy to adjust to your dog’s size
  • Not bulky
  • 30-day warranty
  • None found (but, as with all life jackets, be sure to choose the correct flotation and style for your dog’s swim experience level)


  • Granby for all-around use (Medium): $34.99
  • Dawson for novice swimmers (Medium): $34.99
  • Standley for experienced swimmers (Medium): $36.88

Vivaglory Review

Vivaglory Life Jacket#2

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Vivaglory offers 4 different life jackets for dogs:

  • Extra Padding for Dogs
  • Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket with Superior Buoyancy & Rescue Handle
  • Adjustable Dog Lifesaver Safety Reflective Vest Pet Life Preserver
  • Premium Neoprene Dog Life Jackets

There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between these life preservers that we can see. The appearance and material are the apparent differences we notice, so it’s up to you on which style you like the look of best.

Overall, the majority of the reviews for these life jackets are positive. The only common complaint is that a small group of pet parents say the life jackets don’t keep their dog upright.



  • 1 rescue handle
  • Reflective material
  • Available in XS to XL
  • Bright colors so you can spot your dog easily
  • Claims to have up to 50% more flotation than the competition
  • 90-day warranty
  • Some complaints of them not keeping the dog upright


Paws Aboard Review

Paws Aboard Life Jacket#3

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Paws Aboard also offers 3 life jackets:

  • Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket
  • Neoprene Doggy Life Jacket
  • Neoprene Doggy Red Life Jacket

Honestly, we couldn’t find a difference between these life jackets, so we think it’s mainly down to which one you like the look of most. There are many positive reviews for these life jackets, but there are also more negative reviews than our top 2 picks in regards to the quality and durability of these.



  • 1 rescue handle
  • Reflective strips
  • Available in XXS to XL
  • Bright colors so you can spot your dog easily
  • Complaints about quality and durability
  • No warranty


How To Find The Correct Size Life Jacket For Your Dog

The most important thing when buying a life preserver for your dog is to make sure you get the appropriate size. A life jacket that is too big or too small won’t save your dog and could be more of a hazard than helpful.

The video below shows how to size your dog for an Outward Hound jacket. Be sure to research how to size your dog for other life jackets on the market since these instructions are specific to this company.

Caution: For Dogs Who Swim In Lakes, Streams Or Ponds

Every year, particularly in summer, reports indicate that dogs across the U.S. are suddenly dying after swimming in or coming in contact with natural bodies of water (i.e., lakes, streams, ponds) that contain blue algae. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, toxic algae blooms are more likely to infest freshwater when the water is warmer and more stagnant.

Algae can leave a greenish film on the surface of the water, but if the blooms are beneath the surface, it’s not as easy to detect. As a precaution, we recommend checking with your local government or environmental protection group to see if there are any advisories.

In general, it’s best to avoid water that appears to be murky or has a bad odor. Blue algae is known to be potentially fatal for dogs with tragic results in as few as 15 minutes.

Lookout For Fleas & Ticks

We hope you enjoyed reading our dog life jacket reviews and can find the best dog life vest for your pet. We all love bringing our dogs with us on our adventures, but sometimes they can bring unwanted critters home with them. Make sure you’re helping your dog keep fleas and ticks at bay by using the best flea and tick preventative.

What water activities do you enjoy with your dog?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories, and more. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

Kimberly's natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs. Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child.

In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly’s research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today. One of Kimberly’s favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds, and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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