Best Dog Life Jackets: Top 5 Flotation Devices Most Recommended By Pet Experts

If you’re up for a water adventure, it’s fun to take your four-legged friend along for the ride. Whether you’re boating, kayaking, or playing a game of water fetch, one of the best dog life jackets can help to keep your pet safe.

When choosing a life jacket for your dog, you’ll want to consider their size and shape. Many dog life jackets come in bright colors, so you can easily spot your pooch. Some also feature a handle, so you can pull your dog up and out of the water if necessary.

Could your dog fend for itself in the great outdoors? A new study shows most pet owners think their pooch is so pampered, they “could never survive in the wild” without them. The poll of 2,000 American dog owners found the average person believes their pup could only care for themselves for a maximum of two days. A third (31%) give their dogs less than a day.

A large majority of owners surveyed (86%) claimed their dogs live “a life of luxury” compared to their ancestors and 77 percent said their dogs have grown accustomed to a life of being catered to. While their Wolven ancestors may have been able to handle doggie paddling across any body of water, modern dogs may need a little help from a life jacket.

If your dog is adventurous, StudyFinds wants to make sure they’re ready to enjoy the water. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top brands from ten expert websites, to find the best life jackets for dogs. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

A dog wearing a life jacket
A dog wearing a life jacket (Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash)

The List: Best Dog Life Jackets, According to Experts


1. Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket

“The Outward Hound Granby dog life jacket is designed with four qualities in mind: buoyancy, visibility, handles, and floatation. This dog life jacket has dual rescue handles, belly buckles, and chest straps, as well as foam panels and a secure neck float,” according to the American Kennel Club.

Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket
Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket

People calls the wallet-friendly Granby Splash ‘Best Overall’, adding “this life jacket is incredibly versatile and manages to be lightweight and very buoyant, so you know it will keep weaker swimmers above water. It is also encased in ripstop material that stays very lightweight even when it’s soaked.”

“It’s also highly visible, with reflective accents. The Granby Splash is available in bright pink, yellow, or orange (Amazon has a few additional color options), though we’ve seen some limited availability, so not every color can be had in every size,” notes The Spruce Pets. One possible drawback? Some reviewers mention this life jacket doesn’t come with a leash clip.

2. Ruffwear K9 Float Coat

Another dog life vest earning reviewer praise is Ruffwear’s K9 Float Coat. “Designed for dogs of all shapes and sizes, it’s a premium, fully-featured life jacket that includes thoughtful details like a strong handle optimally positioned to lift dogs out of the water, a leash clip-in point under the handle, and reflective trim to boost visibility in low-light conditions,” according to The Dog Outdoors.

Ruffwear K9 Float Coat
Ruffwear K9 Float Coat

Available in three colors, The Dog People suggests, “the Float Coat is great for weaker swimmers or dogs exploring rougher waters.” Just note, this one is pricier than some of its competitors. 

Reader’s Digest says it’s worth the splurge because, “the extra-soft padding wraps snugly around your dog’s body, providing a comfortable fit that permits a more natural swimming position. The telescoping neck closure allows for custom adjustment, and the buckles fit into sheltered pockets to prevent accidental opening during use. Unlike some other jackets, the material won’t stretch out once wet, so the fit remains true.”

3. Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Dog Life Jacket

Here’s a premium, yet affordable dog life jacket that scores high marks from reviewers. Vetstreet points out, “you can ensure the perfect fit with three adjustable, quick-release clips. And lift your dog easily in and out of the water, using two different handles designed for easy maneuverability. The Surf n’ Turf also features two metal D rings (one of which even doubles as a handy bottle opener!) so you can connect your leash directly to the jacket.”

Kurgo Medium Surf n’ Turf Dog Life Jacket
Kurgo Medium Surf n’ Turf Dog Life Jacket

It’s versatile, too. The American Boating Association notes, “the Kurgo Surf n’ Turf coat is an all-in-one jacket, serving as a life vest as well as a 3-season shell jacket. The flotation layer can be removed to double as a waterproof jacket for your canine.” 

It also features a machine washable inner layer. Just don’t stick it in the dryer. Insider adds, “the Surf n’ Turf comes in five sizes and two colors, both with reflective trim.” However, this dog life jacket does not have a chin float.

4. EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation Device 

Larger dogs can benefit from this Doggy Flotation Device from EzyDog. The Spruce Pets points out, it has “a contoured neck and a substantial amount of flotation foam, which should make it more comfortable for especially big dogs while still ensuring buoyancy.”

EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation Device 
EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation Device

“Featuring a D-ring for clipping a leash, 50% more flotation materials than other jackets, and plenty of reflective striping to really increase a pup’s visibility in the water, this is an all-around solid choice for a life jacket,” according to The Dog People.

It comes in two colors. “Reviews mention that the EzyDog manages to keep dogs very straight in the water and that some dogs might have an issue with their mouths being very near to or in the water. But by adjusting the rear strap to sit a little loose, you can offset this issue,” suggests USA Today

5. Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket

Rounding out our top five is a simple and affordable offering from Paws Aboard. Owners of larger dogs will love how sturdy this vest is without being bulky,” according to People.

Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket
Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket

This one comes in a few different colors and patterns depending on your pooch‘s style. “Customers like that this vest is lightweight, easy to get on and off, and a breeze to clean. It’s solid quality at a reasonable price,” notes the American Boating Association.

However, The Dog People call this choice the best for small dogs, adding “it features extra fabric below the belly straps for comfort, a leash clip, and extra padding in the front to support the head. Though it has a top handle, it’s a bit thin, so it’s a good choice for small pups and casual swimmers—but not what we’d recommend for heavier dogs or sustained wear and tear.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.   

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About the Author

Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

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