As the weather warms up, you are bound to end up going for a swim. If you are a pet owner, it is imperative that you purchase a life jacket for your dog before heading out to any body of water. Most people are unaware that thousands of dogs die each year in swimming pools. This does not even consider how many have drowned in lakes, rivers, and oceans. Since many individuals falsely believe that all dogs can swim, some do not pay close attention to their dogs while in the water. By obtaining the best dog life vest, you are ensuring your dog’s safety, so that you can spend less time worrying and fully enjoy time spent together in the sun. Keep reading for our review of the top 5.
Why Dogs Need Life Jackets
Not all dogs are good swimmers. It is true that some breeds are better at swimming than others, yet, there are certain breeds that do not do too well in water such as Pugs and Boston Terriers. These two breeds tire easily because of their heavy heads and chests. Thus, they are much more likely to sink once they tire themselves out.
Some dogs simply do not know when to stop swimming. We have all seen those dogs that seem as though they could be in the water for hours on end. While it may seem like they are having a lot of fun at first, they can easily begin to overexert their energy. When in the water, dogs cannot stay afloat without paddling (and obviously, they cannot stand) so there is no resting period. If your dog spends too much of his time paddling away from where he entered, he may not have enough energy to swim back or even remember where he got in from.
Some dogs just need extra help in the water. There are puppies who are still learning to swim in the summer months and by having on a life vest, it is easy to monitor how well they are doing without worrying. If you have an older adult dog, it is easy to think of him as the energetic pooch he was when you first brought him home. While your adult dog may still love the water, his body may cause him to tire easily and a life vest would allow him to rest without getting out of the water too often.
From time to time, you may have been struck with panic due to the fact your dog jumped into the water spontaneously. In these cases, you might not even be able to spot where your dog is due to the time of day and the clarity of water. In a pool, it might not be that big of a deal due to a few factors such as the depth of the pool, if someone is already in the water, or if someone can go in after the dog. It can be a lot more terrifying when a dog jumps into an unknown body of water because there are additional factors that are out of your hands. In unfamiliar water, the depth might not be known, there might not be easy access to jump into the water, and so on. Overall, a dog wearing a life vest will be much more visible as most of them are reflective. The dog will also be safely floating until he is rescued.
What To Look For
Proper Fit and Measurements
- Make sure your dog looks comfortable while he walks. He should not look top heavy and the vest should not block his legs.
- Determine if the design is the right one for your dog. A life jacket with a high collar would not work on a dog with a short neck, just as a jacket with a short back would not work for a dog with a long neck.
- While some brands go by sizes such as small, medium, and large, try to seek out brands that go by exact measurements.
- First, measure your dog from his shoulder blades to the base of his tail. Then, measure your dog around the fattest part of his chest along with the narrowest part of his waist. You should also measure around his neck.
- If you don’t have a measuring tape, use a piece of string and measure it with a ruler.
- Breathable mesh under the belly can help make your dog more comfortable while wearing a life vest.
- Determine where the handles are on the life jacket.
- One should be closer towards the shoulders while the other is towards the legs. Handles in the middle of your dog’s back might force his head forward.
- Place your hands on the handles to make sure that they are positioned correctly to allow you to lift your dog out of the water.
- Determine if the life jacket suits your needs for the activity, time of day, and clarity of the water.
- While most jackets are reflective, they also can come in a variety of colors.
- Choose a color that stands out and would allow you to see your dog easily when he’s in the water.
- Make sure that the reflective strips are sewn on well in a visible spot and cannot be removed easily.
- Check that the jacket has the proper amount of buoyancy to keep your pooch afloat.
- Determine the areas that have flotation in them such as around the belly, around the sides, and in the neck area.
- Make sure that the areas with flotation suits your dog’s needs, while not making it uncomfortable for him to swim.
The Top 5 Best Dog Life Jackets
Kyjen Outward Hound Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
Buy now from Amazon
Created by a trusted brand, this life jacket is incredibly durable as well as dependable. Not only does it provide a top-grab, it has dual side handles for a quick rescue. It comes in bright colors and has reflective accents to increase visibility. The chest is fully adjustable so it can fit a bunch of different sized dogs. The neck flaps have flotation in them so that your dog’s head stays above the water. The jacket has buckles that are quick release as well as a sturdy belly-band to keep it in place. The handle provides additional support as it has a strap that goes around the belly as well as the back. A few reviewers on Amazon state that since the top handle is located closer towards the front when lifted it caused some dogs’ heads to dip forward. Overall, purchasers love how affordable, long-lasting, and brightly colored Outward Hound Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is.
Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket
Buy now from Amazon
Paws Aboard Double Designed Doggy Life Jacket is not only incredibly stylish but also lightweight and a breeze to put on and take off. It has reflective stripes for increased visibility as well a top handle for you to assist your dog out of the water and a mesh underbelly to provided added comfort for your pooch. While the straps are adjustable, it has a heavy-duty Velcro fastening system to keep your dog’s belly and neck secure.
Customers love the fact that the life jacket is inexpensive, easy to clean and that the product exchange process is smooth if you purchase the incorrect size. Some individuals reported that with larger dogs, the straps may tear. This may not be the best dog life vest for you if you have a dog with plenty of fur as customers have reported their dog’s fur got caught in the Velcro straps around the belly.
Ruffwear – K-9 Float Coat
Buy now from Amazon
This incredibly durable life vest is made from abrasion-resistant material. It is available in red or yellow and in any size from XX-Small to X-Large. The closed cell foam panels are strategically placed to allow your dog to swim comfortably. The sturdy handle is positioned so that you can easily remove your dog from the water. It has reflective accents as well as additional flotation below the dog’s belly. Many customers love that this vest has an adjustable neck closure that conforms to their dog’s movements. They also love the high-quality material it is made from. Customers raved about the fact that there are no loose, visible straps or buckles that prevent potential snags. This life vest is the most expensive retailing well over $50. Those who have purchased it, state that it is well worth the cost.
Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket
Buy now from Amazon
As the least expensive life jacket, it definitely competes highly with the rest. It is available in seven colors and sizes range from XS to XL. This heavy-duty coat is designed with additional padding for strong buoyancy. It has a Velcro fastening system to ensure your pup is secure as well as a removable front float assist to hold your dog’s head above the water. For added convenience, it has a top grab handle, D-ring for a leash, and adjustable straps. While customers adore the quality and bright colors of this product, some individuals mentioned that they are not able to adjust to the perfect size for their pup.
Outward Hound Dawson Swim Novice Swimmer Life Jacket
Buy now from Amazon
Outward Hound Dawson is a well-constructed life vest designed with all levels of swimmers in mind. It has a sturdy handle designed for easy rescues. The neoprene helps to increase both mobility and buoyancy. It also has reflective stripes and is available in a plethora of bright colors. Many owners love that this life coat is not bulky and is incredibly affordable with a price ranging from 24 to around 35 dollars. Some customers are not happy with the fact that the neck float moves around too much as well as the flotation being focused towards the upper portion of the jacket. If you have a rottweiler or bulldog, this might not be the best dog life vest for you as they are heavily muscled dogs.
How To Put On A Dog Life Jacket
Start by placing the life jacket on your dog’s back with the handle on top, if it has one. Then, slide his head through the hole designed for the neck or tighten the neck strap so that it is snug. Make sure not to fasten it too tight as that will limit your dog’s air supply. More often than not, dog life vests have straps for the chest and belly that go under your dog to make sure the jacket is fixed against him. To ensure a proper fit, always adjust the straps but make sure that your dog remains comfortable. All life vest designs differ from one another in some way, so be sure to always obey the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure your pooch’s life vest is on accurately.
When you’re out on a boat or around a lake, you need to make sure your pet stays safe. Kyjen Outward Hound Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is not only the best bang for your buck retailing between $15-$25 but overall the best dog life vest. Unlike the others with one top handle, this durable vest provides dual grab handles which help prevent against your dog’s head tipping forward when you lift him up. Not only is it available in three bright colors, but this jacket also has large reflective accents so that you can spot your dog easily in the water. The chest of this life vest is fully adjustable so that it can fit dogs of any size. This product is reliable because it also has front flotation to keep your dog’s head up no matter what. If you are looking for an affordable life vest that you can truly rely on, Kyjen Outward Hound Ripstop might be the best dog life jacket for you.