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Top 5 Best Dog Life Jackets – 2020 Reviews On All Dog Sizes

Reviews and Ratings of the top dog life vests in 2020 that keep dogs safe in the water.

For dogs who are around water, safety is a priority that every pet owner takes into account. Whether your dog is an avid swimmer or avoids the water like a plague, anytime he is near a body of water, the use of a life vest should be considered. Here is our list of the top 5 best life jackets for dogs.

Dog Life Jacket Ratings

#1 Ruffwear K9 Float Coat

The 2020 top choice for a dog life vest:

Ruffwear - an industry leader in making quality outdoor products for dogs.



This float coat is both durable and sturdy. Its design fully secures the pet while allowing him to float in any body of water he is around. The life vest provides good support for the under belly which is important when using the strong handle of the life jacket to help pull him out of the water when necessary.


Its design is flexible and allows your dog full range of movement. It also secures your dog while making the vest easy to put on and take off with 3 buckles, 2 under the belly and one around the neck.


The foam in the jacket is placed strategically to allow for the best buoyancy. It also includes reflective trim is also sewn into the material of canine jackets so that they can be visible in low light situations. It also comes in 3 colors with two being the legacy colors of safety vests, red and orange. The blue gives a little uniqueness in its look.


Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easy adjustable fit
  • Guaranteed against defects
  • A recognized leader of the dog products industry for over 25 years
Cons
  • Higher price
  • Getting the right size on the first order for smaller dogs may be an issue
Conclusion:

This jacket is an excellent choice for protecting a dog around water. Its design provides a great deal of support under the dog and is easy to put on and take off. It has a D-ring which allows for a leash to be put on easily. Plus, added features such as reflective striping, super bouyancy and durability will help keep him safe in a water environment.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

How much weight does the jacket support?

Answer:

The jacket is not designed to support a dog by its weight, but by its measurements. The jacket comes in 6 sizes and is designed to support dogs with the measurements indicated for that size of vest regardless of the weight.

Question:

Do these life vests in the same way as the Ruffwear packs do on a dog?

Answer:

Yes, the fit should be very similar to that of the Ruffwear pack.

Question:

Do these vest keep a dog protected from the cold?

Answer:

No, unfortunately this floatation protection doesn't help a dog to maintain his body temperature.

#2 Vivaglory Ripstop New Sports Style

Vivaglory is dedicated to improving the lives of our pets and sharing those improvements with other pet lovers. Dedicated to making your pets world happier and healthier.



The Sports Style Ripstop has many of the same features of the K9 Float Coat by Ruffwear, however, there are some distinct differences between the two as well.


The vest's fastening system starts with Velcro and then buckles after the Velcro is connected. The grab handle is center weighted. The Ripstop offers a range of 5 sizes from XS to XL.


While the older design of the Ripstop still offers great support and buoyancy, the new design changes the neck opening to provide your dog’s neck more space while allowing him the more natural position of his neck while he is swimming. This allows for more comfort and ease.


An additional feature of the new Sports Style of the Ripstop are the colors and design to give them a bit more of a sporty look while maintaining the high quality features from the older design.


This product comes with a 90 day warranty and 24/7 customer service support.


Pros
  • Underbelly support system and neck support
  • Durable
  • 90 Day warranty
  • Reasonably priced
  • Safe material that passes the CA65 test (California's Prop 65 -citizen protection from harmful chemicals)
Cons
  • Bouancy around head area not as effective with lighter hind quarters
  • Size runs small
Conclusion:

This jacket is an good choice for protecting a dog around water providing it is a proper fit for a standard build dog. Its easy on/off design and allows for easy mobility. I has a 3-strap security system with underbelly support and allows for a great deal of mobility. This is a quality vest at an affordable price.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

What size jacket should I get my dog?

Answer:

The jacket size should be determined based on the chest and neck girth, then applying those sizes to the Vivaglory sizing chart which can be found at https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71rk78C0biL._SL1500_.jpg

Question:

Where are these vests manufactured?

Answer:

The company brand is registered in the United States and the manufacturing takes place in one of the many Vivaglory factories in China.

Question:

Is there foam, like what is on the side of the jacket, in the material under the jacket as well?

Answer:

No, there isn't any foam under the jacket like what is on the side of it. The design is intended to support the dog, but not inhibit his movement. Therefore, the support under the belly is a durable padded velcro.

#3 EZYDog DFD

EZYDog is Dedicated to providing dog owners with high quality products made from the finest raw materials, to everyone to live an active and outdoor life with our dogs.


The EZYDog DFD safety vest also has many of the same features of the Ruffwear Float Coat. There are also some differences between the Float Coat and the DFD that influenced our ranking of this vest in the top 5 list.


The length of the vest from the neck to the end of the vest is longer. It covers more of the back of the dog allowing for more floatation coverage and an even disbursement of floatation material. This helps to keep your canine upright in the water.


The vest comes in 2 colors which are the red and yellow. Its design includes a contoured neck support and is made of heavy duty polyester construction.


There is a separate and specific vest design for dogs under 15lbs called the Micro DFD.

Pros
  • Allows for a lot of mobility
  • Durable
  • Grab handle
  • Affordably priced limited coverage
  • Reflective striping
  • Shorter jacket length than other floatation devices
Cons
  • Bouancy around head area not as effective with lighter hind quarters
  • Only straps to support the underbelly
  • Manufactured outside of USA for those concerned about region of production
Conclusion:

This jacket is an good choice as a floatation device for a dog around water providing the dog's hind quartes support the weigth of the jacket's head support. Its easy on/off design and allows for easy adjustment of staps and mobility of dog. This is a quality vest at a somewhat higher end of the price range. However, it additional features such as the D-ring leash attachment and ergonomic grab handle, you'll find you get a lot of value for the price you pay.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

Is there any padding with the straps supporting the underbelly of the dog?

Answer:

The straps are made of a soft neoprene that helps to provide comfort for the dog while pulling him out of the water.

Question:

How much weight does this jacket support?

Answer:

The sizing chart for the XL vest indicates 90+ lbs. However, ultra bouyant material provides a great deal of support in comparison to other brands.

Tie #4 Outward Hound (Dawson Dog) - See Granby Splash

Outward Hound is creating innovative products that will make you and your pet's life better.



The Dawson Dog life vest made by Outward hand has a very supportive design, both from the sides of the jacket to the underbelly.


Unlike many other floatation devices, this jacket offers some insulation for the dog, keeping him warm during swims in colder water. Also unlike many other vests, the Outward Hound has vertical, from head to hind end, double grab handles to help lift a dog out of the water in the event of an emergency.


The preserver provides for good bouyancy and covers a majority of the body. It also has a wide neoprene strap system at the underbelly of the dog. That helps secure the dog in the jacket and supports him in the event he needs to be lifted out of the water.


Pros
  • Support for novice swimmers
  • Provides insulation
  • Double grab handle
  • Affordably priced
  • Reflective Striping
Cons
  • Straps can loosen 
  • Manufactured outside of USA for those concerned about region of production


Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

Does the vest provide chin floatation?

Answer:

No, the neck support simply helps keep the jacket on the dog and ensure it doesn't move out of place.

Question:

What is the difference between the Dawson Dog Outward Hound model and the Granby Splash?

Answer:

The Dawson Dog is designed for the novice swimmer, giving him maximum support in the water as a result of the thick foam located on the side of the device.

Tie #4 Outward Hound (Grandby Splash) - See Dawson Dog

Outward Hound - Creating innovative products that will make you and your pet's life better.



Outward Hound's Grandby Splash is a life preserver for a little more experienced swimmer. It comes in a ripstop material that provides bouyancy and floatation for the neck of the dog. It is designed for more all around use and unrestricted movement.


The Granby has vertical, from head to hind end, double grab handles to help lift a dog out of the water in the event of an emergency. It has a nearly full under belly neoprene support band to safely secure the jacket with a dual strap connection.


This jackets provides high visibility in a safety orange color material with reflective striping.


Pros
  • Designed for all around use
  • Double grab handle
  • Affordably priced
  • Reflective Stripping
Cons
  • Straps can loosen 
  • Manufactured outside of USA for those concerned about region of production


Conclusion: (Dawson and Granby)

Both the Grandby Splash and Dawson Dog life jackets are great options for your four-legged kid’s safety. The design between the two are slightly different with the difference being primarily connected to support of the dog in the water.


The Dawson Dog jacket is designed with novice swimmers in mind. The neoprene foam panels on the side of the vest create maximum buoyancy for your beginner swimmer. The neoprene also naturally insulates him from the cold water and helps to keep him warm.


Otherwise, both of the safety jackets come with similar features. They both have front floats under the neck to help keep your pup’s head above water. They have significant under belly supports that are secured by both Velcro and buckles. The neck support is also secured with Velcro and a buckle.


The two preservers do differ slightly on color offerings. The Grandby Splash offers an orange and pink option. The Dawson Dog has either a red or orange option.


One significant difference between the Outward Hound jackets and others on this list is the dual handles on the top of the vest. All other vests have one single handle going horizontally following the spine of your dog. The Grandby Splash has two handles next to each other that follow opposite of your dog’s spine and place in a direction that goes from one side of your dog to the other. The Dawson Dog also has two handles, however, they too run parallel with your dog’s spine. Two handles allows for you as an owner to have more strength when lifting your dog out of the water.


#5 Paw Aboard

Dedicated to providing dog owners with high quality products made from the finest raw materials, to everyone to live an active and outdoor life with our dogs.


The Paws Aboard safety life vest is less like the first three jackets recommended. However, it still is a quality option as a life vest for your pup.

The jacket is secured by velcro and quick release safety buckles; two for the underbelly and one around the neck.

The material covering the underbelly of your dog is a breathable mesh which allows for proper draining and drying once your dog is out of the water. The helps to limit unhealthy conditions that can occur with standard life jackets. The design also provides a great deal of support by covering a large portion of the underbelly.

The jacket comes in 8 colorful and fun designs which gives you plenty of options to choose from to give your dog the stylish look he or she deserves.

Pros
  • Cute looking design
  • Grab handle
  • Affordably priced
  • Reflective striping
  • Beathable mesh underbelly
Cons
  • Quality and design concerns experienced by some owners of tiny dogs
  • Sizing can be difficult to determine for tiny dogs
Conclusion:

This jacket is a good choice for those owners who are looking to add some uniqueness in their dog's life preserver. The jacket design offers bright colors and a lot a variety. The jacket is very affordable and provides good security for the XX-Small to Medium size dog they are designed for.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

Can a leash be attached to this jacket?

Answer:

There aren't any specific features to attach a leash. However, there are other methods than can be used to attach a leash, such as the use of a carabiner through one of the handles.

Question:

Where can I find a size chart for this jacket?

Answer:

The chart for the Paws Aboard Life Jacket is below.

Why Do Dogs Need Life Jackets?

Some dog parents sometimes question the need for a dog life jacket. The reasons for them make a lot of sense when you learn why. 

Many dogs like to swim and its not necessarily breed specific. Many others do not. Regardless, of what the preference is for a dog, they all need to be protected when they are around the water.

Minnie falling asleep after a long day of fun at the lake.

Dogs who are avid swimmers can get tired on long swims, even on short swimming endeavors depending on how much activity he has had throughout the course of the day. In unfamiliar waters, or those that are not clear, he may get caught up in something that can't be seen.

For dogs who can not swim, if they end up in the water somehow, would be paralyzed in fear or even wear themselves out trying to swim. Their struggles to save themselves may ultimately be the cause of their drowning.

Regardless of the dog's preference, there are other things to consider too, such as mobility issues and age of the dog. Plus, other unfortunate things that can happen without the owner even being aware of its existence is a sudden medical condition. For example, what happens if the dog has a seizue?

Owners who want to take care of their beloved canines should be aware of these things when dogs are in or need water environments. Keeping them protected is important, and a life vest will help do that.

How to Choose a Life Jacket for a Dog?

There are some things that you'll want to look for in a floatation jacket for dogs. Take a look at the key features of a safety vest that will keep a canine safe in the water.

  • Jacket color: The color of the float coat is an important feature because it helps to keep a pup visible. A dog owner needs to be able to see their pet he can keep track of him. Other people need to see him to avoid any collision that could occur from boats and jet skis as an example. That can happen if the open water the dog is in happens to be a lake or river.
  • Fit and Size of the jacket: A dog needs to wear a vest that not only fits him correctly, but that is also the right size. A wrong size can prevent the coat from working properly. An incorrect size can caus a jacket to either fall off or restrict a dog's ability to breathe. The fit of the coat is important for similar reasons. An inappropriate fit can keep a dog from having the mobility he needs to move around in the water. Either of the issues if not addressed in a vest can have a deadly impact.
  • Bouyancy of a jacket: This feature should be a given. A coat is need to be able to keep a four-legged companion afloat. The ability to do that is tied to the fit of the jacket too. The support of the jacket under the neck, the foam siding and other features that support the floatation of the dog.
  • Coat handles: Handles on a preserver is more important that most owners may think. If an owner needs to grab a hold of the dog, whether is drowning or he needs to be lifted out of the water, a handle will help him to do that.

How to Measure a Dog for a Life Vest

There are essentially 4 measurements necessary in order get the best jacket for a dog in terms of the size, fit and bouyancy. They are the chest and neck circumferences, length of the back, and weight. A sewing measuring tape is most suitable for obtaining these figures.

Here is how to get those measurements.

Neck - the typically resting point of a preserver on a dog is the neck. It prevents the coat from sliding of the dog during the course of a swim. Wrap a tape around the base of the neck just above the shoulders.

Chest - wrap the tape around the largest part of the rib cage to get the circumference. Typically, that area is located just behind the front legs.

Back - this measurement is not used by all manufacturers. However, for those that do use it, start at the place where the shoulders/back connect with the neck. Measure from that point to approximately 2 to 3 inches in front of the base of the tail.

Weight - while jackets aren't based on a specific weight, some makers of life jackets provide weight ranges to help gauge an appropriate size jacket. It's important to note that, these weight ranges are only guidelines. The breed of a dog may result in a variation from what is reflected in those guidelines.

The sizing chart established by the company who manufactures the vest that is chosen, should be used to determine the right sized vest, based on the measurements obtained.

Final Thoughts

Based on the research and personal use of life jackets for dogs, the best jacket is the Ruffwear Float Coat. However, there are other coats that may serve a dog owner and dog's need better.

Regardless of what doggy life preserver is chosen, the most important point is to get a life vest for a dog. It gives the pup the protection it needs. Plus, it can literally mean life or death when it comes to being in a water environment.

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