Finding the ultimate Dog flotation Vests and Jackets

If you go on a boat trip, do you use a life vest? Surely the boat guide is going to recommend you to wear one, and this is not because you’re a bad swimmer, but for a reason, that so many factors can hinder you from this action in any number of different situations. The same happens with pets.

“Well, I don’t take my dog on boat trips.”

These life jackets are not only good for adventure tours; they can get very helpful in many circumstances. Emergencies and disasters involving water should never surprise you unprepared. It would be wise that you always take a dog life vest with you whenever your pet is near a big body of water, may it be the ocean, a pool, river or lake.

If you are more for riding a bike with your pup read these articles for dog’s safety:

Golden Retriever with red vest on boat

Even if your puppy is an excellent swimmer and used to fool around in pools or creeks nearby, wearing a puppy flotation device might save him from exhaustion drowning or a high wave.

“And how does it work, then?”

This great piece of technology is used just as you would use a human life vest. The dog wears the jacket like a shirt without causing him any pain or discomfort.

How can you choose the best life jacket for your pet? We’ve read hundreds of reviews about a variety of products to make sure you’re getting the best fit for you and your furry best friend.

5 Highest Rated Life Jackets for Dogs Reviews

ProductNameMain FeatureRatingPrice
Ruffwear K-9 Float CoatRuffwear K9Works great,
it’s comfortable,
sturdy and durable
9.9/10$$$Check on Amazon
EzyDog compareEzyDogUltra-buoyant material,
Neoprene and secure
straps. Very adjustable.
9.8/10$$Check on Amazon
Ripstop for Dogs small imageOutward HoundRipstop material, high
quality, beautiful color
options and comfortable
9.7/10$Check on Amazon
Surf N Turf
High-quality jacket,
2 different handles and
2 rings for the leash
9.7/10$$Check on Amazon
Small image of Paws Abroad Life JacketPaws AboardElegant and
omfortable, for medium
and small dogs
9.8/10$Check on Amazon

Ruffwear – K-9 Float Coat (Editor’s Choice)

This jacket may be one of the most recommended vests ever as it fits owners’ standards well and it goes into our hearts as one of our personal favorites, becoming a sound investment in your dog’s safety.

  • Budget. $$$ Expensive but made to last.
  • Flotation. It keeps even the heavier breeds floating and with the head above the water.
  • Handling. Even though it has just one handler, it’s very sturdy, and it can lift heavier dogs. The handler doesn’t stand out too much, so it keeps the clean look of the vest.
  • Colors. It comes in five bright and beautiful colors with a reflective trim to increase the visibility of our puppy during nocturnal dips.
  • Durability. Very durable high quality with sturdy waterproof nylon fabric resistant to weather changes.
  • Size and fit. It’s available in 6 sizes, from xx-small to x-large. It includes cell-foam panels that enable your dog to swim comfortably without noticing the vest. The neck is adjustable.
  • Ease of use. It has easy to clip sheltered buckles that keep the straps in place while the dog is swimming.
Editors Choice for jacket Ruffwear k9 Float

What are people saying?

Ruffwear – K-9 Float Coat Buyers are usually happy with the purchase, and they agree that it works great, it’s comfortable, sturdy and durable. Some reviewers found it a little bit hard to set, but easier to place in each use.

Customers state that the nice buoyancy of this vests enhances the confidence their pets have in diving and swimming, therefore making them better swimmers. It is a little bit pricey. However, users allege that is well made, high quality and long-lasting, valuing safe over cost.

Pick this one if you:

  • Go on extreme water adventures.
  • Your pup is an active swimmer.

EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device

The EzyDog DFD is a stylish life vest due to its high-quality, durability and easiness to use. Dogs love it for its comfortable fit.

  • Budget. $$ It’s a little bit expensive, but it can be ignored due to its excellent quality.
  • Flotation. Ultra-buoyant material strategically made to keep the pet floating most comfortably and naturally.
  • Handling. It has an integrated grab handle, different from others and it features a sturdy ring to attach the leash to it.
  • Colors. It comes in two bright colors and two versions of camo, it has an excellent reflective trim integrated into the design.
  • Durability. The materials are not only high performance, but they also have high strength.
  • Size and fit. The vest comes in 5 sizes from extra-small to extra-large. Neoprene and secure straps. Very adjustable.
  • Ease of use. This vest is one of the easiest to adjust and put on the dog. It also has a bag on the back to store the leash.
Product Image of EzyDog

What are people saying?

Reviewers are happy with the purchase. Some of them say that the square design doesn’t fit all body shapes. Still, most of the buyers agree that it is durable, sturdy and safe.

Even though the EzyDog doesn’t have a flotation aid for the dog’s neck, the design of the vest helps to maintain a horizontal straight line position while swimming, actually preventing the pup from drinking water accidentally or getting its snout covered.

Pick this one if you: 

  • Have a large or medium size breed.

Outward Hound

One of the most popular buyers’ choice. Outward Hound brings us this cheap but reliable, sturdy, durable and safe flotation vest.

  • Budget. $ Good and affordable price.
  • Flotation. Ripstop material that provides excellent buoyancy while still being comfortable. Front float support that helps little-sized breeds to keep the head out of the water and excellent overall flotation to prevent drowning.
  • Handling. It features two sturdy grab handles and a safety release strap that can save your dog if it gets hung up on anything during rounds.
  • Colors. Bright colors for visibility and reflective accents on the strips to improve night visibility. You can choose between two standard options: a sober or a fun and cute jacket for your pet.
  • Durability. Sturdy handles that can lift heavy dogs and resistant material.
  • Size and fit. It comes in 5 sizes, and it has adjustable buckles. Light and comfortable, pets are free to run around.
  • Ease of use. Easy to put in and take off. The vest has the option to put it on the dog while still leashed.
Product Image of Outward Hound

What are people saying?

Overall, buyers are happy with the Outward Hound life jacket agreeing that the price is great regarding price-value, sturdy material, high quality, beautiful color options and comfortable design. Many reviewers state that it is effortless to put on the puppy. The puppy life vest has a great reception with the pup owners due to its fun and cute design of clownfish that resembles Nemo, the fish.

Some customers have encountered difficulties with the vest size-fit, but that can be resolved by taking proper pup measurements before buying.

Pick this one if you:

  • Have a small budget, but you still expect quality.

Kurgo Surf N Turf

This one is a very innovative and versatile dog life preserver as it is a full all-in-one jacket! It can become a life jacket, a rain jacket or light coat.

  • Budget. $$ The ratio price-quality is fair. It’s isn’t expensive or cheap, yet it’s a high-quality jacket.
  • Flotation. The buoyancy is not the best, but the versatility compensates for it, given that it’s a three-in-one vest. Recommended for shallow waters.
  • Handling. Two different handles can be used to control or retrieve the pet during tidal changes. One is placed horizontal, and the other one is vertical. It also has two rings for the leash.
  • Colors. One bright red color with its reflective trim.
  • Durability. It has a lifetime warranty so it wouldn’t be a surprise to find in Kurgo a long-lasting product.
  • Size and fit. It comes from x-small to x-large. It usually fits well due to its adjustable straps.
  • Ease of use. Easy to put on and off, very versatile, the flotation layer is removable so the vest can be used in many more situations that don’t include swimming.
Product image of Kurgo Surf N Turf

What are people saying?

Many people that tried the dog life vest agree saying that it works fine on active dogs and the fact that it is so versatile makes it an invaluable piece of equipment for the furry member of an outdoorsy family.

It doesn’t provide good neck-head support, but if used in shallow waters it doesn’t represent a problem.

Pick this one if you:

  • Want a full versatile piece of wear.

Paws Aboard

The Paws Aboard is a very nice vest for tiny pets as it is light and very adjustable.

  • Budget. $ It has a very affordable price for a high-quality jacket.
  • Flotation. The product works better with medium and small breeds.
  • Handling. Even when it lightly disrupts the aesthetic of the design it still has a handle that can help to quickly and efficiently recover the dog from the water.
  • Colors. The colors are not so bright, but still, they are adorable. It has reflective strips, and the yellow one undeniably helps with visibility.
  • Durability. Long-lasting vest made with Velcro closures and quality fabric.
  • Size and fit. It comes in six sizes from xx-small to x-large. The smaller size adjusts perfectly to the littlest of doggies with comfort.
  • Ease of use. It’s completely adjustable and easy to put on.
Image of Yellow Paws Abroad

Users agree that this is an elegant and comfortable life vest. A majority of the reviewers report that even with the low price it is made with a durable material. It has a breathable mesh underbelly to help with comfortable swimming and efficient draining and drying. The jacket is light and comfy.

The light design, unfortunately, doesn’t help much with lifting heavier breeds as the straps can tear. Still, it’s a great vest for small dogs. Also, the Velcro straps are not the best for doggies with long fur.

Pick this one if you:

  • Have a tiny pup.

“Wait, Why Do Dogs Need Life Jackets?”

We know you love your dog and you would do the best to ensure his safety when it travels the world with you. Who doesn’t like to bring that happy, wiggly tail everywhere? This is what life vests are for: to preserve your pet’s life when going on adventures!

Stop and think about your pet as you would do on a child. Hampering situations like distractions, fast-running water and exhaustion from swimming could lead to a catastrophe.

dog swimming in lake with red flotation device

Puppy Life jackets can aid you in many circumstances such as:

Even if your pet is an excellent swimmer, she could get tired of “running in the water” and moving those paws around leading to overwork.

Not all dogs can swim, so if your pet accidentally falls into a great body of water, she could be in danger.

You can take care of your pet’s life when she accompanies you in your activities, don’t leave her watching from the shore!

If you have a puppy and she’s learning how to swim, it’s the best idea to put a puppy flotation device on her, so she doesn’t get exhausted and extend the fun!

–  It could prevent the puppy from drinking water accidentally, which could be toxic for him.

Important Things to Look For

Buying a life jacket for dog is an essential step to your pet’s well-being and safety. Giving this, you should not take the buying of this vital piece of equipment lightly. Remember that this could save your pet in any dangerous situation.

Dog and man on row board on lake
Image Credit:
  • Budget. Pick the life jacket that fits best your budget still taking quality and the below factors in consideration.
  • Flotation. Choose the vest that has the flotation more suited for your pet. Different garments have different amounts of buoyancy with flotation placed in various locations. Look for one that makes your dog keep her head out of the water to ensure she doesn’t swallow water accidentally.
  • Handling. Life vests for dogs should have handles that help you to take your pet out of the water if necessary. This way you would be in full control of what happens in water-related activities that involve your best friend.
Girl with her puppy on row board
  • Colors. Having a colored vest is important, this way you can easily have an eye on them. This also can help boats and other water-vehicles’ visibility to prevent any accident.
  • Durability. You should aim for a durable vest. If we’re talking about life jackets for our precious furry babies, we want something that doesn’t break in the middle of a swimming session. Also having to change life jackets hit your pocket if done too frequently.
  • Size and fit. Prefer the vest that is adequate to breed or size. The fit is important as you don’t want your dog wearing an oversized life jacket. Here we have a video to help you know How to Size and Fit your Dog Life Jacket.
  • Material. Pick a material that is kind of your pet skin or fur, durable and pleasant to the touch.
  • Ease of use. You should aim to get the vest that allows you to quickly and easily dress your pet with it. Dangerous states can be avoided with an easy to put-easy to take off the jacket.

How to Use Dog Flotation Vest

Using a life jacket, it’s effortless, and you should always be prepared and know how to put and take off this piece of wear.

Each life vest has a front part and a back part. The front part is the one that touches your pet’s fur, and the back part is the one that touches the water. The dog’s vest may come with instructions that should be followed thoroughly.

  1. Place your pup in front of you and make sure he’s comfortable and calm.
  2. Make certain that the handles of the jacket are on top of your dog’s torso.
  3. Adjust the vest to his body by fasting the neck strap or slipping his head through the jacket’s neck hole.
  4. If the jacket has any, fasten the straps under the belly firmly and not too tight.
  5. After all the straps are secured check that you’re not suffocating your pet.
white puddle in a kayak

Note that there are many doggies’ life vests in the market with different designs, so it’s essential that you read the instructions. Either way, here we have an excellent video which shows how to put the jacket on your best friend.


Buying in a life jacket for your dog is a worthy investment. It will give your dog the greatest of determination and confidence to keep having fun while swimming and exercise a lot without the fear of over exhaustion.

A life vest is a must in every dog’s wardrobe. Imagine the possibilities, going to the lake, the beach or the pool forgetting about any worries. It is also a must in your home’s first aid kit, even more, if you live in a place where floods are common.

Beautiful family image - two dogs swimming with two girls

If you decide on buying this precious piece of wear, remember to take in consideration yours and your dog’s needs, such as activeness, types of activities and size and fit. Think about your puppy and the best for her while taking care of your pocket.

Choosing a vest can be hard, but the Ruffwear K9 is our favorite. It’s overall the greatest one with a perfect mix of durability, design, easiness to use, safety, comfort and high-quality. If it’s not the cheapest, it’s not out of reach of any person’s budget.

Editors Choice for jacket Ruffwear k9 Float

When it comes to the safety of your most beloved family member, everything should be done!

So, what are you waiting for? Get the best life vest for your dog now and take it on adventures with you and your family!


  1. Some great dog life jackets you have reviewed. I have found that most dogs take a bit of time to get used to wearing them but definitely worth persevering as the safety benefits are well worth it.

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