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The 3 best dog life jackets

If you plan on spending time with your dog in or around water, the best dog life jackets are a safety must-have (yes, even if they’re a good swimmer). The best jackets are buoyant enough to keep your pet afloat, since they have flotation sections on the back, sides, and sometimes front. They're also brightly colored, with reflective detailing that makes your dog easy to spot, and made from quick-drying materials like polyester or neoprene. Look for a life jacket with a strong handle on top so you can easily pull your dog out of the water if necessary.

When purchasing a dog life jacket, it's important to ensure that it'll fit your pup properly — it should be loose enough that it’s comfortable and non-restricting, but not so loose that your dog can wiggle their way out of it. Life jacket sizing is typically based on chest girth, back length, and weight measurements, so measure your dog as recommended by the brand and reference its sizing chart to find the best fit. The straps on life jackets are almost always adjustable and usually feature a buckle closure so you can get a snug, more customized fit.

Once you've picked out a life jacket, the U.S. Coast Guard recommends having your dog first test it out in shallow water while under close supervision, and with a leash or harness clipped on, just in case.

With all of this in mind, these are three of the best dog life jackets available on Amazon. They come in a wide range of size and color options, so you can find the one that’s right for your pet.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

1. The fan favorite

With more than 18,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.6-star rating overall, this Outward Hound dog life jacket is a favorite on the site, and for good reason. It's made of neoprene with foam flotation sections, which means it should be quick-drying and provide some thermal insulation in cold water. Flotation sections throughout the jacket help keep your dog from sinking, while a front float support works to keep their head above water. The dual grab handles make it easy to lift your dog out of the water if you need to. The straps, which hold the jacket in place, are adjustable for a customized fit. And the life jacket comes in three bright colors with reflective accents for better visibility.

This option is available in three styles, and you should choose one based on your dog's swimming skill-level: Granby (which offers the most neck support and is best for beginner swimmers), Dawson (which has thermal insulation and is best for intermediate swimmers), and Standley (which has an open design for a better range of motion and is best for expert swimmers). The jackets come in five different sizes that fit dogs with a chest girth ranging from 11 to 44 inches.

One reviewer says: "We were truly impressed with this product. I bought this for my hound (55-60lbs) who was afraid of the water. He would only go chest deep without the vest. After I put it on we had to coax him out of the water. He could keep his head above water more easily and didn’t have to exert quite as much energy to stay afloat. The clips were easily adjustable and the handles sturdy. It folded up well to keep in my backpack when it wasn’t in use. An added bonus was the bright orange which made it easy to see him when he was running through the woods."

  • Available sizes: X-Small - X-Large

2. The budget one

Despite its under $20 price tag, this dog life jacket from Vivaglory is a high quality option. The life jacket is made from a thick, durable Oxford polyester material that's quick to dry. It has flotation sections throughout the back, sides, and neck of the jacket, though it lacks a neck support float, so you should skip this jacket if you're concerned about your dog's ability to keep their head above water. The life jacket has a durable grab handle that you can use to lift your pup out of the water. Adjustable straps with buckle closures, as well as hook and loop fasteners, help ensure this life jacket will fit your dog well.

Choose from nine bright colors and patterns, all of which have reflective stripes for easy spotting. The jacket comes in five different sizes, and will fit dogs with a chest girth ranging from 12.6 to 38.6 inches. If your dog's measurements are close to the high end of the recommended range for a size, the manufacturer recommends sizing up.

One reviewer says: "I purchased this life jacket for our 15 lb, 1 y.o Cavapoo. She has always loved the water-even as a puppy. We bought this for kayaking this summer. We knew we needed a life jacket to ensure the safety of our pup. [... ] Our puppy was comfortable in this life jacket. In fact, I think it relaxed her on her first kayak voyage. We even tried the handle out by lifting her out of the kayak into the water as well as bringing her back in. It was extremely easy to put on, lightweight, dried quickly after being wet, and the price was perfect. We are very pleased with this product."

  • Available sizes: X-Small - X-Large

3. The one for really big dogs

If you have an extra-large dog, this EzyDog dog life jacket is designed for dogs that weigh 90 pounds or more with a chest girth of up to 48 inches, making it the biggest on this list. The life jacket is made of polyester with neoprene straps, and it has foam flotation sections on the sides, back, and neck. The neck support is designed to keep your dog's head out of water without interfering with their natural swimming form.

Dual straps (which hold the jacket in place) are easy to adjust, while the handle on the back provides a secure way to grab your dog if needed. The life jacket features reflective details for visibility and is available in two colors — red or yellow. The manufacturer gives recommendations for sizing using girth, back length, and weight, but suggests that girth should be the main determining factor. Though the X-Large size covers dogs up to 48 inches in girth, the jacket does come in four different sizes that work for dogs starting at 19 inches in girth.

One reviewer says: "I've had this life vest for a few years and it has held up beautifully. It goes on my 100 lb doberman who loves to swim and it fits him great, plus it actually keeps him afloat. I've been out swimming with several other large breed dogs and none of their life vests actually kept them afloat. It not only supports him in the water, but the chest/neck strap floats as well so it doesn't tip him over in the water or make it difficult to hold his head up. This is by far the best life vest I've ever used or seen and often have others ask me where I got it because theirs work so poorly. The leash connect on the top is strong and works very well and the handle has not torn and we use it to lift him out of the water onto our boat."

  • Available sizes: X-Small - X-Large