The best dog life jacket

Clothing & Accessories

Dog life jacket features that’ll help keep your pooch safe include rescue handles, D-rings and quick release straps. It’s also critical to choose a life jacket that fits your pup properly.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which dog life jackets are best?

Not all dogs take to swimming like a fish. Your dog may not know how to swim or may be scared of the water. If your pup can’t or won’t swim, a dog life jacket is a necessity for them when you’re spending time in, on or near the water. 

Since dog life jackets are essential safety gear, you should choose one for your pooch carefully. There are certain features it must include in order to keep them safe and comfortable. The Vivaglory Sports-Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is designed and constructed in ways that fulfill these criteria. 

What to know before you buy a dog life jacket


There are a couple of different types of buoyancy to consider. First, it must provide enough buoyancy to carry your pup’s weight. Dog life jackets are rated according to weight, so make sure you check this detail. 

Second, even weight distribution is critical. A life jacket that supports your pooch’s rear end, but tips them face-first into the water is obviously not safe. If you’re shopping in person, ask about weight distribution. If you’re looking online, read the reviews to see if any mention uneven weight distribution. 


Neither a too-large nor a too-small life jacket is safe for your dog. If it fits too loosely, they could slip right out of it. If the life jacket is too tight, it could be uncomfortable and restrict their movement. 

Try the life jacket on your dog if you can take them into stores with you. If not, or if you’re shopping online, measure their dimensions and follow the size charts provided. Make sure you’re measuring the correct areas. Always follow the instructions when it comes to taking their measurements. And once you receive the life jacket, don’t remove the tags until you confirm that it’ll fit your pooch.


When it comes to your dog spending time on, near and in the water, visibility is crucial. You should be able to see them at all times. While this may not seem like an issue when they’re on land, it becomes a safety issue when they’re in the water — especially if they drift or swim away from you. 

Look for a life jacket constructed of material in bright shades and edged with reflective strips. Bright colors will help you locate your pup during the day and reflective strips will aid in this process after dark. 

What to look for in a quality dog life jacket

Rescue handles

If your pooch falls into the water, they may not necessarily see it as a bad thing. And, with the aid of the life jacket, they may decide to set out on an adventure and swim away. If you’re on a body of water with other boats near, it’s imperative to get your pup out of the path of those boats. 

This is the reason why choosing a dog life jacket with a sturdy rescue handle is so important. A well-made handle allows you to quickly grab hold of the handle and move them to safety. 


You should always secure your dog when you’re back on land. D-rings, which are affixed to the life jacket, give you a place to attach their leash without requiring you to remove the jacket. That said, you should never tie your dog to any kind of boat or paddleboard, as doing so could restrict their movements — which could prove harmful to them if there’s an emergency. Limit the use of the leash to time spent on dry land. 

Quick-release straps

You may encounter a situation in which you need to remove the life jacket from your dog quickly. Quick-release straps allow you to take the jacket off in a flash, with minimal effort. 

How much you can expect to spend on a dog life jacket 

You don’t necessarily get what you pay for when it comes to dog life jackets. Some of the models at the lower end of the price range, around $18-$30, perform very well at keeping pups buoyant and safe. You can find high-end models for $40-$50, but if you’re on a budget, don’t fret about paying less. 

Dog life jacket FAQ

How do I correctly measure my dog to find the right fit?

A. There are three measurements you need to take to ensure you find a life jacket that fits your pooch perfectly: girth, length and weight. Once you have these measurements, follow the size chart provided by the manufacturer. 

Does my dog’s weight matter?

A. Yes, it does. Heavier dogs need a life jacket that provides more buoyancy than lighter pups. Take their weight into account while shopping for a dog life jacket. 

What’s the best dog life jacket to buy?

Top dog life jacket 

Vivaglory Sports-Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

Vivaglory Sports-Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket

Our take: The neck of this bestseller is designed to angle your pup in a natural swim position, allowing them to feel comfortable and relaxed. 

What we like: This life jacket keeps your dog safe in several key ways. It’s constructed of materials that have passed the CA65 test and an upgraded ripstop 600D cloth, which is sold in bright colors and outfitted with reflective trim that ensures your pooch will be visible. The system that wraps around your dog’s stomach keeps them securely fastened to the life jacket. 

What we dislike: A few buyers reported that the life jacket’s buoyancy was unbalanced, causing their dog’s head to submerge underwater. This issue may be due to poor fit, with the product description urging buyers to measure their dog’s dimensions instead of assuming the life jacket will fit them. 

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top dog life jacket for the money

HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket

HAOCOO Dog Life Jacket

Our take: Constructed from high-grade polyester, oxford and nylon fabric, this well-reviewed dog life jacket is durable and designed to last. The mesh fabric promotes quick drying and the oxford-nylon material is ripstop. 

What we like: The life jacket is designed with a front float piece that keeps your dog’s head suspended above the water. It is equipped with a handle on top, so you can easily get a hold of your dog in or out of the water. The quick-release buckles and adjustable belt make this life jacket convenient to put on and remove. 

What we dislike: Some buyers noted sizing issues despite selecting the size according to their dog’s dimensions and the size chart. 

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

Vivaglory Skin-Friendly Neoprene Dog Life Jacket

Vivaglory Skin-Friendly Neoprene Dog Life Jacket

Our take: Another popular pick from Vivaglory, this dog life jacket provides excellent buoyancy due to the premium neoprene material and extra built-in flotation layers. 

What we like: Neoprene is also gentle on your pup’s skin and it allows the life jacket to conform to your pooch’s unique shape. It’s sold in bright colors with reflective elements to amp up the visibility factor. 

What we dislike: A number of buyers reported that the life jacket wouldn’t adjust or fasten properly due to the straps sliding through the buckle. 

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Megan Oster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.