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The Best Dog Life Jackets For Kayaking, SUPing and Boating (2023)

There are many who feel that their dog doesn’t need a life jacket. He’s a natural born swimmer, right?

That’s not exactly the case.

Some dogs are all about the water while others don’t mesh with it so well, but regardless, there’s no predicting what could happen while you’re on or near the water that could put your pup’s life in danger.

Your four-legged family member’s safety is of the utmost importance, and that’s where a dog life jacket can come in handy.

Let’s discuss a little more about them and how they could benefit you and your canine companion.

And hey, don’t forget to wear your own paddle board life jacket!

Best Dog Life Jackets for the Money

Ruffwear – K-9 Float Coat for Dogs4.9/5
NRS CFD Dog Life Jacket4.9/5
Outward Hound Ripstop Dog Life Jacket4.6/5
Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket4.7/5
Vivaglory Sports Style Ripstop Dog Life Jacket4.7/5
Paws Aboard Neoprene Doggy Life Jacket4.6/5
Outward Hound Neoprene Dog Life Jacket4.4/5
Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket4.4/5
Kurgo Surf N Turf Dog Life Jacket4.4/5
Go Pet Life Jacket4.6/5

Why Your Dog Should Wear A Life Jacket

dog life jacket

From hanging out on a boat and going stand-up paddle boarding to going kayaking and chasing a Frisbee in the ocean, there are many water activities that you and your dog can do together.

However, there are also large waves, currents, slippery rocks, exhaustion, and a whole variety of issues that could cause your pup to get into distress in the blink of an eye.

Some dogs will also just naturally have a tough time staying afloat.

A life jacket could help keep your pup safe should a dangerous situation arise.

There’s also the issue of visibility. Wherever you are, the bright colors of the life jacket will allow you to see where he is.

Additionally, your pup can feel more safe, secure, and confident while in the water as he feels that extra support.

The structure of the life jacket, specifically the handle on top, makes it simple to grab onto your dog quickly whether it’s during a rescue situation, you’re helping to keep him steady on a paddle board, you’re teaching him to swim, or you just want to assist him with getting through the water a little faster.

Dogs can get tired in the water just like humans can.

What To Look For In a Dog Life Vest

When it comes to figuring out what type of dog life vest to get, there are a few things you want to keep an eye out for.

The handle has already been mentioned, but it’s important that it not be set directly in the middle of the dog’s back.

There should be one set close to the shoulders, and in some cases, there may also be an additional one that’s set closer to the tail as well.

The good news is that most life jackets already have one or two handles as well as a ring so you can hook up a leash if need be.

Most will also come in bright colors, so choose the brightest color possible and one that you’ll easily be able to see from a distance.

Reflective accents also help.

When it comes to the straps, they should be perfectly situated so your dog won’t be uncomfortable and also so they’re not set too far back or forward.

Make sure after you’ve properly adjusted the straps that they’re not so long that they could get stuck on something in the water.

Lastly, the life vest should allow your dog to keep his head above water without a problem as well as allow him to remain stable on both sides.

Sizes and How To Get The Right PFD Fit For Your Dog

If you’ve decided to get a life jacket for your dog then that’s great! However, it’s not enough to just go and buy one.

You want to make sure the one you choose is perfectly suited to your pup, and it all starts with getting the correct size and fit.

So how exactly do you do that? It starts with a cloth tape measure, one that you can easily wrap around your dog and get a good read on the measurement.

There are three measurements you want to get: the length (which goes from neck to tail), the neck, and the chest (at the widest part).

Keep in mind that your dog should be standing up during the measuring process, not sitting or laying down. You’ll also want to be sure of your dog’s weight.

Now that you have your measurements, you’ll want to compare them to the sizing chart for the brand.

Just like with humans, sizes may vary, so you don’t want to assume that your dog is a specific size.

If there is any confusion about what size would be best for your dog, don’t hesitate to contact the company directly, provide them with the measurements, and ask what they feel would be best.

To ensure you have the right fit, you’ll want to put the life jacket on your pup when you get it before you actually get out on the water.

It shouldn’t feel too tight or too loose, and your dog should be able to walk comfortably in it without struggling.

The aforementioned may seem overwhelming, but choosing a life jacket for your dog is actually a really simple process and one that is absolutely worth it to go through.

Here’s what it comes down to.

You can’t predict what’s going to happen out on the water to your pet, but you can take precautions, and doing so isn’t going to take away from the experience.

If anything, that life jacket on your pup is going to enhance your experience and allow for a sense of security knowing that he’s even more protected. It’s an investment that just might end up saving your dog’s life.