Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Welcome to our big dog life jacket test 2021. Here we present all the dog life jackets that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best dog life jacket for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a dog life jacket.




Summary

  • Dogs are naturally swimmers. Nevertheless, there are various dog life jackets. These help the four-legged friends in various situations.
  • A dog life jacket does not mean that the dog cannot swim. It mainly has a supporting function.
  • The dog life jacket is used in different areas and has a different shape depending on the area.

The Best Dog Life Jacket: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a dog life jacket

For which dogs is a life jacket suitable?

Basically, a dog life jacket is suitable for every dog, for some more and for others less. It is important to remember that the waistcoat serves as a support.

A life jacket helps anxious and water-shy dogs to get used to the water. The aim is to stabilise the dog's position in the water.

Another use is in water sports, e.g. when a dog is the companion on a boat. In this case, the waistcoat serves as a safety device in case the dog goes overboard.

If you are in deeper waters with your dog - for example, when surfing - a dog life jacket is almost mandatory. (Image source: pexels.com / Guy Kawasaki)

Furthermore, a dog life jacket is used in the field of dog rehabilitation. It supports the dog, which can rebuild its muscles while swimming.

A similar principle is used for old dogs. Here, the life jacket helps the dog to save strength but still be able to swim.

A dog life jacket does not mean that the dog wearing it is a non-swimmer.

How much does a dog life jacket cost?

As with any product, there is a certain price range for a dog life jacket.

There are cheap life jackets starting at 5€ but also expensive ones up to 150€.

The difference lies in the material, number of floats, safety features and brand. It is important to note that the most expensive waistcoat is not necessarily the best and most suitable for your dog.

This is because the expensive waistcoats usually have floats on both the back and the belly. These can be too constricting for man's faithful friend when simply bathing.

Are there alternatives to the dog life jacket?

Here the answer is clearly no. There is no real alternative on the market for dog accessories.

Only you are an alternative. However, only when bathing in shallow water.

You can help your dog by holding your hand under his belly. This gives him a safe feeling and helps him to get used to the water and to swim.

On the other hand, you can also let large dogs run around in shallow water without much hesitation, as long as you are close by and always keep an eye on them.

Most dogs are water lovers and a life jacket is often not absolutely necessary, especially for large dogs in shallow water. (Image source: pixabay.com / 825545)

Decision: What types of dog life jackets are there and which one is right for you?

What distinguishes a dog life jacket and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A good dog life jacket has several features.

Firstly, a good life jacket stands out because of its bright colour. It helps to locate the dogs in strong waves.

Furthermore, the dogs with such a waistcoat are more noticeable even during normal bathing. In addition to the colour, there is also the option of reflectors. They also help the four-legged friends to stand out. Meanwhile, most dog life jackets have a recovery handle.

This makes it easier to rescue dogs if they are in a dangerous situation.

Now there are different variations of dog life jackets. The variation lies mainly in the number and position of the floats.

If there are too many of them, they can make the dogs feel constricted. However, dog life jackets with many floats are ideal for dogs that are involved in water sports on the high seas.

Here there are usually currents and many waves, which is why a suitable life jacket is important. The many floats help to counteract the dog's loss of strength.

With all life jackets, however, it is important to note that the dog must first get used to the feel of the jacket before he can fully enjoy himself in the water.

Advantages
  • safe swimming, playing, training, muscle building, splashing and romping in the water
  • increases safety
  • easy to put on and take off
  • can be life-saving
Disadvantages
  • dog must first get used to the feel of the vest
  • can constrict the dog

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate dog life jackets

In the following, we would like to show you which aspects help you to decide on a dog life jacket.

You should consider the following buying criteria:

  • Purpose
  • Size
  • Safety
  • Care

Intended use

First of all, it is important to know why your dog needs a dog life jacket.

Is your dog only afraid of water? Or are you a passionate sailor and have your dog with you for company? Is your dog more likely to swim in gentle waters or wild waters?

Of course, you don't need a high-tech life jacket for your dog if you just want to get your four-legged friend used to the water slowly. The main thing here is to give your dog a safe feeling.

If you just want to get your puppy used to the water, you don't necessarily need a high-end life jacket. As long as you're around and supporting your dog, a comparatively cheap model can also do a good job. (picture source: pixabay.com / iannnn)

For water sports, on the other hand, it is important to have a bright colour. Furthermore, recovery handles and floats on the belly and back are helpful.

Your dog is old or has been injured? Basically, the goal here is to provide support during swimming.

So you need floats that bring the dog into a stable position in the water. Recovery handles and other accessories are only secondary.

Size

A dog life jacket can only do its job if it fits properly.

Ideally, it feels like a second coat for the dog. This makes the dog feel comfortable and does not interfere with swimming.

There are dogs of different sizes and, accordingly, there are of course dog life jackets in numerous sizes. These range from XS to XXL.

there are three different sizes:

  • Neck circumference
  • Belly circumference
  • Back length

It is important to note that the sizes can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, there are rough guidelines that you can follow.

This means that finding a suitable life jacket is not quite so easy.

One tip is to test several sizes and models to find the perfect fit.

Basically, your dog should not be constricted, but at the same time the life jacket should not be too loose, otherwise it loses its purpose.

The dog life jacket fits perfectly when it feels like a second skin for the dog.

Size neck circumference waist circumference back length
XS approx. 17 to 25cm approx. 30 to 40 cm approx. 20 cm
S approx. 30 to 38 cm approx. 41 to 48 cm approx. 25 cm
M approx. 30 to 43 cm approx. 50 to 58 cm approx. 30 cm
L approx. 38 to 48 cm approx. 55 to 70 cm approx. 35 cm
XL/XXL approx. 48 to 58 cm approx. 72 to 59 cm approx. 45 cm

Safety

Although the dog life jacket itself is a safety feature for the dog, there are other safety factors for the life jacket itself.

Firstly, the visibility of the waistcoat is of great importance. A bright colour is helpful here. Examples of this are neon colours in general, but also simple colours such as red, orange or yellow.

In addition to colour, reflectors also help visibility in the dark or in poor visibility. However, even the best visibility is of little help if your dog loses control in the water and you cannot rescue him.

For this purpose, the life jackets have a so-called rescue handle. It is located on the back.

It makes it easier to lift and retrieve your dog. Without this handle it is very difficult to lift a heavy and wriggling dog out of the water.

The recovery handle is easy to grasp because it is always above the water surface. (Picture source: pixabay.com / bednuts)

Care

A much smaller factor in buying a vest, but one that should not be neglected, is how well it can be cared for. In the long run, the waistcoat starts to stink and can get dirty from water plants.

Therefore, the dog life jacket should be easy to care for.

Ideally, the life jacket can be washed at 30° in the washing machine.

If the dog life jacket is clean, your dog usually feels more comfortable and it doesn't matter if he rolls around in the sand with it.

Facts worth knowing about dog life jackets

Other dog accessories for water fun

As already explained, the dog life jacket is a good gadget for a dog that doesn't want to miss the water.

However, there are other accessories that guarantee your dog water fun and help him in some situations. First of all, there is a dog pool for the home.

The only prerequisite is a garden or a surface on which you can build the pool. The pool serves both water-shy dogs and true water rats.

On the one hand, a pool at home can be used to introduce the dog to the element of water before going to a lake or even the sea.

Dogs that can't get enough of water can also play in the water at home on warm summer days. You don't have to go to a suitable lake.

In the long run, however, just water could become too boring. There are suitable toys for water. Be it a floating lighthouse or just a ball or a suitable cuddly toy.

After the water fun, the dog should dry off as quickly as possible.

On warm days, this usually happens very quickly. However, there are also dogs with such thick fur that even on warm summer days, drying can take a few hours.

For any dog on cold days as well as dogs with thick coats, a dog bathrobe can be helpful. This helps both with drying and warming directly after bathing.

First time in the water with the dog life jacket

For you and your dog, the first time with a dog life jacket is very important for the further use of the waistcoat.

First of all, you should make sure that the dog life jacket does not constrict your faithful friend and that he can feel comfortable with it.

Ideally, the waistcoat will feel like a second skin over the coat. It is very possible that your dog will not move at all after putting it on.

This is because he has to get used to the new situation. Let him take his time, he will get used to the feeling at his own pace.

It is helpful to reward your dog for each step forward.

It is not helpful at all to put your dog under pressure. You should also refrain from comforting your dog and sitting next to him. This gives him the feeling of being confirmed in his discomfort.

Do not put pressure on your dog. Let him take his time and reward him for progress with a treat.

Image source: pixabay.com / doglover_sara

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