Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Dog Life Jacket

Keep your pooch safe and above water with a buoyant vest.

Love it or hate it—that describes how dogs typically feel about the water. Unlike life jackets for their two-legged friends, dog life jackets aren’t U.S. Coast Guard-approved or come with any other type of certification. That makes it all the more important for pet owners to make an educated decision about the best float coat for furry friends. Even water-loving dogs can benefit from a comfortable life jacket. Dogs with short coats can lose body heat quickly in cool water, and a life jacket can keep them warm. And happy swimmers can tire easily or get overheated. A buoyant PFD for your pet helps everyone enjoy a day on the water. Here are three things to consider when choosing a dog life jacket.

An under-the-neck buoyant panel helps even the smallest dogs breathe with their heads above the water. Outward Hound

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Pet PFDs vary by the amount of buoyancy provided. If your dog is likely to hit the lake or beach and swim for long periods, you’ll want a jacket that provides plenty of flotation, with multiple panels sewn around the jacket. But if you’re just looking for an easy-to-wear life jacket as a safety backup in case your pooch slips off the boat or dock, a slimmer, less-buoyant model might be more comfortable for long-term wear.

Neoprene side panels are thermally efficient and super buoyant. Outward Hound

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Look for a life jacket with strong grab handles at the top of the jacket. These allow you to quickly rescue a struggling dog or help happy swimmers get in and out of boats and pools. And an easy-to-access exterior D-ring will enable you to quickly and securely attach a leash whenever the life jacket covers your pet’s collar.

This PFD for pooches is safe, comfortable, and fun, thanks to the cool shark fin accessory. Queenmore

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A visible dog is a safer dog, so opt for life jackets made of bright colors that will stand out against blue and brown water. If you’re out at night, reflective patches and piping will help you keep tabs on an overboard pooch for a quick rescue.