Looking for a life jacket for your small dog? Then you are in the right place.
For any water-based activity, a life jacket plays a vital role as a primary safety precaution. While water can offer a fun experience, it is equally dangerous.
Therefore, while you plan on enjoying the water with your dog, you should definitely get a life jacket for your companion. It is especially important if your dog falls under the category of small dogs.
Not all dogs can swim. They need to be taught, and even the water dogs are trained and then manually given a tightly clipped coating. While they may have natural talents for swimming, it is our job to get them well-versed and ready.
The only distinctive feature in water dogs is their waterproof coating or fur, while normal dogs lack it, especially small dogs. Hence, life jackets become indispensable for them.
Most small dogs are usually lightweight, weighing between 5 – 22 pounds, depending on the breed. Some are so lightweight that they can fit easily into a purse.
Examples of small dogs include the Miniature Pinscher, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Papillon, Yorkshire Terrier, and so on. Small dogs are perfectly capable of swimming and are usually very active.
Their weight is actually an advantage as the possibility of the sinking is low compared to large dog breeds.
Because of their miniature size, most small dogs suffer from “small dog syndrome,” which is a personality disorder that makes them feel insecure and easily frightened of their surroundings.
It’s no surprise that some small dogs are very afraid of being in or around water. Your small dog can become engulfed by the expanse of water and overexert itself.
Having a life vest will not only serve as a source of extra confidence but will ultimately enable your dog to become more comfortable around water. Now, without further ado, let’s look at the best life jackets for small dogs.
7. Guardian Gear Aquatic Dog Preserver
True to its name, this life jacket is your dog’s Guardian as it keeps your pooch afloat(and safe) in the water when they are tired. Available in two highly visible colors, its dual reflective strips on-side increase visibility during low light, which is a plus point for people going at night.
Made from Polyester nylon, it has a fairly strong material that does not rip-off easily. Personally, I found that it’s not that heavy-duty fabric that will work for years; instead, it’s just a lightweight vest for casual wear. So, if you are looking for a long term, then I would recommend going for a better one.
The dual-layer flotation material inside provides buoyancy and comfort to your dog while they are enjoying the water. And in case some mishap happens, you can quickly rescue them using the sturdy grab handle on top.
Now, to prevent your energetic dog from falling off-boat, you can attach a leash to the D-ring and get them under control while the neck and belly straps keep them secure inside. Depending on the size, the belly straps can either be two or three (for extra safety).
Unfortunately, the front belly straps are not adjustable by position, and the rear on may come over the privates which a male dog will never like.
Currently, it’s available in four small dog sizes – Teacup, XX-Small, X-Small, and Small, the sizing of which is provided by the company.
- Color and reflective strips increase visibility
- Dual flotation and sturdy handle
- D-ring and plenty of colors
- Not for long-term
- Cover male privates
6. PetCee Dog Life Jacket
Made for giving your dog the extra support they need, this life jacket will definitely make your adventure memorable. The front float supports the head and keeps it above water, which is a great plus for small dogs.
With beautiful design, it has two adjustable belly straps and a neck strap to keep your fido secure inside. These adjustable nylon straps maintain the safety and let you customize the fit according to your pooch’s body.
Its color, along with reflective stripe, increases visibility during low light and helps you in quick identification, which is great if you are going out camping or swimming at night.
The Oxford cloth material gives a sturdy exterior to prevent easy rip-off while the green foam board, along with smooth lining, makes it easy to clean. So, cleaning mud and sand is not a problem.
Personally, I found that its quality isn’t that great, which means it can rip-off after a few use. So, it’s great for occasional use, but if you are looking for frequent use, then get a better one.
- Front float supports face above water.
- Adjustable straps for a better fit
- Increases visibility in low light.
- It may rip off with frequent use.
- Quality isn’t that great
5. Outward Hound Standley Style Life Jacket for Dogs
With an open design, this lightweight life jacket from Outward Hound has plenty of space for your dog to move freely. Specifically made for experienced swimmers, it doesn’t provide great buoyancy like other jackets, so if your pooch needs superb support, then this vest is not for them.
Made from extra-rugged ripstop material, it has a strong exterior that doesn’t rip off even on frequent use. Unlike other jackets, it doesn’t hinder movement thanks to its low profile design.
It has two handles on top for vertical and horizontal grip, so in case one breaks or you aren’t able to access one, then you can quickly grab the second one and help your pup. Infront of the handle is a D-ring where you can attach the leash and control your buddy from running around in the middle of the water.
Inner Foam panels provide some buoyancy to keep your dog afloat when they are tired or aren’t putting in enough effort. The mesh belly not only provides a comfortable fit, but also drains water, ventilates heat, and allow it to dry quickly.
Due to open design, its fabric washes off pretty quickly, which means sand and mud is not an issue. And after use, it dries quickly in less than a day.
The two adjustable belly straps and a neck strap allows you to perfectly fit the vest on your cute little puppy. There is a velcro on adjustment points to secure extra straps, which means no extra strap dangling.
Available in a high visibility color, it has two size options for your dog – X-Small (BG – 28-39 cm) and Small (BG – 40-51 cm).
- Sturdy and comfortable
- Two handles for quick-rescue
- Foam panels and mesh
- Lightweight and low-profile
- Leash isn’t really strong
- Not suitable for weak swimmers or dogs that need superb support
4. Haocoo Dog Life Jacket Vest Saver
With pretty design and high visibility color, this life jacket from Haocoo will keep your cutie pie afloat in the water. It’s color along with reflective stripes on-side increases visibility during low light, so if you are going out swimming at night or go camping, then it’s easy to spot your fido.
It has a sturdy exterior thanks to Polyester Oxford & Nylon Fabric that easily tackles mangroves and other rough objects, thus preventing rip-off. There are two adjustable belly straps and a neck strap that keeps your pup safe inside.
Being adjustable, they can be customized according to your dog’s fit, which provides necessary comfort and safety. It has a mesh belly that not only drains water but also ventilates out heat and maintains a cool temperature inside.
Also, the mesh fiber allows quick-drying, which is great if your dog just loves jumping in the pool every day. This way, the vest will dry faster and will be quickly ready for the next use.
There is a pearl cotton foam inside that makes it soft and provides great comfort while the front float keeps the head above water. Now, since its cotton, it can soak up some water, but don’t worry, the mesh will drain it.
The sturdy handle on-top allows you to quickly carry your dog in case some mishap happens while the heavy-duty D-ring hook allows you to attach a leash to get control of your boi.
Available in 10 colors it has three sizes for small dogs – XX-Small (CG- 11.02-14.56”, BL- 5.9”, W- 0-5.51 lbs), X-Small (CG- 11.81-16.53”, BL- 8.26”, W- 5.51-8.81 lbs), and Small (CG- 16.14-20.86”, BL- 10.23”, W- 8.81-15.43 lbs).
If your dog falls in the upper limit of a size, then getting the larger size is a smart idea. Earlier, there was confusion regarding size, but now, the size chart is updated, so examine it prior to selecting the size.
- Reflective strips and colors for maximum visibility
- Sturdy and comfortable
- Quick-dry, lightweight
- Adjustable so great fit.
- The only issue was of size, but after the new size chart, its resolved, so no con left.
3. Paws Aboard Double Designer Doggy Life Jacket
With a lightweight design, this beautiful life jacket from Paws Aboard is something your dog will love to wear. Being a nylon construction, it’s sturdy exterior easily deals with thicket and other objects your dog may come across, and resist rip-off.
With adjustable straps and buckles, it has a D-ring and a nylon loop on-top where you can attach the leash to control your dog. The adjustable straps let you customize the jacket according to your dog’s fit.
Personally, I found that the D-ring is not strong enough to bear much pressure like your dog’s weight, so if you try to pull up your pooch using the leash (attached to D-ring), then it might break.
The velcro closure provides comfort while the mesh belly drains excess water and ventilates out heat, thus keeping it lightweight and cool inside. Not only that, but the mesh also protects your pet from chafing.
On the top is a rescue handle using which you can pull your buddy out of the water in case of an emergency. The reflective strips on-top increase visibility, especially in a low light situation, which helps you quickly spot your dog.
Available in eight vibrant colors, there are three sizes for small dogs – XX-Small (10-14” body girth, 1-6 lbs), X-Small (14-18” body girth, 7-15 lbs), and Small (18-27” body girth, 15-20 lbs).
Now, if your pooch falls somewhere in-between of two sizes, then get the bigger one, and use the adjustable straps to get the fit. However, remember, if the size is big, then it might cover the private parts which your dog may not like.
- Lightweight and Adjustable
- D-ring and Nylon loop for leash
- Comfortable and cool
- Rescue handle and reflective strips
- Plenty of colors and size
- D-ring webbing is not strong (maybe due to single stitch)
- If large, it covers the private parts
2. Vivaglory Dog Life Jackets with Extra Padding for Dogs
When it comes to comfort and design, nothing can beat this small dog vest from Vivaglory. Made from Ripstop 600D Oxford material, it has extra padding with 50% more flotation.
The ripstop material makes it sturdy, while the extra padding provides the comfort and flotation your dog needs. There is a removable front float that provides extra support to the neck, keeps the face above water, and releases neck pressure, which is a great safety add-on.
It gets a little floppy when wet but does a good job of keeping the face upright. And if the front float isn’t liked by your dog for any reason, then you can simply remove it.
On the top is a sturdy grab handle that can be used to quickly rescue your dog in case of an emergency. Personally, I found that unlike other jackets, it has a really sturdy handle, and you can easily pull up your buddy without any tear.
Beneath the handle is a D-ring that can be used to fasten a leash while the reflecting detailing on the side increases visibility, especially during low light situations, which is great for people planning to go during dawn, dusk or night.
There are two adjustable belly straps, and a neck strap clipped together by quick-release buckles that maintain safety while your pup is splashing around.
Available in ten colors, there are two sizes for small dogs – XS (CG – 32-42 cm, NG- 24-30 cm) and S (CG – 42-50.8 cm, NG- 29-40.5cm) where CG means Chest Girth and NG means Neck Girth.
If you dog falls close to the top measurement, please order the next size up. And don’t worry, there is a 90-day warranty so even if the size fits big or then is some other issue you can easily get it replaced.
- Sturdy and comfortable
- Extra flotation and neck support
- Sturdy grab handle and reflective side
- D-ring and adjustability
- 90 Days warranty.
- The front float is off-centered, so the head support stays off to one side.
1. Ruffwear K9 Adjustable Float Coat
Considered as the best dog life jacket, Ruffwear k9 is also available for small dogs thanks to several size options. Being the best one, it has all the great safety features your dog may ever need.
Made from durable ripstop material, it’s sturdy exterior prevents easy rip-off while the covered inner provides the comfort your pup needs. Unlike other jackets, it has closed-cell foam panels that lets your pooch swim naturally with an upright position.
The great design provides buoyancy and lets your dog swim prolonged without any discomfort. And that makes it ideal for outdoor use like kayaking, boating, surfing, etc., so wherever you go your pooch can accompany.
On the top is a low profile, well-built rescue handle that can be used to pull the dog in case of an emergency, like when they mistakenly slip in the water. When pulled via handle, it doesn’t feel intolerable like other jackets as the buckles are covered in material and don’t dig into the skin.
Beneath the handle is a D-ring where you can attach a leash, whereas behind it is a light loop for the beacon. The reflective trims on the jacket increase visibility during low light, which can be helpful if you are going out in dusk/dawn.
It has a telescoping neck closure along with two adjustable belly straps that let you adjust the vest according to your dog’s fit. And the best part? All the buckles are covered, so no contact, no discomfort, and therefore no-chafe.
Available in four colors, it’s available in three small dog sizes – XX-Small (13-17” i.e., 33-43 cm), X-Small (17-22” i.e., 43-56 cm), and Small(22-27” i.e., 56-69 cm).
- Durable and comfortable
- Ideal for most waterspout
- Durable handle, D-ring, and light loop
- Adjustable jacket
- Plenty of colors and sizes.
- Nothing that I could find
Why Dogs Need Life Jackets
Are you going boating, and you’ve decided on taking your cute little dog with you? Then you need a dog life jacket. But what exactly is a dog life jacket?
A dog life jacket (also known as a flotation suit ) is a specialized piece of equipment you use on dogs to keep them afloat in water. They usually come in different sizes, colors, and variations depending on the breed and size of the dog.
Now that you know exactly what a dog life jacket is, let’s dive into the reasons why your dog needs one of these life jackets.
1. Safety Precaution
No matter how athletic your dog is, even if it can swim the entire ocean in one stroke, accidents can happen at any time. The tide of the water current can change without warning, and your dog can get frightened and tire itself in the process. In situations such as these, wearing a life vest can be a lifesaver.
For dogs who aren’t swimmers, it is only logical that you ensure they are properly kitted before taking them boating, kayaking, or near bodies of water. This is because while boating, they can fall off your watercraft, and it may be difficult for you to get them out of the water without risking the possibility that they may drown beforehand. Having a life jacket makes it easier to pull your dog onto the boat due to its handles. These handles can also assist you in training your dog to learn how to swim.
2. Maintaining Core Body Temperature
Just like humans suffering from hypothermia following extreme and extensive exposure to cold temperatures, the same condition can befall your dog when exposed to cold water for a long period of time. The temperature of the water, coupled with the dog’s body size and its body fat percentage, has a role to play in how long your dog can survive in cold water before becoming hypothermic. Using a life vest can help you counteract this effect as it allows your dog to float while keeping them insulated at the same time. Because the health of your dog is vital to you, maintaining its core body temperature is an absolute necessity.
In a large body of water, it is very easy for you to lose sight of your pet dog, especially during strong currents. This is why a dog’s life jacket is made in a variety of colors, which will enable you to locate your dog while it’s in the water easily.
4. Peace of Mind Guaranteed
When you go out to swim on the beach, and you get into shallow waters, you are extra confident knowing you’re wearing a life vest. In the same vein, when you kit your furry friend with a life jacket, it gives you an extra boost of confidence knowing that your dog will not only have fun in the water, but it will have fun safely.
Choosing a Dog’s Life Vest
Before you go into a pet store to buy a life jacket for your furry friend, there are a couple of things you need to take into consideration as there are myriads of brands with multiple colorings available. You’d want to ensure you’re making the right choice during your selection process.
The weight, body girth, and size of your dog are of the utmost importance when choosing a life jacket. It is imperative that you weigh and measure the dog’s body girth, especially at the widest part of its rib-cage. The length of the dog should be measured as well to ensure the life jacket provides adequate coverage for the dog. Having taken these factors into consideration, you should not get a life jacket that’s too big or too small. When a life jacket is too big, your dog can slip out of it easily, and when it is too small, it could cause a great deal of discomfort for your dog.
A life jacket must be the perfect fit for your dog. It should be that after you kit your dog with its life jacket, it should be able to move its limbs without any form of discomfort. If, after clipping all the buckles, your dog can’t breathe, then that’s clearly not a good fit. Although all dog life vests are adjustable, you would want a jacket that is snug but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable. A vest that can lead to chafing isn’t the right fit for your dog as your dog should be able to enjoy the ease of movement while wearing the life jacket.
3. Lifting Handles
Life jackets should have strong top handles that allow for easy retrieval of your dog when the need arises. For more convenience, having a life jacket with a D-Ring attached can easily allow you to attach a leash, so you don’t need to slip the vest off and on constantly. It is important that you test the handles before buying.
4. Durable and Brightly Colored
When buying a life jacket, it’s best you go for a jacket made of waterproof and durable materials like neoprene. It is also important that you choose brightly colored life jackets, preferably with reflective strips. A brightly colored life jacket comes in handy when your pet falls overboard.
5. Front Flotation Pad
A front flotation pad is vital as it helps the dog keep its head above water, especially during an emergency such as when your dog is incapacitated. Extra buoyancy should also be added to the underbelly of the jacket.
6. Read Reviews
Before buying a life jacket for your dog, go online and look up the top brands. Check out what other dog lovers are saying about the particular product. It is advisable not to purchase a dog’s life jacket online the first time without being familiar with the brand. It is always best to go to your local store where you can conveniently test the product before deciding to make a purchase.
How to effectively kit your dog with a life jacket.
So you’ve decided to buy a life jacket for your dog, but now you don’t know how to fit a life jacket properly. Well here are a few steps to help you with the process:
- First, you unclip all the buckles of the vest to extend it fully.
- Ensure the dog is standing erect. Then place the jacket on your dog’s back, ensuring the jacket stays centralized.
- Tie the chest straps while ensuring for a snug fit, not a tight fit.
- The neck strap should be loosely fitted to allow ease of movement but not so loose as to allow it to slip off the dog’s head.
FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Is a life jacket necessary when you have a water dog?
Yes, a life jacket is absolutely necessary. Irrespective of the dog breed you possess, it is absolutely necessary that you safeguard the health of your dog when in or near bodies of water by wearing it a life vest. Just because you own a water dog doesn’t mean it won’t get scared if your boat gets capsized. In such a situation, when fear creeps in, it can tire itself out by waddling too much. It could even suffer a seizure while swimming, which could lead to your furry friend drowning, but with a life vest, it could stay the body of water afloat till it’s saved.
2. Are a dog’s life jackets easy to clean and maintain?
Not all dog life jackets are made from the same material. A good life jacket is made of waterproof and durable materials. Some life jackets are made of materials such as nylon, neoprene, and cotton fabric. It also depends on the type of water you take your dog to, as muddy waters can be more difficult to clean. When in chlorinated waters, it’s best to rinse both your dog and its jacket with fresh water to remove any chlorine residue. But rest assured, most life jackets can be easily washed. To keep the color from fading, it’s best not to sundry but to dry in the shade.
3. Must I buy a dog life jacket with a D-ring?
No, you mustn’t. But having a dog life jacket with a D-ring gives you an added layer of security as you can attach a leash to the D-ring and thus not worry about having to slip on and off the jacket.
4. What is the lifespan of a dog’s life jacket?
The lifespan of a dog’s life jacket is dependent on how it is used and maintained. If the jacket is not torn and the buckles are in good order, then your dog’s life jacket can serve you for a long period of time. But in a situation where your dog’s buckles get bad, or you need to fix a part of your dog’s life jacket, then you should be aware that spare parts are available to help you achieve that.
5. My dog doesn’t like wearing vests. What can I do to make him comfortable wearing one?
First of all, you start by giving it some very nice treats when it wears the life jacket. For dog breeds uncomfortable with water, you can start teaching it to learn how to swim and rewarding it with a treat afterward. Over time, it will get comfortable with the life jacket on its skin and being around bodies of water. Having your dog wear the life jacket on land is also a good way to get them familiar with the device before taking them boating.
6. Should I Buy a Dog Life Jacket Or Not?
If you take your dog with you everywhere you go, then it’s important you get a life jacket for water-based adventures. Many dog owners do not necessarily see the need for a life jacket based on misinformation or a general lack of education about water-based accidents. But It’s way better to prioritize your pet’s safety than pay the price later. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, invest in a high-grade life jacket for your small dog today.
7. Are life jackets cost-effective?
A good waterproof and durable life jacket is not only a good investment, but it will also secure the life of your furry family member. This is why before buying a dog’s life jacket, it is imperative you read the reviews on the product you intend to purchase. What customers are saying about a particular product will give you an insight into the product’s overall durability. Customer ratings are also of utmost importance as they tell you how good or bad the product is. It’s always better to get the best quality product than going for sub-par products, which can ultimately put the life of your dog at risk.
So finally we reached the end! Phew, it was a long journey and so fun to write about the best life jacket that you can get for your small dog. I hope this article has helped you get a good one for your small buddy. If you like this article, please share it with your friends and family. Hope to see you soon, until then, take care!