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Dog Safety Vests & Life Preservers

Just like human life jackets, dog life jackets or swimming flotation jackets allow dogs to stay afloat in the water. These floatation devices are preferred for recreational swimmers, hunters, or service dogs and are made of extremely buoyant materials with neoprene outer shells. Most dog life vests include reflective patches and handles to safely pull a drowning dog to safety.

How do you put a life jacket on a dog?

K-9 float coat jackets are constructed to keep your dog's head out of the water with a neoprene neck float strap. Dog life jackets should fit snugly and securely to ensure that the vest doesn't get caught on sticks or other objects in the water. Therefore, it's essential that the life vest is properly sized for your dog.

  • Place the life jacket over your dog with the handles placed upward.
  • Make sure the life jacket covers your dog's girth up to the bottom of their neckline.
  • Attach both the belly and neck jacket straps (if needed) so both are snug but not overly tight.
How do you find the right size dog life jacket?

Reflective flotation life vests for dogs come in a variety of sizes to fit most dog breeds, so they can float with their heads above the water. Most Ruffwear flotation designs base the size requirements of the vest off of the weight of your dog. Follow the Ruffwear life vest sizing chart provided by the manufacturer of the dog life jacket to get the right fit for your K-9.

How can a dog stay comfortable in a float coat?

It may take some time before your dog gets used to wearing its vest. However, the transition may be easier if your dog already enjoys a swim. Put the life jacket on your dog or puppy, and allow it to play in the life vest daily to get used to the jacket. Go for walks with your dog with the flotation device on, or put the life vest on it right before a swim if it already enjoys swimming. If your dog doesn't know how to swim yet with flotation assistance:

  • Always make swimming an exciting occasion while you are training your pup in its life vest.
  • Use reward treats and instill trust in your dog that it can get out of the water with your help.
What should you do if there is an emergency?

If there is an emergency in which your dog's life vest gets caught on an object or can't get to shore, you can tie a long rope to one of the jacket's handles and pull your dog in. Avoid using a dog life jacket in turbulent water or conditions in which the dog may not be able to return to shore. Train your dog in its dog life vest to come back to you, and reward your dog with treats for its return.