Do You Really Need to Buy a Dog Life Jacket for Your Pup?

Imagine you’re going on a summer vacation and decide to take your dog with you. Everything seems perfect until it dawns on you: do I have to get her a dog life jacket? This article will provide you with everything you need to know about dog life jackets and whether or not they are necessary for your pup.

Does Your Dog Need a Life Jacket? What Vets Recommend

Like our typical life vests, life vests for dogs are used to prevent our furry friends from drowning while they are in the water. They essentially work the same way.

However, if you’re having second thoughts about buying a life jacket for your pup, here’s what veterinarians say about the importance of these garments.

7 Reasons a Dog Life Jacket Is Nessecery For Your Pup

Yellow Lab wearing a life jacket while swimming

1. Life Jackets Prevent Accidents and Emergencies

Given that most of us see our dogs as members of the family, we love to include them on our trips to the beach. However, this necessitates special precautionary measures for our furry friends. According to estimates by the Pet Health Zone, thousands of dogs die every year due to drowning incidents.

Therefore, observing safety measures is common sense. To prevent these accidents from happening, it’s best to have your animal companions wear a dog lifesaver jacket.

2. They Protect Your Dog From Unseen Hazards In The Water

Swimming pools are relatively safe. Beaches and lakeshores, on the other hand, may have foliage, branches, and other types of debris that may entangle with your dog’s body, which can lead to drowning. Strong currents can also carry your unsuspecting pooch out to deeper waters.

With a life jacket, they can keep their heads above water and potentially be saved from injury.

3. Doggie Life Jackets Keep Your Dog Warm

Life jackets are not only considered as “lifesavers,” but they also keep your dog warm. The Animal Planet states that a dog’s normal temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). If its body temperature drops down below 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 degrees Celsius), then hypothermia may develop.

4. A Bright Life Vest Will Get Your Pup Noticed Immediately

There’s a tendency to lose sight of your dog while swimming, especially when there are lots of people around. But with a dog life jacket, you can easily spot them. Most dog life vests come in bright colors, and there is a special reason for this—it makes it easier for you to locate them within a crowd.

5. They Make It Easier For You to Teach Your Dog to Swim

A life jacket allows dogs to easily build confidence while swimming. As such, it makes for a great accessory in teaching pups how to swim.

Dogs normally only use their front legs to swim. This causes them to get tired quickly. With this jacket in hand, swimming will be a lot easier and more enjoyable for them.

6. Life Jackets Provide Convenient Handles

Dog life jackets are made with top handles, so you can easily bring your dog to safety while in the water. If your dog accidentally slips out of a boat, you can just reach out and get a hold of the handle to lift them back up.

7. Most Importantly, They Offer You Peace of Mind

Accidents and emergencies could happen unexpectedly. Be that as it may, with a life jacket on hand, you’ll have peace of mind that your dog is always safe during your beach adventures.

A day out near water will surely be a fun and relaxing experience for the whole family, as well as your four-legged, loved one.

Dogs Can Naturally Swim Well: Fact or Fiction?

Labs training to be lifeguards

Yes, some dogs are born to swim. Breeds like the Labrador Retriever and the Portuguese Water Dog are the perfect furry companions for boating and swimming.

However, not all dogs are born natural swimmers. Unfortunately, some breeds even find it challenging to stay afloat. Greyhounds, for example, have low body fat that prevents them from being buoyant in water. Pugs and Bulldogs also have a hard time swimming, given their large chests and short limbs.

Likewise, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, and other small breeds get tired easily or do not have enough stamina for long swims. They may even end up consuming a lot of water while swimming, which can lead to dehydration and even drowning, so you should be very cautious with these breeds.

Even if certain breeds of dogs are skilled swimmers, they are still prone to fatigue and exhaustion. So, whether or not your dog is a natural-born swimmer, a dog life jacket is still recommended!

What to Look for in a Doggy Life Jacket

The market offers a wide selection of dog life jackets. To get the right one, there are some important factors to keep in mind:


One of the primary considerations when getting a life jacket for your pup is the size. The jacket must appropriately fit your dog in a way that they can still run, walk, jump, or do their usual activities while wearing it.

A big dog life jacket will make a small dog’s body shift in the vest. As a result, your dog may have difficulties while swimming. Worse, the vest may slip out of the dog’s body, which can lead to a dangerous situation.

At the same time, a life jacket that is too tight for your pup may restrict their movement or cause abrasions on their skin. It may even cause breathing difficulty.

To determine the ideal size, you should be able to squeeze in two fingers between the garment and your dog’s body. Use a tape measure before the purchase to get proper measurements. Then, check the measuring guidelines provided by the life jacket manufacturer.


The color and pattern of a life jacket serve an important role when it comes to keeping your dog safe. Specifically, bright colors help with visibility. So, in case your dog falls into deep waters while on a boating trip, you can easily spot and rescue them.

Top Handles

The handles should be well-secured and durable enough for you to safely lift your dog out of the water when the need arises.


This ring is where you attach the leash to the jacket. This is more convenient for you and your dog, as you don’t need to change to another type of dog garment.


This part securely locks into place and ensures that the jacket won’t detach from the dog.

Neck Float

This component provides more buoyancy and support to your dog’s head, keeping it above water.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that a dog life jacket is a necessary addition to your pup’s clothing set! Aside from keeping them away from possible accidents or emergencies in the water, these garments also prevent your pet from experiencing hypothermia. Regardless of your dog’s breed, size, and swimming ability, these jackets can help ensure safe and fun water adventures.

A dog’s behavior can sometimes be incomprehensible, which makes caring for them a bit challenging. If you’re having a hard time understanding the needs of your furry love, consult Train That Pooch for practical tips and advice. We have rich content and training guides that can help you navigate the challenges of being a dedicated fur parent! 

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