Dog Life Jackets

Selecting the appropriate life jacket for your dog may pose a challenge given the various types and designs available. Our knowledgeable team has dedicated time to investigate life jackets and preservers accessible in Australia, aiming to assist you in identifying the most suitable product for your canine companion. Evaluate our carefully curated list of life jackets below, or continue scrolling for an in-depth guide on selecting the optimal dog life jacket.

Amy Cheers

Written by

Amy Cheers
Dog Parent

Amy is no stranger to animals. Growing up in the rural Lake District England, she and her family were always rescuing and adopting animals whether it was nursing a hedgehog back to life, taking in a litter of kittens, or saving Shetland ponies, she has always had a love of animals. After finishing her studies and travelling for a couple of years, she found her base between Bali, Indonesia and Sydney, Australia, where her rescue stories continued. As a solo rescuer, (with over 70 dogs rescued and rehomed under her belt) she wanted to deep dive into animal behaviour techniques, nutrition and ways to give animals the best out of this life. She has four rescued dogs at home who just love getting pampered and being guinea pigs to try the latest chew, bandana, or dog food.

Updated January 17, 2024
Fact checked Fully qualified and expert nutritionists have reviewed and checked this content to ensure it is as accurate as possible at the time of writing. Read more about our editorial guidelines.

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Compare Dog Life Jackets

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    Dog Life Jackets Australia provides a top-tier swimming solution for dogs of all sizes, addressing challenges in swimming, aiding learning, and catering to aging pets. The Dog Life Jacket ensures a secure fit, enhancing safety with high visibility features, adjustable straps, and quick-release buckles.
    Australia Wide


    Utilizing cutting-edge manufacturing techniques and superior materials, EzyDog transforms canine product standards with the Doggy Floatation Device. The strategic placement of Ultra-Buoyancy Foam ensures your dog maintains a natural swimming position, offering unrestricted movement for effortless fastening and removal.
    Australia Wide


    Salty Dog's life jacket boasts a streamlined, ergonomic design ensuring a natural swimming position with strategically placed foam panels. Enhanced buoyancy is achieved through even flotation distribution, extending foam under the dog's chest.
    Australia Wide


    Surf Dog Australia's Life Jacket showcases an exclusive design, fully enclosing jackets for dogs and cats. Crafted with expertise from whitewater gear, it prioritizes an ergonomic fit, balanced buoyancy, and a secure lifting harness over unnecessary embellishments.
    Australia Wide



What Is a Dog Life Jacket?

A dog life jacket is a buoyant device designed to help dogs swim through aiding floatation when in water. It typically features flotation panels to keep the dog afloat and a secure fastening system. The jacket promotes buoyancy by distributing the dog’s weight, helping to prevent fatigue and potential drowning. 

They are also used to aid dogs when joining their humans on thrilling water sport activities like surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing trips to name a few, to guarantee that if an accident should occur your canine friend will be safe. 

Additionally, the bright colours and reflective strips enhance visibility, making it easier to locate and rescue the dog. The design ensures that the dog maintains a natural swimming position, offering both peace of mind for owners and increased safety for canine companions during water activities.


When Should I Get My Dog a Life Jacket?


There are many reasons why purchasing a dog life jacket should be considered, we’ve listed some of the main types below but you should also consider purchasing one if you have a pool, live near water or simply have a dog that loves to swim.

Boating and Water Activities: If you take your dog on boats, kayaks, surfing or on paddleboards, a dog floatation vest could be a crucial aid to ensure their safety, especially in case of accidental falls or if they tire easily.

Swimming in Open Water: For dogs that enjoy swimming in lakes, rivers, or the ocean, a life jacket is beneficial, particularly if they encounter strong currents, waves, or long distances.

Inexperienced Swimmers: Puppies, elderly dogs, or breeds not naturally inclined to swimming may struggle in the water. A life jacket provides extra support and buoyancy for dogs that are still learning to swim or have physical limitations.

Emergency Situations: During unexpected emergencies or natural disasters where evacuation involves water, a dog life jacket ensures your pet’s safety, making them more visible and buoyant in challenging conditions.

Types of Dog Life Jackets

Dog Life Jacket

Dog life jackets typically feature adjustable straps for a secure fit that go all around your dog and secure them for their water activities. Characteristics include buoyant material to keep the dog afloat, a handle for easy lifting, reflective elements for visibility, and various sizes to accommodate different breeds. These jackets promote water safety during activities such as boating, swimming, or water sports, providing support and preventing exhaustion or drowning.


Dog Swim Vest

A dog swim vest is a buoyancy aid focused on assisting dogs during swimming activities rather than restricting them. A dog swim vest usually features a lightweight design with less bulk than a full life jacket, allowing for greater freedom of movement. Characteristics include buoyant padding to support the dog in the water, secure fastenings, and often a vibrant colour for visibility. Swim vests are suitable for dogs learning to swim or engaging in low-impact water play. They prioritise comfort and ease of movement, making them ideal for introducing dogs to water activities or providing added support during leisurely swims.


How to Measure Your Dog for a Life Jacket

To ensure that the life jacket fits your dog perfectly, it’s essential to take accurate measurements. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to measure your dog for a life jacket:

  1. Weight: Begin by measuring your dog’s weight, as life jackets are often categorised by weight ranges. You can use a home scale or take your dog to the vet for a precise weight measurement.
  2. Length: Measure your dog’s length from the base of the neck (where the collar would sit) to the base of the tail. This measurement helps determine the required length of the life jacket to cover your dog’s torso.
  3. Girth (Chest): Measure the circumference around the largest part of your dog’s chest, usually right behind the front legs. Ensure the tape is snug but not tight, as this measurement is crucial for a secure fit around your dog’s body.
  4. Neck: Measure around the thickest part of your dog’s neck, where the collar typically sits. This measurement ensures that the life jacket won’t choke your dog or slip over their head.
  5. Width: For breeds with broad chests, measure the width across your dog’s chest from one shoulder to the other, across the breastbone.

Here’s how to accurately take these measurements:

  • Utilise a soft measuring tape. If unavailable, use a string or rope, mark it, and then measure it against a ruler.
  • Ensure your dog is standing in a natural position, as measurements taken while sitting or lying down may not be accurate.
  • Avoid pulling the measuring tape too tight; it should be snug, but you should still be able to slip two fingers underneath.

Keep in mind that each life jacket manufacturer may have slightly different sizing, so always refer to their specific sizing chart. If your dog’s measurements fall between two sizes, it’s generally advisable to size up for safety and comfort.

After selecting a life jacket, test its fit by adjusting the straps and lifting your dog slightly off the ground using the jacket’s handle. The jacket should stay in place and not twist or slide to one side.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dog Life Jacket

When choosing the right option for you, consider the following factors:

Buoyancy and Floatation

Verify that the dog life jacket offers ample buoyancy to keep your canine afloat. Seek jackets with strategically positioned flotation panels that uphold the dog’s inherent swimming posture while evenly distributing their weight.

Fit and Adjustability

Choose a life jacket that fits your dog snugly but allows for comfortable movement. Look for adjustable straps around the neck and belly to ensure a secure fit. A well-fitted jacket prevents chafing and ensures that the jacket stays in place during water activities.

Visibility and Design

Choose a dog life jacket in vibrant colours featuring reflective strips. Enhanced visibility is essential, particularly in open water or low-light situations. The design should incorporate reflective elements to facilitate easy spotting of your dog from a distance.

Durable and Quick-Drying Materials

Select a dog life jacket made from durable, water-resistant materials that can withstand regular use. Quick-drying fabrics are also essential to prevent discomfort for your dog and to maintain the jacket’s integrity over time. Additionally, consider features such as sturdy handles for easy retrieval and a D-ring for leash attachment.

Pros and Cons of Dog Life Jackets


Pros of Dog Life Jackets

Cons of Dog Life Jackets

Are Dogs Required to Wear Life Jackets on Boats in Australia?


While Australian maritime regulations do not explicitly address dogs, there is a widely acknowledged expectation that dogs should be treated with the same consideration as human passengers and crew in terms of adhering to safety guidelines. As a rule, if a person is required to wear a life jacket, the same requirement applies to their canine companions.

It’s important to note that each state and territory in Australia has distinct requirements concerning life jackets and safety equipment. Therefore, it is advisable to consult the official website of your local authority for specific guidelines:

Before embarking on any water journey, it is recommended to check the weather forecast both before and during the trip. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology provides updates, including advice for various marine and water-related activities. This ensures that you are well-informed about the weather conditions, aware of potential risks, and equipped with the necessary tools to plan your activities in advance.

Dog Life Jacket FAQs

A properly fitting dog swim vest should snugly wrap around the dog’s body without restricting movement. It should cover the dog’s entire torso, with secure and adjustable straps. The jacket should not be too tight, allowing for comfortable breathing and movement. Testing buoyancy in a controlled environment ensures it provides sufficient support in the water. Check for snugness regularly, especially as dogs may change in size over time.

When properly fitted, they assist in keeping the dog afloat, preventing exhaustion or drowning. The buoyant material in the jacket ensures that even non-swimmers or those fatigued can stay on the water’s surface. However, the effectiveness depends on correct sizing, proper usage, and regular maintenance. It’s crucial to choose a high-quality jacket, ensure a secure fit, and monitor the dog while in water to maximise the safety benefits of the life jacket.

Dogs should wear life jackets when engaged in water activities, especially in open bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, or oceans. This is crucial for dogs that are not strong swimmers, elderly dogs, or those with physical limitations. Life jackets are also recommended during boating or water sports adventures to provide an extra layer of safety in case of accidents.

Yes, dogs can swim with a life jacket. In fact, life jackets are designed to enhance a dog’s swimming ability by providing buoyancy and support. The jacket allows dogs to stay afloat comfortably, making swimming more enjoyable and safer, especially for those who may not be strong swimmers.