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The Importance of Life Jackets for Dogs: Keeping Your Pup Safe in the Water

Dog wearing a life jacket

Written by The Halo Team

June 26, 2023

Outdoor adventures are much more fun if your furry best friend tags along. Many pups will eagerly join their owners during swimming, surfing, or sailing excursions. However, playing with your pup in the water can be dangerous if it doesn’t have a life jacket. A dog life jacket keeps your dog from drowning and makes it stand out, an invaluable characteristic when water and weather conditions can swiftly become life-threatening.

Let’s look closer at the benefits of a life jacket for dogs and how you can use it to make swimming and other water sports safer and more fun for your pup.

Why Dogs Need Life Jackets

Many believe dogs are natural swimmers, so getting a dog life jacket may seem unnecessary. However, as with a human life jacket, a dog life jacket is crucial for keeping your pup safe in the water. Dogs should have life jackets, regardless of age, size, or swimming capabilities.

If your pup can’t swim, its initial experience with water will determine its willingness to keep learning. If it floats after jumping off a dog or boat ramp into the pool, it’ll understand that it’s safe in the water and have the confidence to follow instructions during swimming lessons.

Life jackets nurture the adventurous spirits of dogs with physical limitations. Some pups have disproportionate bodies, making it difficult to stay afloat in water. Others are enthusiastic swimmers that get tired easily, while old or sickly dogs may not be able to swim as much as they’d like. The flotation support offered by life jackets helps dogs keep their balance in the water and allows them to rest without risking drowning.
A dog life jacket is a water safety device that boosts swimming techniques by keeping a dog’s head above water and straightening its back even in turbulent waters.
Jackets also reduce your dog’s weight, making it use less energy and experience less muscle strain while swimming.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Life Jacket for Your Dog

Keep these considerations in mind when shopping for a dog life jacket.


A life jacket should be optimized for your dog’s water safety. Choose life jackets with a grab handle you can use to support your pup as it swims. Some of the best dog life jackets feature two handles you can easily grab to retrieve your dog from the water. Dog life jackets that use a D-ring as a leash attachment keep dogs from wandering off or jumping overboard when kayaking or boating with dogs.


The best dog life jacket forms a secure fit around the back, chest and abdomen without restricting the dog’s neck, shoulders or hind region. Compare your dog’s measurements against the manufacturer’s size chart before purchasing. Choosing a life jacket with adjustable straps allows you to resize the belly buckles and chest straps for a snug but comfortable fit.

Flotation Support

Most dog life jackets are designed for outdoor use, so they feature thick foam panels around the chest and back area to keep your pup afloat in water prone to powerful waves and tides.

Some jackets have extra padding around the neck region to help your dog’s neck float if it gets tired or has weak muscles due to age or sickness.

Flotation Support

A brightly colored life jacket with reflective strips is easy to spot in the natural blues, greens and grays of a lake or sea, making it easy to see and retrieve your pup if it gets lost in the water.

How to Introduce Your Dog to Wearing a Life Jacket

Most dogs don’t enjoy wearing things, so your pup may not eagerly wear a life jacket at first. However, tactfully introducing the life jacket can slowly get your pup excited to wear it, especially once it starts associating it with outdoor water fun.
Starting with a dog life vest such as the EzyDog Life Vest can help your pup get used to wearing something around its chest and back while swimming. A doggie life vest is lighter than a life jacket and improves dog safety in pools and shallow ponds.
When your pup is ready to graduate to a life jacket:

  • Take it to a safe spot on the beach and play a game of fetch with its favorite waterproof toy until it relaxes.
  • Distract your pup with the toy, allowing it to chew on it as you put the life jacket on it. Adjust the straps to ensure your dog can move and breathe easily while wearing it.
  • Initiate another game of fetch and slowly move it toward the water by throwing the toy into the shallow end of the lake or sea.
  • Increase the throwing distance until your pup swims a few feet into the water to retrieve the toy.

Both small and large dogs may find it difficult to maintain their balance in water while wearing a life jacket. If this happens, stand over your dog and steady it by the grab handle until it learns to float and move independently.

Remember to give your pup snacks and many pats to relax and motivate it as it embarks on this new adventure.

Dog wearing a life jacket

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe Around Water

Knowing how to swim and wearing a life jacket isn’t enough to keep your dog safe in the water. These tips will ensure your pup enjoys many years of water fun:

Obedience Training

This teaches your dog the importance of obeying commands promptly. A properly trained pup will listen when you tell it what to do, where to go, and when to stop playing in the water. The gentle prompts issued by the Halo Collar reinforce verbal commands and keep your pup within a safe area of the water.

Monitor Your Dog

Your dog may be so happy outdoors that it ignores signs of exhaustion or pain. Keep an eye on your pup and take it out of the water every few minutes to rest and rehydrate. Give it snacks to soak up any water it drank while swimming and reenergize it for the next dip.

Stay Vigilant

Take the lead when swimming with your pup to ensure it doesn’t go too far out into the water, get trapped under rocks, or become entangled in underwater vegetation. Ensure you can see your dog while surfing, and attach a leash to its life jacket when sailing so the excitement of the sport doesn’t make it jump overboard.

The Halo Collar can boost your safety efforts by providing prompts that keep your pup within a safe radius. Its GPS capabilities also allow you to find your pup easily if it wanders out of eyesight.

Key Takeaways

Good dog owners don’t let their pups near water without a life jacket. Dog life jackets help pups swim better, safer, and longer. A jacket can be the difference between spending endless days swimming, kayaking, or surfing and cutting your trip short because your dog is tired, injured, or lost.

Pairing your dog’s life jacket with a GPS fence offers twofold protection as it enjoys wet outdoor fun. And when it comes to choosing the right collar, look no further than the Halo Collar. Halo Collar is not just an electronic GPS dog collar; it has undergone rigorous testing, including submersion, swim testing, and salt water testing. With an IP67 water rating, the Halo Collar is water-resistant and can be safely submerged in water up to 3 feet (0.9 meters) deep. That means that at the surface where your dog will be swimming, it will be totally water-resistant!

The Halo Collar is suitable for both big dogs and smaller dogs (over 20 lbs), providing peace of mind during water adventures. Don’t wait any longer—get your pup the Halo Collar today and embark on endless water adventures together, knowing that your furry friend is protected both in and out of the water.

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