Skip to Content

Does Your Dog Need a Life Jacket?

Share with fellow dog lovers!


Swimming seems as easy and natural to a dog as, well, dog paddling, right?

Wrong. Not all dogs can swim and, of those who can, not all are good swimmers. And even good swimmers can find themselves in situations that challenge their swimming abilities.

Which Dogs Have a Tough Time Swimming?

  • Dogs with large heads, such as bulldogs, have a difficult time swimming because so much of their body weight is in their head and neck.
  • Similarly, dogs with very short legs, such as basset hounds, sometimes have a tough time paddling.
  • Dogs with very dense coats, like Chow Chows, can also become weighed down in the water, quickly tiring them.

Keeping Your Dog Safe with a Life Jacket

For many dogs, the answer is a dog life jacket. Just like one of our life jackets, a canine life jacket serves to keep your dog’s head out of the water, keeping him safe while he’s swimming, while you’re boating, or while you’re out on a dock enjoying some summer fun.

What Should I Look for in a Dog Life Jacket?

In purchasing a life jacket for your dog, look for:

  • a pull handle on the top of the life jacket. You’ll need this to help a dog back in a boat or up on a bank if he’s jumped in a river.
  • a front float assist. This section of the life jacket across your dog’s chest keeps his head up above water.
  • reflective strips or piping.
  • adjustable girth.

Summer is coming — let’s keep our dogs safe while still having fun in the water!

Paris Permenter
Latest posts by Paris Permenter (see all)
This post originally appeared on and is the sole property of